State of the University - The University of Montana
George M. Dennison
The University of Montana
26 August 2005
Good morning and a special welcome to the new faculty and staff who have joined us for the coming year. I know I speak for everyone on campus when I express our pleasure to have you as members of The University of Montana community of scholars. More importantly, I have no doubt that you will soon agree, if you do not already, that you have come to a great place made special by the people who constitute the University. We all know that a University consists of its faculty, staff, and students, not of its buildings or corporate structure. We expect a great deal of you new arrivals, since you come well qualified to make a difference.
Before discussing the State of the University, I will take a few moments to introduce the new members of the administration. I ask them to rise and remain standing, and that you hold your applause, until I have completed the short list.
Jim Foley has returned to the University as Executive Assistant to the President and University Executive Vice President. He has extensive experience in government and related areas, knows the University very well, has intimate familiarity with State and national issues and challenges, and has not missed a beat since he arrived.
Barbara Koostra, well known in the Missoula community and on campus for her earlier work, including that as Director of the Missoula Cultural Council, has assumed the position as Director of the Montana Museum of Art and Culture. Her expertise and connections in and out of the State bode well for the University and the Museum.
Eleanor Laws, formerly an administrative judge in Los Angeles specializing in employment law, has accepted the position as Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. Eleanor brings an excellent foundation of experience and expertise combined with contagious enthusiasm to her new role at the University.
Jim O’Day, formerly Director of Development for Athletics, has moved to Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Jim knows virtually everyone in Montana, on and off campus, and has the background and contacts to sustain the new momentum in Athletics.
Please join me in welcoming and wishing these persons great success in their new roles.
Our Current Situation
Over the years, the quality and responsiveness of the faculty and staff of The University of Montana have remained consistently high. I can attest personally to this constancy during my two decades of association with the University, initially as student and then as President, a change in status that I heartily recommend. As we open another year, I invite you to consider that together we must strive to maintain “a University for the 21st century,” using a phrase coined by Jim Duderstadt, former President of the University of Michigan.  I use this phrase to invoke the vision of a University:
- That derives inspiration and direction from the insight that great societies cannot exist without great universities;
- That educates students of all ages for meaningful, productive, ever-changing, engaged, and ethical lives in an increasingly interdependent and technological world;
- That applies information technology intelligently to achieve new efficiencies, enhance the quality of the education for all, and extend its resources to those in need wherever located;
- That unleashes the creativity and productivity of the faculty and staff by assuring adequate operational support, appropriate facilities, and responsive policies; and
- That acts on the premise that the availability of resources depends more on imagination, creativity, determination, and the loyalty of alumni and friends than rational funding formulae or well-disposed funding agencies.
I think this phrase conveys the vision because it most cogently captures the potential of The University of Montana in response to the changed conditions of the 21st century. The University will prosper because of the dedication and effort of the faculty, staff, and students, and the loyalty of alumni and friends. As an institution with the capacity, energy, and resolve necessary to increasing self-sufficiency, even as we remain committed to the public mission, we of The University of Montana have the opportunity to shape our own destiny if we seize it.
This year we begin a new biennium aware of having restrained tuition and fee increases below the national average for the third year in a row, while we will also sustain the effort to enhance the quality of the academic experience we promise to students. Good planning, prudent management, and efficient operations certainly contributed to this prospect. However, we must also express our appreciation to Governor Brian Schweitzer and the Montana Legislature for their work during the Session to increase the support for higher education. Although we did not get everything we requested, the General Fund appropriation for the 2007 Biennium will halt the long-term downward trend of State support. In addition, the one-time-only funds for equipment acquisition in the two-year sector, workforce development, and deferred maintenance make for a much improved situation. Finally, the additional State funds directed by the Governor to student financial assistance will help Montana families deal with a growing challenge. We appreciate this responsiveness and we recognize our responsibility to do all we can to improve the economic and social conditions within the State.
