Priorities for Action

5 Priorities for Action Slide

Priority 1: Place Student Success at the Center of All We Do

In all of our decisions and actions, we will put the success of our students first. We will renew our intense focus on student retention, persistence, and success through graduation and beyond. We will be a model institution for effective and comprehensive support for the success of our students.

  • We increased our retention rate by 3%.
  • We revamped new student orientation to include the Big Sky Experience and a week of introduction that better positions students to persist and succeed.
  • We hired additional professional advisors.
  • We are re-designing the advising process to ensure a consistent, high-quality experience for every student and to allow faculty members more time to act as mentors.
  • We are implementing EAB Navigate, which will allow us to better track our students’ progress and needs, and which will more proactively provide for supportive interventions.
  • We launched Montana Project 10, which provides tailored and proven support to Pell-eligible students.
  • We established the Office of Experiential Learning and Career Success to bring together some of our most important out-of-the-classroom efforts to prepare students for future careers.

Priority 2: Drive Excellence and Innovation in Teaching, Learning, and Research

This is at the core of what we do as an institution. And we owe it to ourselves, to our students, and to the public to ensure that our curriculum and pedagogy continue to evolve and adapt to best prepare our students for a dynamic, uncertain world. We also will ensure that the Communities of Excellence come to life as interdisciplinary learning and research communities.

  • We launched the Teaching Excellence Initiative, which has drawn the interest of faculty from across disciplines.
  • We are growing our UM Online offerings.
  • We have grown summer enrollment and are building new summer programs for not only current students but also prospective students.
  • We developed new pathways for students to access a UM education. To name just a few, we’ve developed an academic pathway for Helena College students to complete a paralegal studies program at Missoula College, a pre-med pathway that will be advertised more broadly, and better advertised and refreshed engineering pathways.
  • We developed a robust partnership with ATG/Cognizant to offer the All-In Missoula program, which graduated 54 students in two cohorts of a 12-week training program that was jointly designed by ATG and our business faculty. Every single one of these graduates immediately transitioned into high-paying, local technology jobs.
  • We launched the Tech Skills for Tomorrow initiative, which emphasizes the importance of university-industry partnerships as we prepare students for careers of the future.
  • We kept pace with the record number of research proposals in the previous year, and our total dollar value of funding requested continues to increase.
  • We set a new record for UM with $90.6M in research expenditures, following an effort to update our procedures for reporting.
  • We are pursuing a feasible path to the highest category of Carnegie classifications, a Research Very High Activity or R1 institution.

Priority 3: Embody the principle of “Mission First, People Always"

We must acknowledge the absolutely fundamental role of people in making this institution successful. While the word “institution” evokes images of buildings and grounds, the reality is that our people are this institution. Our campus community has identified the need for a cabinet-level position that focuses on our people’s growth and learning, and specifically on the fostering of a diverse and inclusive campus. Our campus community will work together to finalize what that position looks like to ensure that we have a diverse, supportive, and inclusive community in which all of our team members can reach their full potential.

  • We hosted our first CelebrateU, a week of professional development, and we are in the process of institutionalizing this effort.
  • We created an Office of Organizational Learning and Development to address an unacceptable gap in professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.
  • We are in the process of hiring a new employee training professional.
  • We launched the S.E.A. Change initiative and are in the process of designing a new S.E.A. Change program for undergraduate students, funded by a generous gift. As a part of the S.E.A. Change effort, we relaunched the Women’s Leadership Initiative and welcomed a cohort of 12 talented women, we established a series of salary negotiation workshops for all students and employees, we performed an external review of campus efforts, and we released a S.E.A. Change podcast series.
  • We hired a Tribal Outreach Specialist and hosted five tribal college presidents on campus.
  • We invested new resources in the Student Advocacy Resource Center, Disability Student Services, and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.
  • We are in the process of designing a new role focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Priority 4: Partner with Place

Our students – and this entire community – benefit tremendously from the ways in which we partner with the City of Missoula and the State of Montana to deliver educational outcomes and positive impacts on our community. We will actively encourage campus engagement in this community and in the surrounding region, and we will work to build upon these partnerships.

  • We worked in partnership with the community to plan a UM Community Lab at the new Missoula Public Library where visitors and youth will engage with research faculty.
  • We moved several of our President’s Lecture Series events to the Wilma, where we have had overflow crowds at each lecture.
  • We developed a robust partnership with ATG/Cognizant to offer the All-In Missoula program, which graduated 54 students in two cohorts of a 12-week training program that was jointly designed by ATG and our business faculty. Every single one of these graduates immediately transitioned into high-paying, local technology jobs.
  • We had 584 students participate in an internship last year, earning over $600,000 in wages, with many of those students being offered employment at their internship sites.
  • We had 3,132 students contribute 103,934 hours of service to the community through 115 partner organizations, creating $2.6M in economic impact.
  • We are in the process of developing a new approach to internships through communities of practice that support the colleges in connecting students to internships in the community.

Priority 5: Proudly tell the UM story

We are an institution the world needs to know about. Not just to bring new students here, but also to ensure that people understand the incredible work that happens every day on this campus and the transformative impact UM has on its students. We are going to be forceful and persistent in proudly telling UM’s story – the story our students, faculty, and staff are writing every day.

  • We surpassed our Campaign Montana goal, raising over $400M in private support with a full year left in the campaign.
  • We established new alumni chapters.
  • We launched a functioning CRM and significantly improved communication flows with prospective students.
  • We are acting upon market research for best-fit students and new recruitment markets, and our new marketing and communication flows emphasize a renewed brand and message, targeting not just middle and high school students but also parents, guidance counselors and teachers/coaches.
  • We have established a new Welcome Center in Gilkey, and we set up a Student Enrollment Communication Center to perform national outreach to students via text and instant message.