Montana State University-Billings

Diversity Action Plan – 2007

  • Provide an update on achievements accomplished since July 2005 Diversity Report.  Include in discussion updates by college, and for student services and financial aid.

Student Affairs

  • Office of Multicultural Student Services (MSS) works with New Student Services to create a list of 50 top Native American high school graduates to focus for recruitment.
  • Coordinator of MSS collaborated on recruitment efforts with Office of New Student Services on visits to high schools, tribal colleges and college fairs.
  • Coordinator of MSS works with tribal high education personnel from six tribes to help students connect with tribal contacts.
  • The Inter-tribal Indian Club is active in community events including American Indian Heritage Day, Christmas Stroll, annual POW WOW, tipi raising demonstration on campus, youth basketball tournaments, and a booth at the annual International Student Food Fair.
  • MSS and the Office of Community Involvement participated in planning and implementation of special events including Martin Luther King, Jr. Bell Ringing Ceremony, Black History Month, Minority Student Graduation Reception, American Indian Heritage Day, Inter-tribal Indian Club POW WOW.
  • MSS partners with other community organizations to promote:
    • Healthy living and wellness in Indian country, Native Reign
  • Native American development Corp., provided Tribal Leadership meetings with students on campus.
  • Guest speakers included: Rose Main, Fort Belknap Tribal Environment dept. describing the legislative issues pertaining to Mt. State and Tribal mining in the Montana.
  • Other guest speakers: Dr. Walter Fleming, MSU, presentation on the Lewis and Clark Expedition from the perspective of a Native American.
  • MSS provided a workshop targeting teachers and those people interested in teaching overseas. “Want To Teach Overseas?” presentation By Renee Wong taught 9 yrs in Hong Kong
  • MSS Coordinator presented “Native cultures and tribes on campus and in Montana) to Emory University students and staff (12). The group stayed 10 days on campus experiencing their annual “journey of reconciliation” tour
  • MSS/ITIC meets and visits with professional people from these organizations regarding employment, careers, scholarships, internships, etc.
    • Community Youth Coalition to partner with activities
    • BIA and IHS personal dept. and scholarship opportunities
    • MSU Science/Engineering Program Personal
    • Billings Community Native Homeowners association
    • School Dist. #2 Personal Dept.
    • BLM, US Rural Development, National Park Service, State Farm
  • The Office of New Student Services expanded outreach and assistance to minority students by adding responsibilities to one of the Admissions Counselors’ position, creating the Minority Student Admissions Counselor.  The Minority Student Admissions Counselor dedicates more time in visiting tribal colleges, high schools on the reservations, and connecting with educators and programs that serve all minority students.
  • In spring 2007, The Office of New Student Services hosted the first Native American Student Day with 23 prospective Native American students in attendance.
  • The Office of New Student Services has established relationships with and regularly visits local agencies who serve minority students.  Some of these agencies include HRDC, Family Services, REO (serving families of migrant workers), and Job Service.
  • Since 2005, the Office of New Student Services has increased participation in events that serve minority students, specifically Native American and Hispanic students.  Some of these events have included Native American Heritage Day, Gathering Native Americans to Higher Learning, Cinco de Mayo Hispanic Community Day, Migrant Education Leadership Conference, and other local/regional events for minority students.
  • The Office of International Studies moved to a larger location in Cisel Hall in 2006.
  • Two diversity workshops were presented on campus, one in October 2005 and another in February 2006
  • International Studies Club presented International Food Fair in March 2006 and March 2007
  • Fourteen individual students participated in full semester Study Abroad experiences in 2005-2006 and four students participated in full semester Study Abroad experiences in 2006-2007.
  • Two groups participated in Study Abroad Trips in 2006 - 12 students went to India during the winter break and 10 students went to China in summer.
  • Four groups participated in Study Abroad experiences in summer 2007; 13 students to Japan, 13 students to Ireland, 7 students to Spain, and 8 students to Greece/Turkey
  • 41 International Students attended MSU-Billings during 2005-2006
  • 44 International Students attended MSU-Billings during 2006-2007
  • In fall 2007, a Community Friends program was pioneered in order to support the transition of international students to American life and culture
  • An international section of ASC 101-College Success Strategies was developed and implemented to address issues of adjustment to an American college environment
  • In 2006-07 and continuing into fall 2007, Director of Academic Advising has reviewed and began updating existing articulation agreements with all tribal colleges 
  • A formal exchange agreement with Jilin University in China was completed in 2003 and roughly two students from Jilin have been attending MSU Billings each year since then.  Four MSUB representatives attending the Jilin University’s 60th Anniversary Celebration in 2006.
  • The Housing and Residence Life program has employed a Resident Assistant for International Education who works specifically with international students and also promotes campus wide international programming for all students.
  • During RA (Resident Assistant) training in fall 2005, fall 2006, and fall 2007, several sessions are held on diversity awareness, tolerance, and diversity education.

