Letter to Students from Provost Harbor, Nov. 7, 2018

Dear UM Students,

I write with an update on our work to align our instructional budget with our number of students. This is work aimed at best serving your needs as we pursue excellence and innovation for your education.

Earlier this semester, I provided academic colleges and departments across campus with new “instructional staffing budget targets” to aim for by 2021. In response to student feedback earlier this year, we asked the academic units to prioritize keeping a broad array of majors and concentrations as they developed their staffing plans.

Each of the colleges has now submitted a plan that preserves the vast majority of our academic offerings. There will be just a few programs that we will no longer offer in the future. Just under 2 percent of our current students have a declared major, minor, and/or concentration in one of these programs, and all of these students will have a guaranteed path to completion of their current degrees; we just won’t be admitting new students into the very few programs that will wind down.     

A brief summary of the proposed program changes is posted on the UM On the Rise website. If after looking at this you have specific questions about your program, please reach out to your advisor. 

While the end result of aligning our instructional budget with our current enrollment will be fewer faculty than today, UM will be investing 14 percent more instructional dollars per student than we did a decade ago when enrollment was substantially higher. We are making net reductions in faculty to match our current numbers of students, and this will include a mix of planned departures as well as hiring some new faculty. This is a three-year process, and I am confident that the plans we’re implementing are sound, practical and actionable.

I will continue to share updates regarding key decisions or milestones in this process as we move forward. As we place student success at the center of all we do, a number of exciting new initiatives for students are on the rise— this is a great time to be a student at the University of Montana.

Jon Harbor, Provost