MONTANA UNIVERSITY SYSTEM

SEMI-ANNUAL CAMPUS DIVERSITY REPORT

The University of Montana-Missoula

January 2001

 

I.          Executive Summary

 

The University of Montana-Missoula continues to make steady, and in some cases significant, strides toward diversity action goals set forth by the Board of Regents. 

 

Enrollment Management:  Serious efforts to recruit minority students at undergraduate and graduate levels have resulted in a 20% increase in Native American enrollment.  These programs include a dedicated Graduate School support person, a distance learning Teacher Education Program on the Blackfeet Reservation, and outreach to and involvement of all minorities in the State as early as junior high school.

 

Completions: Services dedicated to minority students ensure a supportive academic environment.  Since 1998, the University has granted ten Master’s Degrees to Native American students.  In addition, in the 1999-2000 Academic Year, UM-M’s freshman to sophomore retention rates increased slightly from the previous academic year.  American Indian students have a retention rate of 50.9%, while six-year graduation rates for American Indian students increased significantly, from 19.4% to 29.6%.

 

Funding:  Given the constrained funding levels across the University during the last few years, the University has used available institutional dollars, as well as private and discretionary funds, for the recruitment, retention, and graduation of American Indian students and other minorities.  Since 1991-1992, the number of students receiving Native American Fee waivers has increased 47%.  In the last five years, scholarship opportunities and funding has increased 91% for minority undergraduate students and 105% more Native American graduate students received 194% more scholarship funding.

 

Faculty/Staff:  The University makes great efforts to recruit employees identified as racial minorities.  During Fall Semester 2000, UM-M selected 45 faculty members in national searches:  Tenure-track faculty make up 32% of those appointed, including 14 females (44%) and 7 minorities (22%), two of whom are Native Americans (6.25%).  Two minority faculty members received appointment as Chairs, including one Native American female.  Female faculty members comprise 39% of the faculty and racial minorities account for six percent.  The minority application rate for classified staff positions weighed in at 4.5%, indicating that UM-M’s hiring rate for this group ranked higher than the actual application rate.  The contract professional group ranks fully utilized in female and racial minority representation.

 

Coursework and Programs:  A myriad of initiatives at UM-M at the undergraduate and graduate levels encourage and enhance multicultural awareness and understanding across the campus.  Required non-Western general education courses and programs of multicultural awareness in the curricula abound, including those specifically geared for Native American students. 

 

Future Directions:  Seven concrete goals set forth by the President direct the University’s activities toward increasing campus diversity.  To achieve the objectives requires participation of the entire campus community working collaboratively.  Committees currently in place oversee and implement these specific goals.

 

II.                  Statement of Objective

 

The University of Montana-Missoula strives to implement the Board of Regents Minority Achievement Policy of 1990, and adheres to the Board of Regents-approved Campus Action Plan of 1991.   

 

Since the adoption of and in accordance with the 1991 Plan, the University has submitted several subsequent reports, including a Diversity Advisory Plan, to the Regents.  Responsibility for monitoring implementation of the Diversity Action Plan on the Missoula campus rests with the Diversity Advisory Council, appointed by the President.  The Council consists of administrators, faculty, staff, and students. Annually, the Council solicits information from the ca//mpus and prepares a report for presentation to the campus community and the Regents.  This exercise recognizes publicly the seriousness the University attaches to multi-cultural diversity efforts and participation and achievement of minorities throughout the University community.  The annual reports reveal that, despite funding constraints and reporting limitations, the University continues to make progress in implementing the Diversity Action Plan and reaping the benefits of diversity on campus.  In addition, the annual reports reveal a persistent effort to develop a workable reporting process that will keep attention focused on the substantive goals and objectives. 

 

It remains clear that while seeking to implement the Campus Action Plan, the University encounters challenges in achieving every goal and objective.  Nonetheless, the campus community adheres to the three major goals of the Regents’ Minority Achievement Policy of 1991.  The University of Montana-Missoula campus strives to enroll and graduate minority students, especially Native Americans; seeks to identify, attract, and employ qualified minority applicants for employment; and introduces, whenever possible, multiculturalism into the curriculum.  By adherence to these guidelines, the University has accomplished much and will continue to make strides in this direction.

 

III.        Campus Report

 

A.         ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT

 

The University of Montana-Missoula has undertaken efforts to recruit Native American students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, with the following results:

 

Graduate.  Institutional research data show a steady increase in Native American enrollment.  Between 1996 and 1999, the overall enrollment of Native American students increased from 320 to 384 (a 20% increase).  In terms of the Policy goal of minority representation in the University proportional to minority representation in the State, Native Americans made up 2.69% of the total enrollment at The University of Montana-Missoula in 1996.  They comprise 3.03% of the student population in fall 2000, despite the fact that total enrollment of the University increased by 4.43% over this period.

