The President's Update 01/14/11

Uploaded by UniversityOfMontana on 14.01.2011

Good afternoon and welcome to this week’s update.
I hope that each of you had a restful holiday and were able to spend time with friends and family.
Last week the Legislature began its work, and we had the opportunity,
as a group of leaders from higher education, to speak to a group of legislators.
The leadership decided to focus on education for new legislators,
and one of the topics of primary interest was education itself,
K-12 and higher education.
We were joined last week by Commissioner Stearns
and President Cruzado from Montana State University,
myself, Tyler Wines from University of Montana Western,
and Jane Karas, the president of Flathead Valley Community College,
in a discussion before the legislators.
My comments focused on our strategic investments in two principle areas.
The first of those is how we increase the number of students who benefit from a college education.
I talked about our investments in student success
that is trying to increase our retention rates and our graduation rates.
I talked about the investments we have made recently in online learning,
bringing educational opportunities to people around the state and beyond,
we spoke briefly about the Bitterroot college program
as a method for bringing educational opportunities to folks
in the Bitterroot Valley.
The other area that I focused on was the topic of collaboration,
and I tried to use a few examples.
One of those examples was The University of Montana affiliation purchasing
a learning management system together,
saving money for all of us,
allowing us to do faculty development in a joint manner,
and allowing our students to have 24/7 access to the learning management system.
Another example of collaboration was a very exciting development that happened just in this last week.
One of our investigators at the Flathead Lake Biological Station,
Bonnie Ellis, had a paper, a major paper,
published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
a very prestigious publication.
It was a very collaborative effort that she was involved in,
in discussing and describing the ecology of Flathead Lake.
At this time I’d like to introduce to you Bill Johnston.
Bill is the director of our alumni office here at The University of Montana,
he also serves as our lobbiest in Helena during the legislative session.
I’m going to ask Bill to just talk to you briefly about
what is going on in the Legislature. Bill.
[Bill] Well, this summer the interim finance committee indicated to the education,
the higher education, that they were gonna start base budget minus five percent,
adjust the base budget minus five percent.
And today, that’s what the joint subcommittees were doing in Helena.
It was known to us that was gonna happen,
as one senator described it,
“It’s the point to start from,” and that’s what we’re doing
and we’ll now visit with the legislators individually
and in committees to explain to them the return on investment,
and why they should invest in higher ed.
[Royce] Thanks very much, Bill.
So it’s very early in the whole process and we’ll do our best to keep you updated
as the semester unfolds
Thank you, have a good weekend.
[Bill] Thank you.