We have reason for optimism concerning enrollments as well, despite the disappointing results of Summer Session. Last year, we halted the erosion of non-resident enrollments during the Academic Year through an aggressive, innovative, and targeted recruitment strategy. At the same time, we encountered new challenges with resident enrollments. The attrition of upper division students from Fall to Spring exceeded all projections based on prior trends. Extensive analysis suggests that cost has begun to interfere with the persistence to graduation of resident students despite their own significant prior investments in their education. Frankly, we had anticipated a problem sooner or later because the cost of going to college in Montana requires a considerably larger percentage of disposable family income than in most states, a function of low income levels in Montana. But we erroneously expected to see the problem manifest itself in lower numbers of new resident freshmen rather than among upper division students. Now that we understand the problem, we have initiated a grant-loan program to identify and assist those resident students at risk of leaving. We must find a way to help them to complete their education because of their and our investments and because of our mission to educate people for meaningful and productive lives in the 21st century.
Nonetheless, we cannot ignore the entering freshmen and will use the next year to develop strategies and programs to attract more of the potential students who currently do not attend college. In Montana, only about half of the graduating high school seniors go to college, with the majority attending public schools in the State. Montana boasts one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country but has one of the lowest college attendance rates. To compound the problem, a declining percentage of high school seniors - and, therefore, declining absolute number, because the cohort group will continue to shrink until late in the next decade - take the ACT or SAT examinations. While no one knows for certain, many people argue that potential students fail to protect their options for the future because they do not believe college possible for themselves. Some commentators explain Montana’s economic situation by reference to this developing situation, i.e., an increasingly under-educated workforce combined with very low participation in continuing education programs. We have an educational mission and an obligation to change the dynamics of that situation by 1) helping a larger portion of the graduating seniors to prepare for life in the information age of the 21st century, and 2) providing responsive and timely programs so that more people obtain the education and training necessary to participate in the emerging economy.
As we plan our strategies, we must proceed on the assumption that neither the policy makers nor the Regents will sever the close nexus between enrollments and funding. We can expect and will actively assist in the revision of the funding model used by the Regents to allocate the General Fund appropriations to the several campuses, seeking to assure equitable and adequate funding bases so as to avoid program and personnel reductions. I think we can also expect the policy makers to adopt incentives to reward higher graduation rates and to encourage new programs responsive to identified State needs. In that regard, ongoing efforts to enhance our retention rate and to assist students to graduate on time will certainly help. Our students currently graduate on average after 4.88 years, while they should do so in 3.69 years, translating Academic Years into calendar years.
Thus, we must and will plan for the enrollments we think necessary, and then work creatively and thoughtfully to achieve the targeted levels, assisted by the prudent use of institutional and donated funds for scholarships and financial aid. Fortunately, we continue to receive wonderful support from generous donors for this specific purpose. As a result, The University of Montana Foundation transfers more than $3.3 million annually to the University from scholarship endowments, with another $1.8 million from program endowments, and $3 million more in current funds - excluding money to pay for the construction of facilities - for immediate expenditure, some of which also support student assistance. In addition, we dedicate a larger amount of institutional funds each year to make certain that we attain targeted enrollment levels. While we will continue to use some of the support funds to recognize merit, we will pay closer attention during the next few years to the burdens that low-income families must bear, at least until we see some change in income levels in Montana. By restraining tuition and fee increases and committing institutional and donated funds to provide assistance, we can make college possible for more prospective students while also attracting a higher portion of the most able students.
In order to fulfill the second part of our educational mission, we have collaborated with the Regents’ Workforce Development Committee to conduct a systematic and comprehensive survey of training and educational needs within the State to guide program development. During the next eighteen months, we will use this information to design training programs to get people into meaningful jobs. As mentioned, the Legislature provided some one-time-only funding for this purpose and we have the obligation to deliver, if we expect to receive more funds in the future. As we develop these programs, we must think first of the skill sets required for immediate entry into the workforce, and second of a modularized curriculum to allow people to complete certificate and degree programs later. Surely, we who claim expertise in educational design can make this strategy work. Finally, we must offer these programs on schedules that allow people in need to access them. People with need rarely have the luxury of choice; we who have choices must respond.
