TO: Roger Barber, PhD, JD, Deputy Commissioner, Academic and Student Affairs

FROM: Mary Sheehy Moe, EdD, Dean/CEO, MSU-Great Falls College of Technology

RE: MSU-Great Falls Academic Programming in Bozeman

DATE: April 22, 2004

In our recent discussions about proposals advanced by MSU-Great Falls for its programming in Bozeman, you requested an information item of the history, status, and future directions for MSUGF's academic programming as a college of technology of Montana State University. I am pleased to provide it in this memo.


During the restructuring of the Montana University System in 1994 and 1995, two decisions by the Board of Regents affected the relationship between what was then the Great Falls Technical Center and Montana State University:

1)       The Great Falls two-year college became one of two "stand-alone" colleges of technology in the Montana University System. In that capacity, it represents the university system as the lead institution in the Great Falls area. It is academically autonomous and regionally accredited as a discrete institutional entity. However, it is aligned with and reports through Montana State University, paralleling the alignment between Helena and The University of Montana.

2)       Two-year colleges were charged with a greater responsibility for remediation; to facilitate this shift, the four-year colleges and universities were directed to transition their developmental/remedial courses into their two-year programs or co-located colleges of technology.

Because MSU is the only four-year college in the university system without co-located two-year programming, MSUGF assumed that role in Bozeman. Beginning in 1997 the college of technology assumed the responsibility for the lowest-level math course previously offered through MSU.

The college began delivering its outreach and customized training services in Bozeman in 1997 as well. After an unsuccessful experience offering computer courses on the MSU campus, the COT entered into an arrangement with the City of Bozeman to use space in its Professional Building to offer customized training and evening courses to the Bozeman working population. That program began in 2000 and continues today. The first graduates of the AAS degree program in Computer Technology completed their degrees in 2003.

A variety of businesses have been served over the years through customized training, primarily in computer applications and soft skills, but occasionally in more specialized areas, such as marketing a manufactured product and preparing a bid proposal for a government agency. Businesses served in the last year include:

1.       Kenyon-Noble

2.       Department of Transportation

3.       KMG Marketing

4.       Williams Plumbing

5.       ERA Landmark Real Estate

6.       NRCS (National Resource Conservation Service)

7.       Simms Fishing Products

8.       LygoCyte Pharmaceuticals

9.       Luzenac

The current strategic plans of both Montana State University and MSU-Great Falls identify as a goal the more substantial presence of the college of technology's academic programs in Bozeman. Prompting this goal are two factors:

1)       The Gallatin Valley has a need for two-year occupational programming responsive to business and industry needs the core mission of MSUGF's college of technology and a function it already serves in Bozeman at the Professional Building.

In response, the COT has been engaged in a variety of efforts during the past year to identify and begin implementing this programming. In 2004, the AAS degree in Computer Technology will be offered on campus. Extensive conversations on the implementation of an Aviation Science program have taken place and may result in an AAS program implementation as early as 2005. AAS degrees in Interior Design and Creative Enterprise also have promise.

2)       MSUGF's record of success in developmental programming will be extremely important in addressing the implications of proficiency-based admissions on MSU as an institution.

To address this issue, MSUGF is working with MSU faculty and administration to develop an innovative and high-quality semester of developmental programming and "ramp-up" academic experiences that prepare academically unprepared students for a successful experience at Montana State University. Some courses will be offered on the MSU campus in Fall 2004, with more substantial offerings in Fall 2005 and the total program implemented by Fall 2006.