Program Description


1.       Briefly describe the proposed new program. Please indicate if it is an expansion of an existing program; a new program; cooperative effort with another institution, business, or industry; or an on-campus or off-campus program. Attach any formal agreements established for cooperative efforts.

Montana State University-Great Falls College of Technology proposes to offer an Associate of Arts degree in response to the needs of transfer students and the Montana workforce. MSU-Great Falls COT currently offers an Associate of Science degree with a general program of study, as well as the discipline-specific program of study in Elementary Education. An Associate of Arts degree will expand the College's offerings to meet the needs of those students who are interested in transferring into baccalaureate programs in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Completion of the Associate of Arts degree would indicate that the student has completed a course of study that prepares him/her for upper-division study in a baccalaureate-degree program. In addition, an Associate of Arts degree will serve students seeking to acquire a diverse and flexible range of "soft skills" employers demand, such as high-level written and verbal communication, high-level written communication skills, cultural awareness, interpersonal skills, and sophisticated problem-solving abilities. Finally the Associate of Arts degree will appeal to the growing population of those seeking college credits primarily for personal self improvement.

2.       Summarize the needs assessment conducted to justify the proposal.

Reports and data from several reliable sources document various needs justifying the proposal:

  • Like the University of Montana-Helena, College of Technology, MSU-Great Falls identified this need through the student advising process, where approximately a third of our students express interest in beginning a program that will transfer to a baccalaureate-degree program in the arts, humanities, or social sciences.
  • Like the college of technology in Helena, although enrollments in our Associate of Science program have increased dramatically in the last five years, very few students actually complete the AS degree. A total of 54 graduated with the A.S. degree between 2000 and 2003. Students who complete a two-year degree are more likely to transfer and to succeed after transfer to a four-year campus. An Associate of Arts degree that expands transfer options for students whose true interests and abilities lie in the humanities will increase degree completions.
  • Department chairs and administrators responding to student and community group requests have found it difficult to develop articulation agreements using the Associate of Science degree as the foundation in specific program areas e.g., Native American Studies, elementary education, and resource interpretation. Student, faculty and constituency requests of these types prompted the College to include the addition of an Associate of Arts degree in its strategic plan for 2000 2003.
  • The Business-Education Roundtables conducted at the College in 2001 identified as a primary workforce need a range of "soft skills" including high-level written and verbal communication, self initiative, a strong sense of ethics and sophisticated problem solving abilities. Such characteristics are precisely those gained through the study of the liberal arts.
  • Great Falls is one of the few major population centers in the state without local access to an Associate of Arts degree.
  • The clusters study of Montana's economic sectors (Rosenfeld 2003) targets creative enterprise as a promising sector for development; MSU-Great Falls College of Technology is working with Rosenfeld to develop creative enterprise programming. An Associate of Arts will help to support such programming.

3.       Explain how the program relates to Role and Scope of the institution as established by the Board of Regents.

Creation of an Associate of Arts degree will enhance both prongs of MSU-Great Falls mission by providing increased access to transferable coursework and degrees and improving the preparation of the workforce.

4.       State what effect, if any, the proposed program will have on the administrative structure of the institution. Also indicate the potential involvement of other departments, divisions, colleges, or schools.                                                                      

The new program will be an offering of the Arts and Sciences Department, which is under the direction of the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. No revision of the current administrative structure is required.

5.       Describe the extent to which similar programs are offered in Montana, the Pacific Northwest, and states bordering Montana. How similar are these programs to the one proposed?

The colleges and universities listed below all offer Associate of Arts degrees, another indicator of the demand for and utility of these degrees in two-year settings. Currently, MSU-Great Falls, COT is the only "stand-alone" two-year college in Montana without an Associate of Arts degree. The proposed program most closely resembles that of UM-Helena College of Technology but differs in requiring 7 credits in a foreign language and 3 credits dedicated to computer literacy.

Montana State University - Billings
Montana State University - Northern
The University of Montana - Helena College of Technology
The University of Montana - Missoula College of Technology
The University of Montana - Western
Dawson Community College
Flathead Valley Community College
Miles Community College
Tribal Colleges (Blackfeet Community College, Dull Knife Memorial College, Fort Belknap College, Little Big Horn College, Fort Peck Community College, Salish Kootenai College, Stone Child College)

6.       Please name any accrediting agency (ies) or learned society (ies) that would be concerned with particular program herein proposed. How has this program been developed in accordance with criteria developed by said accrediting body (ies) or learned society (ies).