 

A Graduate School staff person oversees diversity activities, including diversity training, financial aid advising, Indian student mentoring, and administering the Native American Graduate Student Association.  Finally, this position provides follow-up to students participating in programs to encourage minority student enrollment in graduate studies (AIBL-School of Business Administration; BRIDGES-Experiences in Science; INPSYCH-Training in Psychology; McNair Scholars; Project 1000; WEB-training in Environmental Biology; and AISES-Undergraduate Science majors).  In 1998, the Graduate School established a distance-learning Teacher Education program on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana.

 

Undergraduate.  Admissions and New Student Services recognizes that successful enrollment of American Indians and other minorities must begin with activities and attention directed to students as early as junior high school.  To that end, during 1999-2000, the University hosted 720 prospective students from Talent Search, Upward Bound, and GEAR-UP programs for full-day visits to campus.  The University invites minority students and their parents to UM Days.  Admissions and New Student Services representatives visit all Montana Tribal Colleges and high schools.  A team of representatives from Admissions and New Student Services, Financial Aid, University College, and currently enrolled students visit Browning High School and Blackfeet Community College each year.   Within the Office of Admissions and New Student Services, a .5 FTE staff member provides outreach to minority students.  The full Office staff assists in all recruitment activities.  Minorities make up two of the three recruiters.

 

In addition, several undergraduate academic programs actively recruit Native American students, including the Health Career Opportunity Programs in Psychology, Pharmacy, and Physical Therapy and BRIDGES for the baccalaureate program in the sciences.

 

B.         COMPLETIONS

 

Successful retention and graduation of minority students requires a supportive and comfortable academic environment and accessible support services.  The Dean of Students developed a cultural diversity web site that provides access and links to areas of study, admissions and special programs, awards, employment and equal opportunity, committees and organizations, and international groups.  ASUM and UM-M recognize and support 27 minority student organizations, including six for Native American students.

 

The University Center’s Multicultural Alliance focuses on building alliances between cultural and ethnic groups on campus through workshops, lectures, and the promotion of multicultural issues and events.  Hundreds of staff and students have participated in prejudice reduction workshops, and many have become certified trainers who present workshops on campus and in the Missoula community.

 

Residence Life staff training includes presentations from Native American Studies and other offices knowledgeable of minority issues.  Career Services provides orientations and workshops for minority student groups and organizations.

 

Two highly visible academic programs serve Native American students and provide assistance and support towards degree completion.  The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) provides myriad services, including study skills, academic advising, career information, financial aid troubleshooting, tutoring, and Native American peer mentoring.  The Health Careers Opportunity Program provides academic, financial, summer residencies, and social support for Native American students seeking careers in Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, and Psychology. 

 

The University College/Office of Academic Advising works closely with EOP to advise and provide support for Native American and minority students.  University College employs a full-time multicultural/minority student counselor.

 

Graduate.  In 1998, American Indian students received four Master’s of Arts and one Master’s of Public Administration degrees, while in 1999, American Indians received two Master’s of Business Administration and three Master’s of Arts degrees.

           

Undergraduate.  Completion rates for American Indian and minority students remain mixed.  For the 1999-2000 academic year, UM-M’s freshman to sophomore retention rates increased slightly from the previous academic year.  American Indian students had a retention rate of 50.9%; for African-Americans, 50%; and for Hispanic and Asian students the retention rates were 53.6% and 81%, respectively.  White students had a freshman to sophomore retention rate of 69.7%.

 

Six-year graduation rates for American Indian students increased significantly in the last year, going from 19.4% to 29.6%; for Hispanic students, 22.2%.   White students had a six-year graduation rate of 46.2%.

 

C.         FUNDING

 

UM-M uses institutional dollars to recruit, retain, and graduate American Indian and other minority students in several ways:

 

Graduate. The Graduate Council awarded six assistantships to Psychology, Anthropology, Division of Biological Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction, and the Schools of Business and Forestry to enroll Native American graduate students.  UM–M received two WICHE Doctoral Scholarships.  A Tribal College instructor received a WICHE Scholarship to upgrade credentials to the master’s level.  In 1997, UM-M received the “Extra Mile Award” from WICHE in recognition of the success of this program.  Subsequently, new minority training programs (such as TRAIN in the Division of Biological Sciences) have incorporated the WICHE model into their administrative structure.  In 2000, WICHE awarded Dr. David Schuldberg its “Extra Mile Award” for his outstanding work as a teacher and mentor.

