How BYU Pathway-Worldwide Is Creating Online Programs to Support a Changing Demographic of Students: Interview with President Clark Gilbert

Welcome to Higher Ed Transformation for the Campus of Tomorrow, an EdTech Times podcast series where we talk to higher ed leaders and strategists about the need for innovation, and the best strategies for building an institution for tomorrow.

Over the past decade or so, many higher ed institutions have invested heavily in online education, in an effort to both increase enrollment and create a sustainable model for the future.

One of the many organizations trying to increase access to education online is BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

Yet according to Clark Gilbert, President of BYU-Pathway, online programs are more than just a tool to reach a larger number of students. They’re a tool to reinvent higher education as we know it.

President Gilbert believes that in order for online education to be successful, it needs to be crafted specifically around that medium.

According to Gilbert, “We should be asking ‘What can we do with online learning that you can’t do in a traditional classroom?’ And that’s where we’ll start to see the real outcomes.”

Gilbert says that with the increased accessibility of online education, universities must adapt to meet the needs of a different demographic of students than traditionally found on campus.

“If you make online learning available, you’re going to reach a larger audience. You’re going to reach an audience that traditionally didn’t come to residential campuses — which means you’re also going to expand the risk profile of that audience.”

Many students previously considered “non-traditional” — returning students, working parents, or full-time workers — might not have the tools or support to succeed in a “traditional” college environment.

While some schools might see this as a challenge, BYU Pathway was specifically created for these students.

“We designed BYU-Pathway from the ground up, for the student who wasn’t going to college, or wasn’t completing college,” says Gilbert.

To reach this demographic, BYU-Pathway created a program to help boost confidence and build employability skills from the very start, so that students are more likely to get jobs and stay on track.

To find out what BYU-Pathway is doing to create a sustainable online education model for a changing demographic of students, we had EdTech Times CEO Hester Tinti-Kane speak to BYU-Pathway President Clark Gilbert.

Listen in to the full interview to learn more about the organization’s vision for the future of online education.


This episode is brought to you by Huron.

Huron is a global professional services firm with an extensive history in higher education. For nearly two decades, Huron has provided consulting services for over 500 educational institutions, including all 100 of the top research universities in the United States.

You can learn more about what Huron does by visiting

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Higher Ed Transformation for the Campus of Tomorrow

Hannah Nyren

Hannah Nyren

Hannah Nyren is the General Manager of EdTech Times. A Texan by birth but a Bostonian at heart, Hannah is an educational writer, AmeriCorps alum, and one-time StartupWeekend EDU (SWEDU) winning team member. She started her career at a Pearson-incubated edtech startup, but has since covered travel, food & culture, and even stonemasonry in addition to education.