TO: Board of Regents
FROM: Dr. Ronald P. Sexton
Chancellor, Montana State University-Billings
RE: Campus Report for the September, 2000, Board of Regents’ Meeting
· As of September 7, 2000, MSU-Billings has students from across Montana registered for 1,713 student credit hours on-line. This represents the enrollment in 39 Internet courses offered Fall Semester 2000.
· MSU-Billings has made it possible for a student anywhere in Montana to complete the 30 credit, transferable, MUS General Education Core as well as the MSU-Billings 37-credit core completely online.
· MSU-Billings currently has two complete undergraduate degree programs on-line, the Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies (BSLS) and the Bachelor of Arts in Communication. The University graduated its first two on-line students in May (degree completion in the BSLS). Both students came to the campus for the first time to walk across the stage and receive their degrees during Commencement 2000.
· MSU-Billings received $4,510,376 in grant funding support for the year 2000, which represents an increase of 144% over the 1999 total.
· The Gates Millennium Scholarship Fund for minorities has awarded three Montana State University-Billings students grants between three and six thousand dollars for fall semester 2000. The students, Ailyn Perez-Osorio, a biology major; Graciela Soto, a Spanish teaching major; and Joni Ackerman, a Sociology major, are second and third year undergraduate students. It is a great honor to have three MSU-Billings students chosen to receive this prestigious scholarship.
· The campus has received the exciting news that Montana State University-Billings has been selected to receive the 2000 Business/Industry Award for not-for-profit business by the Billings Area Chamber of Commerce. Since 1993, the Business/Industry Awards have been a part of the Chamber’s efforts to increase awareness of the success of member businesses, their economic impact to the community and area, and community stewardship. Announcement of the award was made on campus at a small ceremony on Friday, September 8, to the campus and a group of community leaders. Presentation of the award took place at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting held on Tuesday, September 12, 2000.
· Montana’s first Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities was held on the MSU-Billings campus July 24-28, 2000. Student delegates, chosen through a statewide competition, participated in this unique career leadership training program for high school juniors and seniors with disabilities. Successful men and women with disabilities served as role models to help youth realize their abilities and explore personal leadership and career plans. This successful forum was made possible by a grant from the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and a group of sponsors, including the Montana Center on Disabilities, Montana Independent Living Council, Montana’s Promise, St. Vincent Hospital, MSU-Billings Disability Support Services, Exxon, the Office of Public Instruction, Met Transit, the Summit Independent Living Center, and the Montana Independent Living Project.
· The ASPIRE Conference entitled “Opportunity the Promise of TRIO” (Services to Disadvantaged Students) will be held October 21-25, 2000, at the Holiday Inn in Billings. Conference organizers are expecting 350 educators from Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
· Ongoing retention initiatives at MSU-Billings for Fall 2000 are as follows:
1. Evening College and evening student services office/Book Depot “Link” constructed and opened to provide support services and supplies to students after 5:00 p.m.
2. Training in retention techniques is offered to part-time faculty prior to the start of each semester.
3. All students participating in orientation take the “My Vocational Situation” instrument. Those for whom the instrument indicates a need for career counseling are then contacted by the Career Services Office and invited for individual counseling as well as made aware of seminar offerings that might be of special interest to them.
4. The entire Student Opportunity Services Program is designed to support and retain the 250 students who are eligible for services.
5. Disability Support Services provides various programs and services designed to help retain disabled students.
6. Academic Program Worksheets for all majors, minors, and degree programs are provided to all new students to help them navigate their college course.
7. Assignment of an academic advisor in the Advisement Center for each new student. Expanded advisor availability on an appointment or walk-in basis fifty-two weeks per year with special focus on freshmen, sophomore, and transfer students.
8. Multicultural Student Services Coordinator contacts all ethnically diverse students and provides support and assistance to them when appropriate. He also acts as a liaison between American Indian students and tribal elders during the student’s transition to the institution.
9. Multicultural Student Services provides tutorial support for ethnically diverse students who are not served by Student Opportunity Services.
10. The residence halls have an Academic Support Program that offers a reduced room rate for juniors and seniors with high grade point averages in exchange for tutorial services for at-risk resident students.
11. Upward Bound helps retain prospective students by preparing 100 high school students from Billings and surrounding communities for college. Usually, fifty percent of each year’s Upward Bound graduating class attends MSU-Billings.
12. New graduate student advisor/mentoring program.
13. Host/support MSU-Northern Veterans Upward Bound program.
14. Faculty Advisor Training Program, ongoing, provided by staff in the Student Advisement and Support Center.
15. Concentrated math, English, and writing skills assessment and placement program.
16. A new notification letter has been developed, encouraging students who have been dropped for failure to pay fees to see their advisor and to return to school during the following semester.