Message From The Vice President

Scott Whittenburg, UM vice president for research and creative scholarship
Welcome to this winter issue of Vision, the magazine that celebrates the vast range of research and creative scholarship by University of Montana faculty and students.

Our cover story describes how faculty in the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences are working to help children and families affected by autism. Other features highlight faculty work with Native communities, work to save Montana’s state fish, studies of immune system-related disorders resulting from environmental pollutants, a new product for legal information and a study showing the effect of predatory wolves on cattle herds in Western Montana. We also offer a conversation with a student researcher who was part of a project using wildlife cameras to film grizzlies in Alberta (Monte was NOT included in the filming) and a fascinating story about a UM doctoral student and Iraqi War veteran who has become a modern-day “Monuments Man.”

As mentioned in the last Vision, UM continues on a path to become one of the nation’s top-tier research universities — a Carnegie Foundation Research Very High Activity University — and to demonstrate the value of our research and graduate education efforts to the residents of Montana. Last year, we made great strides in increasing the amount of externally funded research at UM.

In May, we announced the largest research award in the University’s history, a $45 million, five-year award with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Under the agreement, UM will help the Corps study and solve environmental and cultural resource problems across the nation. Then in September, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that Missoula College was awarded a $15 million grant to be shared with a consortium of Montana colleges and universities to address health care workforce development in the state.

In October, the National Institute of Justice awarded a three-year, $3.3 million grant for “Developing Knowledge About What Works to Make Schools Safe” to Bozeman Public Schools, UM and other partners. Finally, in October a team led by UM researcher Frank Rosenzweig was selected for a five-year, $8.2 million NASA grant to study how life evolved and became more complex on Earth, as well as to join the NASA Astrobiology Institute. UM geosciences Professor Nancy Hinman was announced as a co-principal investigator on a similar award to the SETI program.

In addition to a dramatic increase in the number of federal awards UM has received, we also have made great strides in technology transfer, entrepreneurship and economic development. Look for those stories in future issues of UM’s research publications — Vision and Research View.

We share more of our activities and accomplishments online. Be sure to follow our Facebook page at, our Twitter account at and my blog at Help us spread the word about how UM enhances all our lives by increasing knowledge, economic development and regional culture. And Go Griz!

Scott Whittenburg
UM Vice President for Research and Creative Scholarship

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