Based on faculty, curriculum, and support services, this proposal meets the standards for accreditation by the Northwest Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities.

7.       Prepare an outline of the proposed curriculum showing course titles and credits. Please include any plans for expansion of the program during its first three years.

Proposed Curriculum Outline:

To receive the Associate of Arts Degree, the following requirements must be completed:

1. Completion of the approved General Education Core (32 semester hours)

2. The Computer Skills/Usage Block (3 semester hours)

3.The Foreign Language Block (7 semester hours)

4.       The Elective Block,with Concentrated Programs of Study (18 semester hours)

Total program consists of sixty (60) semester hours.

The broad range of potential electives allows students to craft a concentration that could meet specific university/college program requirements for advanced degrees or appeal to prospective employers.

Curricular Components:

I. Approved General Education Core (32 Semester Credits)

A. Communications--6 credits required

(3 credits verbal & 3 credits written)


COMM 130V Public Speaking 3

COMM 135V Interpersonal Communications 3

ENGL 121W Composition I 3

ENGL 122W Composition II 3

B. Mathematics--3 credits required


MATH 121M Math for Elem Teachers II 3

MATH 130M College Algebra 4

MATH 131M College Trigonometry 3

MATH 150M Math for Liberal Arts 3

MATH 161M Math for Health Science 4

MATH 181M Calculus I 4

MATH 182M Calculus II 4

MATH 216M Basic Statistics 3

MATH 217M Intermediate Statistics 3

C. Fine Arts--3 credits required


ART 101F Intro to Visual Arts 3

ART 114F Art Fundamentals 3

ART 140F Drawing I 3

DE 161F Intro to Design 3

DE 164F Historic Interiors 3

MUS 102F Music Appreciation 3

MUS 210F Music Appreciation 3

MUS 214FG World Music 3

MUS 212FG American Music 3

D. Humanities--6 credits required


ENGL 114HG Intro to Literature 3

ENGL 210HG World Literature I 3

ENGL 211H World Literature II 3

ENGL 214H Literature of the West 3

HIST 103H U.S. History I 3

HIST 104H U.S. History II 3

HIST 106H History of Western Civ I 3

HIST 107H History of Western Civ II 3

HIST 210H Montana History 3

HUM 242H Gender & Equality 3

HUM 244H American Cultural Values 3

ML 102HG Elementary Spanish II 4

ML 219HG Intermediate Spanish 3

PHIL 132H Problems in 20th Cent Thinking 3

PHIL 232H Basic Ethics 3

E. Natural Science--8 credits required (must include one lab course)


AH 221N Human Nutrition 3

BIO 101N Biology of Organisms (w/lab) 4

BIO 107N Fund Human Biology/Lab 4

BIO 205N Personal Nutrition 3

BIO 213N Anatomy & Physiology I/Lab 4

BIO 214N Anatomy & Physiology II/Lab 4

BIO 280N Micro & Comm Diseases 4

CHM 150N Prin of Inorganic Chemistry 3

CHM 151N Prin of Inorganic Chemistry/Lab 1

CHM 152N Prin of Organic Chemistry 3

CHM 153N Prin of Organic Chemistry/Lab 1

PHYS 110N Survey of Natural Sciences 4

PHYS 130N Fundamentals Physical Sci. (w/Lab) 4

F. Social Sciences--6 credits required


ANT 101SG Intro to Anthropology 3

ECON 101S Principles of Economics 3

ECON 102SG Economics I (Macro) 3

ECON 201S Economics II (Micro) 3

GEOG 105SG General Geography 3

PSY 101S General Psychology 3

PSY 109S Lifespan Development 3

SOC 111S Introduction to Sociology 3

SOC 246SG Montanas American Indians 3

G. Multicultural/Global Issues--6 credits

The courses with G behind the course number will fulfill the multicultural/global issues requirement as well as a designated core area requirement.

Total Credits 32


II. Computer Skills/Usage--3 credits required *

CourseNo.Title Credits

CS 110 Introduction to Computers 3

*or any CS 3 credit hour course that has CS 110 as a prerequisite

III.  Foreign Language--7 credits required


ML 101 Elementary Spanish I 4

ML 102HG Elementary Spanish II 4

ML 219HG Intermediate Spanish* 3


In fall of 2004 MSU-Great Falls will begin offering French or German as well as Spanish.

