Action Plan on Diversity
Report to the Commissioner of Higher Education
October 15, 2007

For our purposes, we are dividing programs/efforts into three sections:  (1) Native Americans, (2) Women and (3) Minorities/International Students.

Native Americans

  • Rockin’ the Rez – This effort continues to be a successful tool for recruiting NA students to MSU.  Enrollment figures for Fall 2007 shows 320 self-identified Native American students, with 55 new freshman.  This year, the program is growing substantially to include more faculty and other representation from across campus.  The model is changing to include longer visits—typically two days—in each community.  In addition to speaking with potential students, we will also be sponsoring listening sessions in each community to hear how we could better be meeting the needs of local students.
  • Council of Elders – The Council continues to provide support and guidance to the President in addressing issues of concern and interest from reservations/businesses/programs serving NA peoples in Montana.
  • Increase in Web Services – The members of the Indian Program Directors (IPD) worked with staff from Extended University to create a new web site to host information and links about services and opportunities available to Native American students.  Future efforts will be directed to publicizing the site and updating and adding content.  See
  • Native American Student Center – There was a dedication of the site as part of our celebration of American Indian Heritage Day.  The fundraising team has been established under the leadership of Bill Yellowtail and is to be a coordinated effort with the MSU Foundation.
  • College of Nursing COOP program – This programs graduated 7 NA students (largest graduating class in the history of COOP) in the spring with 37 enrolled this Fall. 
  • Indian Leadership Education and Development – The new ILEAD grant (approx. $2.5 million) in the College of Education has enrolled 40 teachers (from all seven reservations) at MSU. The primary goal is to develop Native American teachers, and teachers wanting to work in Native American communities, into high-quality principals and school leaders.  Project leaders have designed a course of study for aspiring school administrators that will help them deal with everything from budgeting, to hiring, to student discipline, to motivating staff and designing curricula while improving a schools' effectiveness as they learn.  
  • Early Childhood Education Distance Partnership – This new grant (additional $1.2 million) in the College of EHHD expands this program for Native Head Start teachers to attain a four year degree.  Fifteen (15) new students (150% increase over last year) and two more reservations (from 4 – 6) are being added this year.
  • Designing our Community – This program in the College of Engineering continues to work toward recruitment and retention of Native students.  A new NSF grant provides supplemental instruction project funding, which partners upper division students with newly entering students in a targeted mentoring and tutoring program—a collaborative effort financed by the Provost’s Office, the College of Engineering, the College of Technology and the Dean of Student’s offices.  Dedicated physical space is provided for participants in all Designing Our Community programs.
  • The Department of Education will be continuing efforts, such as this fall’s day-long symposium on Indian Education for All, to provided statewide leadership on Indian Education for All implementation.
  • Cultural Competence Assessment Tool – The Department of Education is currently developing an assessment tool to administer to the teacher candidates in our teacher education program to elicit feedback on their cultural competency.
  • Faculty Diversity Training – Since 2006, we have included a one-hour session on Native Americans in Montana as part of our annual new faculty orientation.  This session is presented by faculty from the Department of Native American Studies.  This year we are adding additional workshops for all faculty on teaching Native Students. 


  • The NSF sponsored ADVANCE network grant in its first stage targets mid-career women in engineering and science fields.
  • Three women were nominated and selected for participation in the month-long Bryn Mawr Summer Institute for Women in Leadership in Higher Education.
  • Women’s Faculty Caucus programming continues to address the needs and concerns of women faculty and provides a supportive environment through sponsorship of speakers representing nationally known women in academe, celebrating accomplishments of women faculty and other programs of interest addressing campus specific issues.
  • Recruitment efforts have resulted in hiring of 21 women faculty in the last year (since Fall of 2006.  There are three (3) newly hired women Deans; current administrative and leadership roles at the university include five (5) out of eight (8) women deans and seven (7) of nine (9) assistant dean posts being held by women.  One Vice Provost position is also held by a woman.


  • MSU continues to hire international faculty, which bring an important level of diversity to our campus.  Ten Labor Certifications were filed since Fall of 2006.
  • International exchanges of both students and faculty continue to be a high priority. 
  • MSU continues efforts to create specific opportunities for international students to study at MSU.  The dual-degree program with ITU (Turkey) in Bioengineering is one example, which is expected to see significant growth in the next two years.  MSU is also pursuing a partnership with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Academy.  Although focused on 2-year education in the UAE, this agreement could also provide significant international opportunities for MSU students and faculty.
  • The Office of Diversity Awareness continues to sponsor programming for MSU and the Bozeman community.  For instance, last year there was a large effort to celebrate Black History Month.