The survey will also identify new baccalaureate, professional, and graduate programs to foster economic development in the State and to diversify the University’s sources of financial support. As we respond to identified needs, we must act collaboratively rather than unilaterally. The individual campuses rarely have all the faculty talent and related resources needed for every program, and they must draw on the talent and resources present on other campuses. Moreover, no University can support graduate education without the assistance that comes from collaboration, partnerships, and sponsored programs. During FY 2005, the faculty of The University of Montana attracted more than $68 million in new contracts and grants to support graduate education and research on the Missoula campus, while the faculty on the Butte campus accounted for roughly another $10 million. I want to commend the faculty publicly for this remarkable record of achievement. At the same time, we must set the bar even higher and ratchet the total up to $100 million within the next two or three years. Doing so will require even more collaboration and program development.
During the last few years, we have made significant progress toward providing the facilities essential to the state-of-the-art education we promise to students. At present, we have several construction and renovation projects either ongoing or about to begin, including:
- $14 million for an addition to the Skaggs Building for the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences;
- $10 million and counting to construct Anderson Hall for the School of Journalism;
- $750,000 to refurbish the old Journalism Building for alternative but still undetermined use;
- $750,000 to complete the renovation of the research facility at Fort Missoula for the Center for Avian Science;
- $5.5 million to construct a building on the campus of The University of Montana-Helena for lease to the Commissioner of Higher Education;
- $12 million to construct a new Bio-Science Building on the campus;
- $8 million to renovate steam tunnels and lines on campus;
- $300,000 for a permanent basketball floor in the Adams Center;
- $1 million for another park-and-ride lot across the Clark Fork from the campus to serve the north side; and
- $5 million in deferred maintenance, including an elevator in the Math Building.
In addition, we have efforts in progress to assure:
- $8 million and counting to renovate and expand the School of Law Building;
- $6 million to construct a Native American Center;
- $6 million to construct an Educational Technology Center;
- $5 million to construct a facility for the Montana Museum of Art and Culture;
- $5.1 million to construct the Gilkey Center for Executive Education;
- $5 million to acquire and renovate a facility to house the Alumni-Development Center;
- $25 million from federal, State, and private sources to construct a new facility for Forestry and related State and federal agencies;
- $15-17 million to construct new facilities for the College of Technology in Missoula, probably at Fort Missoula, as our highest priority for the next Legislative Session; and
- Several million in donations and rent to redo the Sky and Press Boxes and other facilities at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.
This ambitious agenda reflects strong support from the private sector and a new State willingness to engage in partnerships as evidenced by the funds appropriated during the last Session to assist with the Law Building and Anderson Hall. We can and will deliver on our commitments.
In my address last year, I discussed the deficit in Intercollegiate Athletics and outlined the plan to eliminate it and prevent a recurrence. During the year, through the good work of the staff in Athletics and Administration and Finance, the wonderful achievements of the Grizzly teams, and strong Griz fan support, we cut the deficit nearly in half and also established a repair and maintenance fund for Athletics facilities. As a result of this excellent performance, we reduced the price for student tickets for football games to $4 and hope to eliminate the deficit completely - as well as the charge for student tickets - by FY 2007. At the same time, the student athletes represented us well and also maintained a graduation rate of more than 70 percent, well above the average rate of other universities for student athletes and that of all students at this University. I commend the Athletics staff and the coaches and student athletes for their fine performance under trying circumstances.
