January 15-16, 2004


ITEM 122-2013-R0104                Authorization to Offer a MS/PhD in Neuroscience in Collaboration with the University of Montana; Montana State University-Bozeman


THAT:                                       The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Bozeman to establish an MS/PhD in Neuroscience


EXPLANATION:                        This program will be a collaborative graduate program between the Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Montana State University - Bozeman and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at The University of Montana.  Neuroscience encompasses a wide variety of scientific disciplines concerned with all aspects of the structure and function of the nervous system both in the normal state and during disease and/or injury.  This new graduate program is a natural result of the rapid growth in neuroscience that has occurred simultaneously on both campuses.  At MSU, the recently created Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience (CBN) now includes 14 faculty members.  At the University of Montana, the newly established COBRE Center in Structural and Functional Neuroscience (CSFN) has helped to bring 8new neuroscientists to the UM campus (for a total of 18 neuroscience faculty). Establishment of a collaborative Neuroscience graduate program between MSU and UM will enable the two campuses to use their resources in synergy, creating a nationally competitive graduate program in neuroscience at minimal cost.  The objectives of the new program are: (1) to attract the best possible graduate students in neuroscience to Montana; (2) to provide comprehensive multidisciplinary training and research opportunities to the students enrolled in the program; (3) to enrich undergraduate education in CBN by providing well trained and highly motivated graduate teaching assistants; (4) to provide highly trained and versatile scientists to meet the needs of the growing biotechnology sector in Montana; and (5) to gain national recognition for the Montana University System through the future accomplishments of our graduates in the field of neuroscience.


The new program is highly innovative in that it will utilize the Access Grid Node (AGN) to teach shared classes.  The AGN is an internet-based video conferencing technology that will allow selected classes to be held simultaneously on both the MSU and UM campuses.  CBN faculty and staff have been instrumental in establishing AGN technology at MSU.  The University of Montana also has a AGN classroom.  This technology will allow faculty and students at both Universities to simultaneously participate in lectures and seminars, in essence creating a single classroom between the two sites.  The advantage for students is that all 32 neuroscience faculty at MSU and UM will have the opportunity to participate in providing graduate education to the students.  The proposed starting date is Fall 2004.