MEMORANDUM������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ November 12, 2000



TO:���� ����������� Board of Regents


FROM:���������� Joyce A. Scott, Deputy Commissioner for Academic & Student Affairs


SUBJECT:����� Level I Announcements & Approvals



This memo is to inform you of the Level I changes in academic programs approved in the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education since the last meeting of the Board of Regents.� I will be happy to answer questions about these changes.


Western Montana College of the University of Montana


Request to offer the Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education in Hamilton, Montana effective Spring 2001.


WMC-UM currently offers an AAS in ECE and a Child Development Associate (CDA) training program on the Dillon campus and at seven (7) field sites (Missoula, Billings, Bozeman Helena, Butte, Great Falls and Havre). The off-campus program consists of 24 semester credits. These courses can be used to satisfy the training requirements for a CDA. Typically, they also form the professional core for the AAS degree in ECE.


There is a growing demand to professionalize the early childhood field. This has resulted in Federal training mandates, a Montana Early Care and Education Career Path, and grants to practitioners being tied to early childhood training. This focus, along with increasing demands for early childhood programs, is creating a need for higher education courses. WMC-UM began offering early childhood extension courses in Hamilton in 1995 and typically� has offered one course per year to 15 Head Start and child care providers. Due to recent federal regulation--that 50% of Head Start teachers must have an associate degree in Early Childhood by 2003--Head Start wants to formalize this process.


The practitioners are non-traditional, place-bound providers who currently work in a field characterized by low wages. A high percentage of current students qualify for PELL grants, and there are scholarships for those who do not. Courses will be offered at night and/or weekends to meet students' needs, with labs conducted in the early childhood setting when feasible.


A full program proposal is on file in the Office of the Commissioner.