In late Spring, we hosted a site visit team from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities for purposes of assessing our progress in response to recommendations made in 2000 following the full review for reaffirmation of accreditation. The team complimented us for responding well to the earlier recommendations, and offered commendations for our success in stabilizing the budget and implementing outcomes assessments. I will seize this opportunity to express my appreciation for the work of the faculty on assessment. We still have much to do, as the team noted with regard to assessing outcomes in General Education. But we have come a great distance since 2000, and I have no doubt that we can now complete the necessary work before we file the requested progress report in 2008 on assessment of General Education outcomes and ongoing efforts to address deferred maintenance. As a member of the Commission for nearly eight years, I have read a great number of team reports and recommendations. We have done quite well, as the team report and Commission actions indicate, and I commend all who helped to position us for the next review.
In nearly every respect, the foregoing summary indicates that The University of Montana has prospered because of the dedication and commitment of the faculty and staff. During the last five years, we have
- Added 33 tenure-track faculty, more than 40 research faculty, and more than 200 staff;
- Developed and secured approval of six Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degrees, six Certificate Programs, two baccalaureate degrees, nine master’s degrees, and nine doctoral programs, without counting new options;
- Launched a construction boom to provide appropriate facilities, primarily academic or multi-purpose facilities;
- Stabilized the institutional budget by diversifying the revenue streams and implementing “best practices” for efficiency and effectiveness;
- Moved up in the U. S. News & World Report institutional rankings to the Third Tier;
- Stabilized and managed our enrollments, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, resident and non-resident, and of Native Americans;
- Achieved the institutional goal of awarding at least 50 doctoral degrees annually;
- Sustained and improved our faculty and staff development programs;
- Continued the growth of contract and grant awards;
- Earned very distinguished rankings for and recognition of some of our Schools and Departments, including several Departments and Centers within the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, the interdisciplinary Wildlife Biology Program, the Division of Biological Sciences, the Biological Station at Yellow Bay on Flathead Lake, the Creative Writing Program within the Department of English, the Department of Environmental Studies, the Department of Accounting and Finance, several Departments and Centers within the College of Forestry and Conservation, the Schools of Journalism and Law, University Relations, Logo Marketing, Dining Services, Disability Services, and the Center for Civic Engagement, among others; and
- Positioned The University of Montana to become “a University for the 21st Century.”
The Prospects for Public Higher Education
In each of my State of the University Addresses since 1990, I have argued that we in public higher education must recognize and adapt to an emerging financial and accountability environment vastly different from what we have known. While not yet universally accepted, this theme informed the conclusion reached by a group of Presidents and Chancellors assembled during 2004-2005 to discuss the financing and accountability of public higher education: “Current trends and priorities in funding.[public higher education] represent not simply. . . cyclical changes . . . over the last two or three decades, but structural changes that will predominate for a long time.”  As data points for reference, the portion of state funding going nationally to support public higher education declined from 7.3 percent in 1977 to 5.3 percent in 2000, and the hemorrhage has continued, amounting to a loss of more than $21 billion, while enrollments have continued to rise.  These trying conditions resulted from increasing demands on the State dollar, shrinking tax revenues, rapidly rising Medicare costs, and an escalating federal deficit signaling declines in revenue-sharing. Moreover, every analysis I have seen projects no change in this relatively bleak situation for at least the next eight years. As Dennis Jones, President of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, concluded: “All 50 states show projected deficits [by 2013, using a conservative approach], ranging from 0.5% of revenue in New Hampshire to 12.9% in Wyoming.”  Incidentally, Montana falls just above the national average on the Jones projection at a 5.8 percent deficit. What public higher education can do in response has become the question of the day.
Various states have responded differently. New Jersey and Hawaii authorized institutional self-regulation; Texas and Oklahoma de-regulated tuition setting, transferring the authority to the institutions; Ohio and Colorado experimented with vouchers to students rather than state appropriations to institutions; Oregon and Maryland introduced the “public corporation” or “state enterprise” for governance of public institutions; and Massachusetts, Illinois, North Dakota, and Virginia negotiated performance-based contracts with entire systems or specific groups of institutions. These new forms of governance and financing share several common elements: “. . . allowing market forces more sway; increased tuition and enrollment flexibility; more procedural and operational autonomy; level funding from the state . . . ; more emphasis on entrepreneurialism in generating new revenues; and the introduction of performance standards and accountability measures;” all described in the changed language of “privatization.”  The resulting posture of public institutions has them seeking “greater autonomy, often in exchange for some combination of level or reduced funding and increased accountability.” However, most institutional leaders - aside from those in some research universities and highly selective colleges and universities that typically have well funded endowments - find this a “devil’s bargain”: “Autonomy in exchange for less public support is the wrong debate and one that, if strenuously pursued, will have negative consequences for higher education and the nation.”  Perhaps true. But the question asked earlier calls for action rather than rhetorical responses.