College of Technology

  • The increase in two-year post-secondary opportunities in the State of Montana has increased the number of students from GEAR-UP programs visiting the College of Technology to learn about programs available at the certificate and associate degree level.  The COT provides information on programs and campus tours for prospective minority students through the visits of students from these programs.
  • Conoco Scholarship Partnership:  Scholarships for Process Plant students target diverse students in the south side of Billings.
  • Career Exploration Day:  Invitation to high school sophomores and juniors surrounding including Lodge Grass, Lame Deer, Plenty Coups, and Hardin.

College of Business

  • The COB and RBC Dain Rauscher hosted a dinner and Diversity Round Table discussion October 17, 2006 on the MSU-Billings Downtown campus.  51 participants discussed impacts of diversity demographics on Billings.  Concerns, challenges, recommendations and follow-up suggestions were facilitated by guest speakers from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • The College of Business senior accounting majors work with minority families at Friendship House each March and April (2006 and 2007) through the Volunteers in Tax Assistance (VITA) program.
  • American Indian Business Leader team members Kimberly Iron, Amy Benson and Ada Iron won the first place $1000 cash prize in the 13th Annual Leadership Conference at the 2007 National Business Plan competition Tribal College/University Category in Anaheim, California April 12-14.  This effort surpassed the second place finishes accomplished the past two years by the COB team.  AIBL Advisor Assistant Professor A. J. Otjen accompanied the team.
  • Over twenty students from third through ninth grade participated in Kids Enterprise Camp and Honors Camp for Business and Community Leadership conducted by Dean Gary Young in June 2007 as part of the Kids on Campus workshops.

College of Education

  • The COE in partnership with Friendship House, has been awarded a 5-year21st Community Learning Center Grant from OPI to provide after-school programs to enhance academic and social development of middle school students at Riverside School, and elementary students at Orchard School.  A main component of the grant is to provide a variety of field experiences working with students from low-income and minority backgrounds for COE teacher candidates at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
  • 2005-2006: Six students completed their student teaching experience overseas.
  • 2006-2007: Two students completed their student teaching experience overseas.
  • Fall 2007: One student is completing student teaching overseas.
  • The MSU Billings Big Sky American Indian Project received continuation funding to support continued/increasing enrollments of Montana Native Americans into our teacher education program.

College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning

  • The College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning conducted a training program with Friendship House and Head Start personnel to provide leadership training for staff that work with minority and low-income populations in Billings.
  • The College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning presented training sessions on resume writing and job search skills as a part of a Family Enrichment Project.  This project was presented in collaboration with Friendship House, Eagle Mount, Family Tree and Head Start.
  • Collaborated with MSU-Bozeman on the presentation of a Defeating Diabetes symposium focused on the Native American population.
  • The College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning collaborated with the Western Heritage Center on the collection, filming and documentation of their American Indian Tribal Histories Projects.
  • The College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning presented a Coalition Building Utilizing Clan Knowledge program in connection with the Community Information System project. 
  • In response to Montana Office of Public Instruction “Indian Education for All” the CPSLL’s Educators on Campus program has offered numerous extension credit courses for K-12 educator professional development with American Indian cultural heritage content.
  • Provides support and program collaboration with the Native American Development Corporation, which helps establish American Indian-owned businesses, helps tribes cultivate economic development, and works to reduce Indian poverty.
  • As part of the 4th Annual at Risk Conference Meth Epidemic: Prevention and Intervention, programmed sessions specific to the Crow Reservation.
  • In partnership with the Montana Department of Corrections is conducting a training program with incarcerated youth designed to improve the transition from institutionalization to the workplace.  The goal of the program is to assist and encourage incarcerated youths to acquire functional literacy for life and job skills through the pursuit of a postsecondary training.
  • Collaborated with Hispanic Ministries on Cinco de Mayo, an outreach event that brought representatives from community organizations working in employment opportunity, education, home ownership and assistance programs together with the Hispanic community.
  • Provided technical support and facilitation for the Women’s History Museums project to collect, film and document oral histories of twenty female community members.
  • In association with Homeward First conducts workshops to encourage and support first time home ownership in low income populations.
  • In partnership with RBC Dain Rauscher, host the annual Diversity Round Table Dinner and Discussion, an event to address diversity challenges in the university and business community.
  • Hosted at the downtown campus numerous community events and trainings with organization including Montana Children and Advocacy Program; Native American Film, Inc.; Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies; Montana Indian Business Alliance: Spirit of Women; Celebrating American Indian Home Ownership;  NAFSA – Association of International Educators; and High 5 to Success with the Billings Public Schools.

