ITEM 118-2003-0103 attachment                                                         January 16-17, 2003


A Proposal to Terminate the Participation of

Montana State University in the

Collaborative M.P.A. Program in Helena

 

January 2003

 

 

Submitted to

Board of Regents of Montana University System

by the

Political Science Department

Montana State University-Bozeman

 

Proposal

 

The Department of Political Science proposes ending its participation in the Collaborative Public Administration Program which has been offering courses in the Helena area since 1976 as a joint program between the University of Montana and Montana State University.  The degree offered is a Master=s of Public Administration.

 

Both the University of Montana and Montana State University will continue to offer the Master=s in Public Administration (M.P.A.) degree through their respective institutions, and the degree will continue to be available to students in Helena through the University of Montana=s on-line program.

 

Justification for the Change

 

We propose this change for several reasons.  First, the number of students in Helena enrolled to complete this degree through Montana State University-Bozeman has been in decline for some time.  At the same time, the costs of delivering courses in Helena has increased. We now need to arrange for facilities in which to offer courses, and, for example, Carroll College charges $975 per semester for room rental.

 

Second, the University of Montana has developed or is developing the ability to offer the full range of courses required by their institution for an M.P.A. degree by way of on-line distance learning.  Students in Helena will be able to continue working toward the completion of that degree through the on-line program. 

 

Finally, the Political Science Department of Montana State University would like to reassign the faculty currently involved in the Helena program to teach courses in a new collaborative program proposed jointly by the Billings and Bozeman campuses of MSU.  This proposed program would be housed on the Billings campus.  Our involvement in the MSU-Bozeman/Billings program would not be possible without hiring additional faculty if we were not able to reallocate the faculty currently teaching in Helena.

 

Impact on Students and Resource Allocation

 

As noted above, an M.P.A. degree will continue to be available through the University of Montana to those who desire the degree but are place-bound in Helena.   I have discussed the proposal to end our participation in the Helena program with University of Montana Political Science Department Chair Jon Tompkins who, in turn, has discussed this change with his faculty,  We are in agreement that this will not adversely affect the remaining students in Helena. 

 

As of Spring 2003 there are two students enrolled specifically in the M.P.A. though Montana State University.  All other Helena students are enrolled in the University of Montana program.  Both of the students currently enrolled through MSU are in an early stage of the program and are taking courses on a part-time basis.  These students as well as other future students can work toward the completion of the degree through the on-line program offered by the University of Montana. 

 

The joint program in Billings is expected to attract somewhere in the range of 25-30 students.  Overall, we believe this is a better use of our faculty resources and will extend the availability of Montana University System services to a broader constituency.

 

The resources that have been engaged in the Helena program are three faculty who each teach one course off-campus every third semester, and the corresponding administrative support provided by our office administrator.  Since the faculty will be teaching the same number of courses in Billings as they did in Helena, the change represents a reallocation of both faculty and administrative resources with no net change in the allocation of personnel resources.  Additionally, Montana State University-Billings will provide facilities for the classes.

 

This change B the reallocation of faculty from Helena to Billings B  in combination with the proposed on-line program offered by the University of Montana will produce a greater variety of options to a broader constituency overall, which we believe will be beneficial to students.