Some Presidents argue that we must simply find ways to survive and prosper in the new environment, since the changes appear irreversible. Others urge a more strategic approach, focusing the discussion on the efficiencies and hence higher returns on investment because of the flexibility inherent in eliminating or controlling costly regulations and unfunded mandates and linking institutional initiatives to state priorities.  Of course, the first option has little appeal unless the college or university has already demonstrated its ability to develop new revenue streams, which most have not and cannot.  The second requires more effective ways to measure success and to communicate with the policy makers and the public. We in Montana have become familiar with both options in recent years, and have learned that success over the long term will undoubtedly involve a combination of the two. I think it safe to say as well that we prefer the term “self-sufficiency” - coined by President John Casteen of the University of Virginia - rather than “privatization” to describe the emerging arrangements because the former allows continued focus on the public mission. 
To explain, about five years ago we launched a public discussion in Montana about the critical importance of higher education to the State’s economic and social vitality, with specific emphasis on the development of Montana’s human resources. Some people will recall the “Alliance for Montana’s Future,” directed by a group of Montana business leaders and funded by the Foundations of several campuses, with the largest contribution from The University of Montana Foundation. While the critics doubt any benefit from the “Alliance,” I believe the campaign raised public awareness of the earlier drift toward privatization and away from public purpose. This new awareness contributed to a noticeable public willingness to support the Montana University System initiative under the rubric of Shared Leadership for a Better Montana Economy, led by Regent John Mercer and Commissioner Sheila Stearns, to promote economic development through technical and other assistance to business, industry, and State government. This multi-faceted initiative seeks to demonstrate that the Montana University System contains the intellectual power, once mobilized, to move the State into the 21st century. It strikes me that these two efforts in succession positioned us well for the 2005 Legislative Session. It also helped that the State had a relatively healthy ending fund balance available to the policy makers who used it to our benefit. Nonetheless, the successful introduction of a new vocabulary to form and shape the public dialogue about higher education has paid dividends.
During the last two or three years, we have also achieved new efficiencies in the use of available resources by implementing “best practices,” and we have worked hard to diversify and enrich existing revenue streams. While we do not yet have a “paperless” campus, we have established on-line notification and payments on account. In addition, we have begun to make better use of information technology by developing report generators, to render the data more accessible and relevant to changing needs, and facilitating the delivery of educational programs wherever needed. Diversifying and augmenting the revenue streams will require more time and creativity, but we must stay the course. The planned addition of an “Entrepreneur in Residence” at MonTEC, our joint venture with the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation located across the Clark Fork from campus, will undoubtedly stimulate technology transfer and business development. I understand the concerns of those who argue that involvement in the market and in commercialization has the potential to subvert the autonomy and independence of the University and its faculty.  Nevertheless, I believe that we can preserve our integrity and independence even as we provide needed assistance, in the grand tradition of the American research university.
One project I identified last year as a potential source of new revenue through a joint venture with a private firm to construct a planned community on University property stalled, but still has potential. Another, a joint venture with a private group to explore the delivery of accredited undergraduate instruction in China, remains on track but proceeds at a pace dictated by the Chinese. In the years ahead, we will search for other such opportunities, always mindful of the need to augment existing resources as we pursue the public mission of the University. President Larry R. Faulkner of the University of Texas, Austin, explained why we must do so in an address to the American Council on Education earlier this year: “. . . higher education is perceived by nearly everyone to be essential for individual economic viability, and its institutions are centerpieces for the national research effort and for national and local economic and social renewal.”  We can retreat behind the walls to the tower, or we can accept the ethical responsibility to serve the public interest while also identifying new sources of revenue to moderate the cost of education for students and their families. I think we must choose the latter, since our collective future depends on continued citizen access to higher education and the engagement of our colleges and universities in service to the needs of the society.
