ITEM 128-1002-R0705                Approval of a new Paleontology Center and Field Station; The University of Montana-Missoula

 

THAT:                                       In accordance with Montana University System Policy, the Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes The University of Montana-Missoula to create a University of Montana Paleontology Center and a Fort Peck Field Station.

 

EXPLANATION:                        Establishment of this Center will strengthen paleontology research and education in the Inland Empire region and the State of Montana, given the variety of fossil groups in the UM collection. Specifically, it will expand the teaching in paleontology and the research and teaching opportunities based on the collections of fossils. Within the present UM paleontology facility, there is a fossil preparation lab and a world-class research collection.  Holdings represent the fossil heritage of the State of Montana as well as other places in North America and the world.  The facility attracts researchers from the U.S. and abroad.  The facility was started in 1895 with a grant from the Smithsonian Institution.  Research publications based on the collection started in 1899 and, to date, the bibliography list includes nearly 300 scientific papers that are based on the fossil holdings.  The current collection has over 100,000 specimens of vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants (includes 1000 type-specimens either illustrated or representing a new taxon).

 

There are four primary objectives associated with creation of UMPC:  1.  To give State, national and international recognition to this unit of The University of Montana, which has contributed to world-wide education and science for so many years; 2.  to expand the educational and research components of the Montana University System;  3.  to have a recognizable and specifically designated “Center” for bringing funds to the University (grants, contracts, donations, etc.) and for attracting students (both traditional and non-traditional) and visiting scholars; and 4.  to provide an administrative unit for the Fort Peck Field Station, which will be created in the Glasgow Region of Montana.