Every graduate program has spent discretionary and private funds to recruit, retain, and graduate American Indian and other minority students.  The Graduate School spends approximately  $4,000 per year from private and discretionary funds to recruit and retain Native American students, and the Office of Research Administration has spent $162,452 in cost sharing for the WICHE program alone.  Other grants used to fund American Indian education include a recent EPSCoR agreement and funds from the Rural Institute which will establish a national center for access and accommodation of American Indian students with disabilities.  Faculty in the Division of Biological Sciences have spent a great deal of money out-of-pocket for food, gas, and housing for American Indian Students in the Hughes Grant Program.  

 

Undergraduate.  Each year, Admissions and New Student Services spends $33,000 for the recruitment of Native American and other minority students.  Part of this amount--$15,000--goes to employ a .5 FTE minority recruiter, with the remainder used for travel, hosting on-campus events, and operational expense/s such as postage and publications.

 

Since 1991-92, the number of students receiving Native American fee waivers has increased 47%.   The Financial Aid Office (FAO) communicates with all seven Reservations in Montana and several out-of-state Reservations to assist in maximizing financial aid for students.  Two FAO staff work with Native American students.  The UM-M Presidential Loan Fund provides temporary financial assistance to many minority students who might otherwise need to withdraw from school.  The FAO works closely with GEAR UP, Educational Opportunities Program, Upward Bound, and Native American Studies to provide current information about financial aid and scholarships.

 

In 1995-96, 118 minority undergraduate students received $187,961 and 19 minority graduate students received $34,222 in scholarships.  In 1999-2000, 225 minority undergraduate students received $359,118 and 39 graduate students received $100,720 in scholarships.  In five years, scholarship opportunities and funding increased 91% for undergraduate students, and 105% more graduate students receive 194% more scholarship funds.

 

D.         FACULTY/STAFF

 

Increasing the number of employees identified as racial minorities in all job categories remains one of The University of Montana’s primary goals in achieving a culturally diverse campus.  Efforts to fill administrative, academic, and professional vacancies include searching nationally and sending announcements to all Tribal Colleges in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium as well as to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  In addition, Departments considered underutilized in women or minorities, based on availability in the relevant labor market,[1] lists positions with appropriate minority publications that reach Ph.D. recipients, such as the Society of Indian Psychologists, for tenure-track faculty.

 

Detailed recruitment and hiring analyses for all job categories for searches conducted during the year aid in assessing the effectiveness of the University’s recruitment efforts to fill vacancies and the attainment of affirmative action and diversity goals.  The University monitors each search for EEO compliance and to assure a good faith effort to solicit applications from qualified minorities and females.  Responsible parties must justify any exceptions to wide recruitment with approval by the EEO Officer in advance.  For Fall Semester 2000, The University of Montana-Missoula selected 45 faculty members through national searches; Tenure-track faculty make up 32 of those appointed, including 14 females (44%) and seven minorities (22%), two of whom are Native Americans (6.25%).  Two minority faculty members received appointment as Chairs of Departments, including one Native American female.  Female faculty members now comprise 39% of the faculty, and racial minorities six percent (Fall Semester 1999).  The Fall Semester 2000 employee count by job group remains ongoing.  Of the 1,123 applicants for the 32 tenure-track positions filled, Native Americans made up 13 (1.17%) of these, and other minorities account for 129 (11.5%).  In both cases, the percentage ranks higher than the availability in the relevant labor market.

 

Classified staff local and state-wide recruitment efforts yielded 1,677 applicants for 243 positions filled; minorities (five percent), including four Native Americans, made up 12 of those employed.  Females make up 149 (61%) of the new employees.  The female application rate was 53.7% and the minority rate was 4.5%, indicating that UM-M’s hiring rate for these groups ranks higher than their actual application rate.  The University hired 12 employees as contract professionals, including two senior level administrators and six coaches.  Females made up five of these, with one Native American administrator promoted to the position of Dean of Students.  This job group weighs in as currently fully utilized in female and racial minority representation relevant to availability nationally.

 

Administrators receive evaluations annually by their supervisors and peers which include comments regarding accomplishments in promoting cultural diversity in their areas.

 

E.         COURSEWORK AND PROGRAMS

 

The University of Montana-Missoula has many initiatives at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to enhance multicultural awareness and understanding:

 

Undergraduate.  All undergraduates must take a “non-Western” general education course.  Courses in Native American Studies, African American Studies, and in other areas focusing on history, culture, religions of minorities, and non-Western cultures fulfill this requirement.   While a number of programs include multicultural awareness in the curricula, the School of Journalism deserves special note.  Last year the School instituted an American Indian Journalism Program and recruited Dennis McAuliffe as a Native American Journalist in Residence.  Additionally, Professor Carol VanValkenburg offers a yearly Native American Honors class where photo- and print-journalism students produce an in-depth high-quality publication of an issue of importance in Indian Country.