Increasingly public colleges and universities, some more than others, benefit from the generosity of alumni and friends in the private sector. The University of Montana has done well in this regard because of the work of The University of Montana Foundation, directed by a distinguished and committed group of volunteers and operated by a dedicated staff. During the current year, with the assistance of the Foundation, we identified the funds for the Craighead Chair in Wildlife Biology and a variety of ongoing projects, including many of the facilities mentioned earlier. In fact, the Foundation recorded more than $20 million in donations during the year. I cannot imagine a higher compliment or indication of greater trust and respect than the decision of a donor to give to the University. This welcome recognition and support provides the incentive to become even more productive and effective and contributes to institutional excellence in this new era.
Finally, we have demonstrated through collaboration within The University of Montana a willingness to share resources for the benefit of the four campuses and the State. Because the Missoula campus has the capability and willingness to enhance its revenue streams, we found it possible to reallocate larger shares of available State-appropriated funds to the affiliate campuses. Our reallocation has established new campus bases that will fold into the revision of the Regents’ funding model. In my view, this accomplishment exemplifies my earlier point that we must comply with the new “rules of the game” whenever possible while also pursuing constructive strategies to protect the public investments in and the public missions of all four campuses. If we collaborate academically as well as administratively, we will accomplish a great deal more collectively than we can individually. Simultaneously, we must continue the effort to educate the public and the policy makers about the investment potential of higher education. We have a great story to tell and a great deal to offer to the State. Equally true, we have much to gain by solidifying current revenue streams and generating new ones for the future.
The resultant public dialogue and strategic developmental process in Montana actually focuses on topics and directions that have dominated the national higher education agenda.  As elsewhere, in Montana we have pursued a new understanding or conceptualization of the earlier - perhaps mythical - social compact concerning public higher education in the United States.  Stated in its simplest form, the original compact expressed the felt obligation of each generation of Americans to educate the next. By keeping tuition low, limited to a couple of percent of median family income, and assuring access for all potential students qualified and motivated to benefit, the public institutions looked to the state governments for and received the financial support from tax revenues to assure responsiveness and quality. Five major state and federal initiatives helped to solidify the widespread acceptance of the compact: The 1862 act establishing land grants to the states for the support of public colleges and universities with broadened curricula; the rapid establishment of junior, technical, and community colleges with minimal tuition in the states after 1920 providing increased access and responsive programs; the G.I. Bill after World War II opening access to returning veterans to prepare them for re-entry into the workforce and setting a precedent for similar assistance to all Americans; federal funding after World War II of scientific and other research; and the Higher Education Act of 1965 further broadening access through financial aid to students, initially as grants and then as loans.  While we cannot hope to restore the social conditions of an earlier time that made the original compact credible and feasible, we can and must redefine its terms to assure the attainment of the unchanged, larger societal objectives.
To attain this goal, we must 1) re-establish a broad understanding of the multiple missions of higher education - workforce development, undergraduate and professional education, graduate education and research, and service of the public good rather than only private needs; 2) re-kindle the earlier trust by demonstrating that we serve student needs and the larger public good with full accountability; 3) help to create funding mechanisms to assure access for middle class as well as low income students by reducing the tuition and cost of attendance burden on disposable family income; 4) assist more potential students from low income families to understand that college is possible for them if they protect their options while in school; and 5) restrain rising costs through collaboration, implementation of “best practices,” and mobilization of support from the private sector.  As I have sought to demonstrate, our effort at The University of Montana has proceeded along these lines, and with good effect. Ultimate success depends upon our perseverance.
