January 15-16, 2004


Minutes of discussion on military science minor at The University of Montana-Missoula.


Muir: Regent Jasmin, other Regents, It's been referred that UM has a lot of programs before you. I think if you looked over the last two years, of the number of programs that have come Missoula versus other campuses, we probably looked a little light. Part of that is because we don't force faculty to prepare things under a strict time frame. These proposals have been in the works for a number of years. It just happens to be that they all came together in timing this fall, in terms of going through our internal process. If we need to improve upon or answer questions, we're certainly glad to do that, but we feel fairly confident and proud of what we have brought forward, but would be glad to deal with any issues.

Hur: Now I'm going to ask an ironic question, since I guess the topic has been on why does Missoula have so many programs before the Board, and I guess my question is kind of why isn't one program that I was interested in not before the Board from Missoula? And of course as many of you know there is no surprise, the program I'm interested in is the minor in military science and I see in Level II MSU-Bozeman has their minor in military studies coming up before the Board at probably a future meeting, a couple months from now, and in fairness to President Dennison who could not be here because he is sick, and I send my regards to him and his family. Hopefully he will get well soon. I guess he did not want me to discuss this because he was under the impression that there wasn't a report on this already. But what I passed out to the Board this morning was a report of which I'm grateful Professor Knowles was able to prepare for us and it discusses the military science program at The University of Montana, or the potential one. I guess the reason I'm bringing this up, to be concise, is I understand that historically accepting and rejecting programs has generally been the purview of the faculty, and so we need to tread lightly in this area. Lois is nodding her head yes, big time, and I am bringing this up because it is reported in the Kaimin, and you can't believe everything that you read in the paper, even though we named the School of Journalism building after somebody that probably had a lot of integrity, other than the paper, but I read in the paper that the reason the military science program at UM was shot down was that some professors and members of the committee, and I do not know if this is true, but the reason I'm bringing it up is I guess to find out the truth, is that some people were against the war in Iraq and there are political reasons why they shot this down, and then I talked with the corresponding people at MSU who are involved in that process and they said their program went through with no problems, with no big questions raised at MSU and no political considerations of that nature, and I guess I just want to find out what the truth is in regards to that, and if there is any student or member of the audience with the Chair's permission that wishes to discuss this or comment. I know Aaron Flint has comments in regards to this. He might have been on the committee too. With that Mr. Chairman, I will take questions I have set out, and return the microphone to you.

Muir: You're absolutely correct, Regent Hur that under accreditation it is important that faculty oversee the integrity of the curriculum, and that's why it was not in my head. I have talked with all of the parties throughout this from the beginning and been supportive of this minor. My understanding is that there are some issues about just the nature of how the minor proposal was put together, and that the curricula audit that are predominately faculty are working with the military science program to resolve those. We also have a member of the committee here who says he would be glad to speak to you, and share his knowledge of what transpired.

Pavlish, Student Senator at UM, and member of Academic Standards and Curriculum Review Committee: This is the most rigorous committee I have ever been on in my life. I've been on quite a few. They don't take lightly to any kind of proposal at all, in fact if something is not perfect when it comes to that committee, there's not a chance that it's going to pass. And, actually, I was really impressed when the article came out in the Kaimin because there is absolutely no shred of truth in that. The reason that proposal was rejected was not because people on that committee even don't care for military science, because a lot of people on the committee are working really hard with the military science program and I think, also President Flint is doing a pretty good job of trying to make that happen in a better way. I'm positive that Emily Jones, Student Senator who is also a member of ASCRC is helping out a lot also. But, the main reasons which might be the thing that Professor Knowles handed out to you, that particular proposal was rejected apart from whatever you might have in front of you, is because it was not ready for that process. There were only three possible military science courses for a military science minor, and all the classes came from political science and history. Some of them had nothing to do, really with military science at all. It just wasn't a proposal that was ready for that kind of rigor. I apologize that it hasn' made it all the way forward yet. I imagine eventually it will, with a lot more work.

Jasmin: That's a great response. Thank you very much for sharing that with us.

Knowles: Mr. Chairman I work very closely with the Chair of the ASCRC who is one of our leading political science professors, Louis Hayes and I made it very clear that we really had to make this decision totally on the academic merits of the proposal. You just heard a description and, on this memo that I wrote you, on the back is the original response of the committee back to the department. We basically hit the ball over the net, back to the military science department and invited them to bring this to us again. I made sure that this was an issue that was not political, it was strictly academic. The chair of the committee and I worked very closely on that to assure that the proposal got fair treatment and it did. Thank you.

Jasmin: Does that answer your questions?

Hur: It does, Mr. Chairman. I thank you for the time and the only remaining question I had in regards to this is on the back, I just had a question about wording in the number two paragraph, first bullet for recommendations, it says "the proposal should be drafted from the academic perspective, the mission of the university of liberal arts", not the military science. I just wondered what that meant. I didn't understand it. That was my remaining question. Thank you.

Knowles: The military science department is a full-fledged department in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University. It is expected to bring forth its proposal as if it were history, or political science, or economics, or foreign languages, or anything else that's in that school, in that college. And then we just urged them to think more in terms of how the minor affects all these other departments because as you just heard the student say, they wanted people to just sort of take a letter in .courses in the college, without any kind of advance consultation with department chairs and faculty in those departments. There are just a number of administrative things that we found wrong, and basically returned the request to the committee.

Hur: Thank you.