IV. Elective Courses--18 credits required

Students pursuing an Associate of Arts degree may choose any combination of courses with the following prefixes to complete a total of 18 hours of general studies in the liberal arts.


ENGL English (ENGL 121 or above)

HIST History

HUM Humanities

PHIL Philosophy

ML Modern Languages

MUS Music

A great advantage of the Associate of Arts degree is that its flexibility will allow students to design concentrated programs of study that appear on their transcript and aid them in transfer applications or employment opportunities.

Concentrated programs of study could also be completed as a part of the elective block of courses and consist of five classes. Three such concentrated programs of study are presented below.

Program of Study in History

HIST 103H History of the United States (to 1865)

HIST 104H History of the United States (1865 to Present)

HIST 170 History of Western United States

HIST 210H Montana History

SOC 246G Montana's American Indians

Program of Study in Visual Arts

ART 101F Introduction to Visual Arts

ART 114F Art Fundamentals

ART 140F Drawing I

DE 161F Introduction to Design

DE 164F Historic Interiors

Program of Study in Communication

ENGL 122W Composition II

ENGL 124 Business and Professional Communication

ENGL 127 Technical Report Writing

ENGL 228 Strategies of Business Communications

COMM 130V Public Speaking OR COMM 135V Interpersonal Communication



1.       Please indicate, by name and rank, current faculty who will be involved with the program proposed herein.

The General Education department has twelve full-time, tenure-track faculty members who will deliver the proposed Associate of Arts degree.

BariLynn Gilliard, English, Ph.D., Level III*

Colleen Hazen, English, M.A., Level II

Rebecca Johnson, Mathematics, M.S., Level II

Jill Keil, Mathematics, M.A.T., Level III

Cheri McKeever, D.V.M., Level II

Deb Morey, English, M.A., Level I

Mike OLear, Mathematics, M.A., Level II

Heidi Pasek, Psychology, M.P.C., Level II

Mark Plante, Mathematics, M.S., Level I

Esther Stinnett, English, M.A., Level III

Larry Vaccaro, Communication, M.A., M.S., M.Ed., Level II

Adam Wenz, Geochemistry, M.A., Level I

* "level" refers to instructor status at College of Technology

2.       Please project the need and cost for new faculty over the first five years of the program. Include special qualifications or training. If present faculty are to conduct the new program, please explain how they will be relieved from present duties.

All of the courses for the proposed degree are already offered by MSU-Great Falls. However, one new full-time faculty member in the humanities or fine arts would facilitate the expansion of the degree in its second year. As the program develops, the department projects a need for a second full-time faculty member in either the humanities or the fine arts. Currently, the Arts and Sciences Department relies on a large number of adjunct instructors, a situation that will continue with the introduction of the proposed Associate of Arts degree. Fortunately, a large pool of qualified potential adjuncts faculty exists in the Great Falls area.

3.       Please explain the need and cost for support personnel or other required personnel expenditures.

No additional support personnel will be required.


1.       Please summarize operating expenditure needs.

There will be no significant operating expenditure needs.

2.       Please evaluate library resources. Are they adequate for operation of the proposed program? If not, how will the library need to be strengthened during the next three years?

Through the sustainability funds proposal process initiated by Montana State University this year, the College secured $10,000 to make the initial enhancement to the library collection to support the Associate of Arts degree.

3.       Please indicate special clinical, laboratory, and/or computer equipment that will be needed. List those pieces of equipment or computer hardware presently available in the department.

No new equipment or hardware will be needed.

4.       Please describe facilities and space required for the proposed program. Are current facilities adequate for the program? If not, how does the institution propose to provide new facilities?

MSU-Great Falls College of Technology currently offers all the courses required for the degree program within existing space. An existing classroom has been remodeled for expanded use as a studio art classroom through MSU sustainability project funding.



1.       Please name faculty committees or councils that have reviewed the program herein proposed.

The MSU-Great Falls College of Technology Academic Council and the Great Falls Higher Education Center Advisory Council have both reviewed the proposed degree.

2.       If outside consultants have been employed, please list the names of these consultants, their current positions, and titles. Append copies of their written reports (this is required of new doctoral programs).

No outside consultants were used.