Agenda for the Year
To close, I will highlight a few priorities for the coming year.
- Finalize the reform of the General Education Program, with the emphasis on goals and objectives we can evaluate and assess in terms of learning outcomes. The site visit team identified this missing but essential component of our outcomes assessment program. In my own view, we need also to add another semester of required composition, with provision for students to place out of it.
- Assist actively - even aggressively - in the revision of the funding model and development of the biennial budget request for the Montana University System. Experience in preparing for the last Legislative Session and an improved economy augur an even better outcome this time.
- Participate actively - even aggressively - in the Regents’ Shared Leadership initiative and do all we can to promote the economic and cultural development of the State. Each of us brings different skills, talents, and interests but all can contribute to this critical work.
- Attract even more external funds to support graduate education and research, pushing the new grant award total above $75 million for FY 2006 on the Missoula campus.
- Develop and deliver through the College of Technology at least three customized training programs to get people into new jobs by January 2007, identifying the programs by reference to the survey of needs.
- Secure approval for at least three new graduate programs, including a Ph.D. in Resource Engineering jointly with the Butte campus and first-professional doctorates in Audiology and Speech Pathology.
- Seek and find the funds, with the assistance of the Foundation, to construct the new facilities listed earlier, develop the case for State support of operation and maintenance of buildings and for the College of Technology facilities, and direct available bond and State funds to critical deferred maintenance projects.
- Raise more private funds, with the assistance of the Foundation, to support endowments for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, with emphasis on the latter, and identify institutional funds for more need-based aid for resident undergraduate students.
- Increase the number of enrolled Native American students by 100, enrolled international students by 100, and undergraduate students studying abroad by 150.
- Become even more efficient and effective in the use of available resources for academic programs, specifically by developing for approval a 2+2 engineering program with the Butte campus and a nursing baccalaureate for delivery in Helena and Missoula.
- Make the campus even more user-friendly for potential and current students and others seeking our services.
- Review and revise our marketing and branding strategies to position the University competitively.
- Identify and implement at least two more “best practices” for efficiency and effectiveness.
I will conclude by thanking the continuing faculty and staff for their dedication and excellent work, and by challenging the newcomers to make a difference immediately. With each of us committed to achieving the vision, we simply cannot fail. I look forward to working together for the continued development of The University of Montana. Have a great year, and enjoy it as you do!
 See American Council on Education, Shifting Ground: Autonomy, Accountability, and Privatization in Public Higher Education (Washington, D.C.: ACE, 2004): at 4; American Council on Education, Peering Around the Bend: The Leadership Challenges of Privatization, Accountability, and Market-based State Policy, (Washington, D.C.: ACE, 2005): passim., esp. 4-6; David W. Breneman, “For Colleges: This Is Not Just Another Recession,” Chronicle of Higher Education (14 June 2002): B7; George M. Dennison, “Privatization: An Unheralded Trend in Public Higher Education,” The Montana Professor 12 (#3; Fall 2002): 10-14; and Graham B. Spanier, “The Privatization of American Public Higher Education,” (University Faculty Senate Presentation, The Pennsylvania State University, Spring 2004), passim
 American Council on Education, Bridging Troubled Waters: Competition, Cooperation, and the Public Good in Independent and Public Higher Education (Washington, D.C.: ACE, 2005), at 5, and Peering Around the Bend, at 4.
 American Council on Education, Rewriting the Rules of the Game: State Funding, Accountability, and Autonomy in Public Higher Education (Washington, D.C.: ACE, 2004), at 4; and Peering Around the Bend, at 7-11.
 Derek Bok, Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2003), passim.; Sheila Slaughter and Larry L. Leslie, Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies, and the Entrepreneurial University (Baltimore & London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), passim.; and Vartan Gregorian, “Leading Today’s Colleges and Universities: Challenges and Opportunities,” The Presidency 8(#2; Spring 2005): 29-33, at 30.