College of Arts and Sciences

  • MSU Billings added a minor in International Studies in 2003 and currently has 15 students enrolled.
  • The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Tasneem Khaleel, conducted recruitment visits in India during the winter of 2006.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences Hired the Native American Studies Program Coordinator (NASPC) in July 2007.
  • NASPC made Poster presentation of the Proposed NAMS major at the September 2007 BOR meeting at MSU-B
  • NASPC assisted Student Affairs in personally calling American Indian students prior to the beginning of fall semester.
  • NASPC presented the proposed NAMS major to the Billings Heights Kiwanas Club
  • NASPC represents American Indian issues on the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board, MLK Jr. Committee, Career Services Advisory Board, Urban Institute Advisory Board, Big Sky Projects Advisory Alliance, and the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Committee of the Governor’s Youth Justice Council. 
  • NASPC will present two workshops on the Care of Native American Women for the Billings Clinic Nurses’ Cultural Series training program in October 2007.
  • NASPC will present two workshops for the Palliative Care Conference at the Billings Clinic for physicians on the Cultural Competencies in Health Care for Native American Patients in October 2007.
  • NASPC and professor Jeff Sanders presented on Cross-Cultural Communication for Yellowstone County law enforcement and providers serving juveniles in the Justice system.
  • NASPC testified at the public hearing on Mental Illness in State Juvenile Justice System bringing special attention to the cultural needs of American Indian children.
  • NASPC attended the American Indian Women’s Health Conference at St. Vincent Hospital
  • NASPC represents American Indian issues in homelessness in Billings as an ad hoc member of the Governor’s Council on Homelessness. 
  • In summer 2005, Dr. Jeffrey Sanders, an Associate Professor of Native American Studies in the Department of Political Science and Sociology, went to Peru and Guatemala to study the ancient cultures of the Inca and Maya Indians through a Fulbright-Hays grant to Fort Belknap College.
  • Dr. Sanders was one of 14 educators from throughout Montana selected to participate in a Fulbright-Hays Seminar grant awarded to Fort Belknap College. Most of the 14 educators came from tribal colleges while a few were chosen from Montana State University in Bozeman. Dr. Sanders was the only educator selected from Billings.  He spent five weeks last summer in Peru and Guatemala in the study of prehistoric Inca and Maya civilizations to determine how they can be related to modern times and cultures. The program is designed to help internationalize curriculum in North America through a deeper understanding of the heritage of cultural, philosophical and religious customs of ancient civilizations.
  • Sue Barfield, Associate Professor of Music and Education spent summer 2007 in Chile as a full-bright scholar.

Montana State University Billings General

  • MSU Billings has experienced a 40% increase in the number of minority student graduates over the past ten years.  This illustrates our success in recruiting and retaining minority students.
  • MSU Billings experienced a Native American student increase of 20.1% from fall 2006 to fall 2007 at the Senior campus and a 28.6% increase at the College of Technology.  
  • Hispanic students increased by 4.2% from fall 2006 to fall 2007 at the Senior campus and 17.1% at the College of Technology.  
  • 42 International students attended MSU Billings in fall of 2005, 44 in fall of 2006, and 45 in fall of 2007.
  • MSU-Billings co-sponsored “Now in our Town” workshop with the Human Relations Commission of the City of Billings.
  • MSU-Billings co-hosted a conference on “Diversity” in October 2006.
  • The Office of Continuous Quality Improvement sponsored a web conference on “How to recruit Diverse Faculty” in July 2007.

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