2002 Task Force on Two-Year Education in Montana

 

 

      Based on a request from the Montana Board of Regents, I am inviting a group of individuals to assist the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education in evaluating the effectiveness of current two-year programs, institutions and delivery mechanisms in Montana.   This group will be designated the 2002 Task Force on Two-Year Education in Montana, and I would like to invite you to participate as a Task Force member. 

 

      The 2002 Task Force on Two-Year Education in Montana will assess the effectiveness of two-year programs, institutions and delivery mechanisms and make recommendations for their improvement.  For the purpose of your work, we are interested in associate degree and certificate programs leading to academic credentials—both terminal and transferas well as continuing education and training programs that may or may not lead to CEU’s or other formal recognition. Specifically, the Task Force should explore and report on the following:

 

·         Generally and by institution, what are the campuses doing well in delivery of two-year education and related training to their regions or the state?

→   Can the Task Force is urged to identify and capture a compendium of “best practices” now in place in Montana, practices and programs that should be  shared?

→   Can the Task Force identify other, out-of-state sources of information that  might be helpful to Montana institutions in this connection?

 

·         Generally and by institution, what might the campuses do better in delivering two-year education and related training to their regions or the state?

→   To what extent are the campuses using nationally recognized standards and recommendations, such as the American Council on Education’s guides recommendations to award academic credit for prior training, whether industrial or military?

→   What other services or tools should the campuses consider to round out their education and training services at the two-year level?

 

·         Generally, what gaps exist in providing two-year education and related training services from post-secondary institutions to local or state clients? And in which localities?

→   How can institutions/providers keep abreast of emerging needs?

→   How can institutions/providers coordinate responses to avoid duplicated wasted efforts and to share resources and expertise?

 

·         Generally, by institution and by locale, what improvements are needed in the delivery of two-year education and related training?

 

·         How do post-secondary institutions now interface and/or coordinate with other providers of workforce training in Montana?            And with what consequences?

→   Who are the other significant providers of workforce training at this level?

→   Is additional coordination desirable and how might it be effected?  With what consequences?

 

·         How might post-secondary institutions develop closer and more effective strengthen and extend relationships with employers (business, industry, education, government) in planning to meet their employees’ educational and training needs? 

→   Are there common skills needs among large numbers or particular sectors of employers?  Specify.

→   Is there sufficient similarity of education and training needs in given regions or communities to suggest that use/integration of “cluster strategies” would  be beneficial in two-year  education? Specify to the extent possible.

 

·         How might post-secondary institutions strengthen and extend relationships with K-12 in planning to meet occupational, academic, and community development needs?

 

      To facilitate your work, staff in the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education have begun to collect data from all institutions with two-year and/or certificate programs.  One of the first assignments of the Task Force will be to consider what additional studies or data will be needed for your work.  This information is already being compiled:

 

·         Associate degrees and certificates awarded in Montana by institution.

·         Associate degrees and certificates awarded in Montana by fields of study.

·         External Advisory Committees for Associate and Certificate programs by field and institution, including designation of members by industry/agency type/name.

·         Lists of General and Customized Training Programs offered in calendar years 2000 and 2001 with trainer, schedule, duration, number of participants and client.

·         Current linkages/partnerships between 2-Year/Certificate programs and External Businesses, Industry or Agencies by name and types of cooperation that occur.

·         Inventory of professional renewal courses (both credit and non-credit) offered by campus.

·         Current linkages/partnerships between K-12 technical/occupational programs and 2-year programs by name and types of cooperation that occur.

·         Current linkages/partnerships between 2-year technical/occupational programs and 4-year programs by name and types of cooperation that occur.

 

      While it must be granted that the delivery of two-year education and workforce training could be improved with increased funding, I do not want this activity to turn into the development of a budget request or other “silver bullets” to address the issues under consideration.  It is my hope that the group will focus on our successes in delivering these programs to Montanans; the potential for improvement in the delivery of these programs; and the identification of best practices, exemplary programs, resources and expertise that can be shared to realize this potential our ability to determine what are the needs in our communities for these programs, and what is necessary to improve the delivery of these programs.  In other words, how can we build on our successes to improve our performance throughout the State in meeting the needs of our citizens?

 

      _______________, title___________, has agreed to chair the Task Force and will call the first meeting. Dr. Joyce Scott will serve as Liaison to the Task Force from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.  I would hope to begin receiving recommendations from the Task Force in time to allow me to carry some recommendations to the Board of Regents at the meeting on November 21, 2002.

 

      I thank you for your willingness to serve on this important Task Force and look forward to working with you.  Should you have any questions, please contact me at 444-0310.

 

Membership:

1          Dept. of Commerce

1          Dept. of Labor and Industry

1          Office of Public Instruction

1          Dept. of Public Health and Human Services

1          Office of Economic Development

2          Stand-alone Colleges of Technology

1          Affiliated College of Technology

1          Tribal College

2          Community College

1          Four-year campus with two-year mission

1          Workforce Development

1          President

1          Chancellor

2          Business/Industry (1 large, 1 small or 1 rural, 1 suburban or mix of two)

1          OCHE

17 Total