 

In addition, the University has several programs geared specifically to Native American students.  The BRIDGES to the Baccalaureate Program provides Native American students with experiences in the sciences, as do Project TRAIN and Project T-WEB which receive National Science Foundation funding.  Project TRAIN represents a joint program with Salish-Kootenai College, while T-WEB provides training for American Indian students in Environmental Biology.  The INPSYCH program provides training in Psychology to Native American students.

 

Two highly visible academic programs serve Native American students and provide assistance and support towards degree completion.  The Educational Opportunity Program provides myriad services, including study skills, academic advising, career information, financial aid troubleshooting, tutoring, and Native American peer mentoring.  The Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) provides academic, financial, summer enrichment, and social support for Native American students seeking careers in Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, and Psychology.  For the Psychology Program, a consortium of the University and seven Tribal Colleges will implement the Program.

 

Our most notable accomplishment at the undergraduate level is the move of Native American Studies from a program to a Department, which was approved by the Board of Regents in May 1999.  This move provides Native American Studies with full academic recognition and status equal to every other academic unit on campus, and allows our students to graduate with a B.A. in Native American Studies.  In May 2000, six students, all women, received the Bachelor’s Degree in Native American Studies.

 

Graduate.  The School of Education currently offers graduate-level cohort classes on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning.  These courses comprise part of UM-M’s distance-learning curriculum. 

 

In addition, the Graduate School provides Native American students a graduate program option not available in the traditional degree programs.  This program will utilize the existing Master’s of Interdisciplinary Studies (MIS) degree.  The first-year curriculum will consist of core classes on interdisciplinary subjects, including training in the skills and competencies desired by potential employers, regardless of major, as determined by a survey of Tribal leaders and members of the American Indian community in Montana.  After the first year, the School will individualize the curriculum to meet the interdisciplinary interests of the student.  The program will begin in Fall 2001 using a cohort model and will include both resident and distance learning elements.

 

IV.        FUTURE DIRECTIONS

 

In the President’s State of the University Address for Fall 2000, President Dennison outlined The University of Montana-Missoula’s vision to increase the diversity of the students, faculty, and staff for an enriched campus culture; to promote diversity and community among students, faculty, and staff; to sustain and enhance the quality of student life through more effective recruitment and retention; and to attract, retain, support, and develop a diverse and excellent faculty and staff. 

 

During the planning period from 2000-2005, The University of Montana-Missoula will take deliberate actions to assure the fulfillment of the mission and the attainment of the vision.  To achieve the objective will require the participation of all segments of the campus community, working collaboratively.

 

Goals specific to this vision include the following:

·         Increase the number of Native American students to 780 (head count) by 2005.

·         Establish guaranteed transfer programs with all Tribal and Community Colleges by 2005.

·         Establish guaranteed transfer programs with 15 out-of-State Community Colleges by 2005.

·         Establish a Diversity Center to provide services to minorities on campus.

o        Despite programs like WICHE, InPsych, AIBL, TRAIN, and WEB designed to provide financial and mentoring assistance to minority students, Native American students also need a centralized student service office.  The University considers an ombudsperson necessary in this Office to assist minority students in financial aid, registration, and the myriad problems minority students face in the bureaucracy of a different culture.

·         Implement a faculty plan that meets the needs for new programs, reduces student-faculty ratio, and enhances student-faculty interaction by 2005, with attention to diversity.

·         Implement a staffing plan to accommodate new programs, provide technical assistance and service, and assure operation and maintenance of facilities by 2005, with attention to diversity.

·         Implement a facilities master plan by 2001 that meets programmatic needs, including a new Native American Studies building and a new or renovated International Center.

 

Committees to oversee and implement these specific goals are in place.

 

In addition, the Vice President for Student Affairs has undertaken an initiative to expand and enhance the multicultural awareness and competencies of staff and students, including workshops, retreats, and challenge grants to student organizations.  Moreover, additional analysis of the Native American student responses to the Student Satisfaction Inventory continues.

 


[1] The relevant labor market refers to the national availability of Ph.D.’s in a given discipline.  The National Research Council provides yearly reports noting detailed summaries of doctoral recipients by discipline.  The 1997 publication of the National Research Council, as well as the Chronicle of Higher Education, served as references for this report.