Community Members, Organizations Invited to Open Forum on University Design

MISSOULA – The University of Montana is eager to hear what Montanans think about how UM can better serve community, business and statewide needs to realize its vision of becoming a flagship for the future.

The University Design Team, a committee created this spring by UM President Seth Bodnar, is charged with delivering strategic recommendations that chart direction for UM’s long-term success and impact. This includes gathering input from stakeholders across the state.

The public is invited to a free one-hour Zoom forum that seeks to garner community input and feedback on the ways the University can innovate to better deliver on its mission for continued relevance and national prominence. The forum will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, July 24. Participants are encouraged to register for the session at and complete a brief survey at before attending.

“At this early stage in our process, it’s critically important we hear from our external constituencies and listen to their perspectives about the UM of the future,” said Paul Gladen, co-chair of the UDT and director of UM’s Blackstone LaunchPad. “Our community members are strongly encouraged to share their ideas and feedback about UM’s future.”

Building upon recent strategic planning at UM and drawing upon the perspectives of public stakeholders that include statewide community leaders, business and nonprofit leaders, admitted students and prospective students, the UDT will identify design principles and potential strategies to position the University for thoughtful change, impact and continued relevance. The team is expected to deliver a set of recommendations to President Bodnar sometime this fall.

“A public university can only fulfill its mission if it’s adapting to the broader needs and demands of the stakeholder it serves,” said Adrea Lawrence, dean of UM’s Phyllis J. Washington College of Education. “A central priority of the committee is transparency with our community and state, and we encourage anyone with an interest in what the future of UM could look like to join us.”

Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and rapid changes in higher education and technology, the UDT ultimately is tasked with delivering a strategic vision for Montana’s flagship research institution – one that serves students of the future and parlays UM’s people, programs and places into national prominence. The committee represents a cross-section of campus personnel and disciplines and includes student representation.

For more information on the UDT visit


Contact: Paul Gladen, University Design Team co-chair, Blackstone LaunchPad and Accelerate Montana director, 406-396-3534,; Adrea Lawrence, University Design Team co-chair, UM Phyllis J. Washington College of Education dean, 406-243-5054,