Update from Provost Harbor - Retention, recruitment, and searches underway (10/31/19)

Dear colleagues,

I hope you are enjoying the fall season, though it feels more like winter. This is the first in a series of messages I will send in the coming weeks, to give you a better sense of the priorities and goals I am focusing on for fall 2019, in service of our longer term vision for UM On the Rise.


The hard work that faculty, staff, and students have put into undergraduate student recruitment and retention is paying off, with first year retention increasing 3 percent this fall. This is gratifying, but we are not out of the woods yet.

We are now in the 10th week of the semester, a critical period for student success and retention.

  • This is an important time to check in with students, especially first-year students, who may be struggling at this stage in the semester and on the verge of giving up. Let them know we care about their wellbeing.
  • Learn more about what you can do to support retention.


We are also in prime time for new student recruitment: you may have noticed daily recruitment updates in UM Today, and our UM recruiters have visited every high school in Montana this fall. Many of you are also going the extra mile — visiting local schools through We are Montana in the Classroom, as well as hosting students at events such as Math Day, InnovateHS and Griz for a Day.

When you talk to your friends and neighbors, especially those whose children are thinking about college, highlight unique learning experiences, like

  • the Franke Global Leadership Initiative, where students across majors address complex global issues via project-based learning experiences;
  • our top-ranking programs including Wildlife Biology, Creative Writing, and Education;
  • our Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, recognizing the extraordinary service learning and civic engagement opportunities at UM; and
  • our small student to faculty ratio that provides a high level of personal attention.

Refer a Griz connects prospective students to our recruitment team. Thank you for helping us achieve our recruitment and retention goals.

Search update

Searches are underway for dean positions in the College of Humanities & Sciences, the College of the Arts and Media, and the College of Business. Advertisements are posted on UMJobs, as well as the Chronicle of Higher Education and other national outlets. Search committees are actively seeking and contacting prospective applicants. Please reach out to your colleagues across the country and help us recruit excellent applicants to these critical positions.

Finalists for the position of Dean of the School of Pharmacy recently visited campus, and I anticipate campus visits for finalists for Executive Director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center to take place before the end of the semester. Details on candidate visits are posted in UMToday and information about recruitments is updated regularly on the Academic Hiring website.

Next week, I’ll focus on budget models and curricular innovations – additional essential parts of UM’s institutional health and future.

As always, I am open to your ideas and feedback. Please join me for informal networking at Coffee with the Provost (this happens one Friday each month in the Branch Center, and is announced on UMToday), schedule an appointment during my office hours, or email me at provost@umontana.edu. You can also now follow me on Instagram.

Warm regards,

Jon Harbor, Provost


This message was sent by the Office of the Provost to all University of Montana faculty, staff, administrators, and affiliates.