TO: Board of Regents

FROM: Willard R. Weaver, Dean, Montana State University-Great Falls College of Technology

RE: Campus Report for the September 2000 Board of Regents Meeting

When the Montana University System was restructured in 1994, the colleges of technology were charged with responding to the needs of business and industry. This report provides an update on the recent and continuing efforts of Montana State University-Great Falls College of Technology to realize that restructuring vision.

  • To position ourselves to respond to business and industry, our faculty meet regularly with over 200 representatives from allied health, business, and technology fields who serve on advisory committees for our technical programs. In addition, the entire leadership team and many faculty have become familiar with and to the business community through Leadership Great Falls.
  • To support economic development efforts in Great Falls, leadership from the College participate in the work of the Community Economic Development Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the High Plains Development Authority, the Business and Improvement District, and other economic development groups.
  • In response to industry requests for a more technologically savvy workforce, we have taken a leadership role in the Tech Prep Program. The College provides an office and support for the director of the Central Montana Tech Prep Consortium, which includes as members 46 of the 50 high schools in the region. We work actively with those high schools to articulate high school course work with College programs.
  • To support the continuing education needs of business and industry, we offer extensive customized training. In AY 1999-2000, over 1,500 employees took advantage of our customized training offerings. This fall, we've nearly doubled the number of agencies we served in Fall 1999.
  • In response to industry requests in the past three months alone, the College has proposed the addition of a Surgical Technology program in Great Falls and has designed a specialized endorsement in health information coding, to be offered beginning Spring 2001.
  • To educate regional businesses on the advantages technology can provide, the College collaborated with the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce to host a Tech Fair on Nov. 3-4. Over 600 individuals visited the campus to see the high-tech exhibits and participate in 35 technology sessions free of charge.
  • To support Great Falls downtown businesses, we partnered with the Business Improvement District to offer Storefront University on Oct. 5. Business owners became professors for the evening in over 75 workshops featuring specialized knowledge associated with their trades.
  • To respond to industry requests for access to industrial certification in formats that accommodate the working adults, we will offer accelerated Cisco certification beginning in Spring 2001. The College considers offering additional accelerated certification opportunities a top priority.

How can the Montana University System ensure that the colleges of technology are responsive to workforce needs? A local business leader provided the best answer when MSU President Geoffrey Gamble visited Great Falls last month. "Stay flexible," he advised. "This College has the flexibility to respond quickly and effectively. We like that."