Special Meeting of the Academic & Student Affairs Committee

of the Montana Board of Regents

Via Telephone Conference Call

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

11:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Room 102B, Higher Education Building

Helena, Montana

 

In attendance were Regents Lynn Morrison-Hamilton, Richard Roehm, Mike Foster, and Kala French; representatives from campuses in Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, Butte, Dillon, Bozeman, Havre, Billings, and Kalispell; Angie Grove and Misty Wallace from the Legislative Audit Division; Commissioner Sheila Stearns; OCHE staff Roger Barber, Cathy Swift and Cathy Doyle; and members of the press.

 

Regent Lynn Morrison-Hamilton called the meeting to order shortly after 11:15 a.m.

 

I.              Review and Adopt Agenda.

Regent Roehm moved to adopt the agenda as drafted. Motion carried.

 

II.            The Transfer Audit.

Commissioner Stearns began with some comments about the audit. Previous to the legislative audit, the primary source of information regarding students’ transfer experiences was the annual student transfer survey, which showed that approximately 90% of transfer students were satisfied. The in-depth analysis of the performance audit brought to light some new issues. Commissioner Stearns expressed gratitude to Angie Grove and other members of the audit staff for their thorough work in collecting and analyzing new data beyond the scope of the Commissioner’s office. Commissioner Stearns stressed the need to develop a work plan to address the issues identified in the audit, and to proceed with speed previously unknown in academe.

 

Regent Roehm commented that the tone should be not one of a hurdle to surmount, but of beginning to work for positive and long-lasting programs to benefit students. He recommended that a group be formed to review the successful programs in other states, including Florida, Colorado, California, Minnesota and an Ohio/Arizona partnership.

 

Regent Foster added that the need to move quickly on addressing the audit’s recommendations relates, in the eyes of some legislators, to funding issues. He recommended a July 1 deadline.

 

Regent French reiterated the correlation regarding funding, and recommended a short timeline.

              

A.            Discussion of a Possible Response and Work Plan for the Board of Regents.

Roger Barber had shared a first draft of a proposed work plan with the Regents prior to the meeting, and he requested feedback on how to proceed. He suggested forming small workgroups with one person serving as the “push.” Although the groups would be small, they would be expected to communicate with interested parties, including faculty leadership. Under the proposed work plan, policy recommendations would go to the Regents at the March or May meetings of the Board.

 

Roger suggested the following “push” people:

Recommendation 1, system of controls, Cathy Swift (OCHE)

Recommendation 2, transfer data, Jim Rimpau, MSU-Bozeman

Recommendation 4, AAS degrees, Arlene Parisot, OCHE

Recommendation 5a, outdated coursework, Laurie Neils, OCHE

Recommendation 6, LPN degrees, Roger Barber, OCHE

 

Roger had not yet identified people to take on Recommendations 3 (general ed core), 5b (transfer GPA), and 5c (minimum grades), but suggested that the regents take leadership on the general ed core.

 

Marlene Stoltz and Faith Hodges from Flathead Valley Community College volunteered to be the “push” for the transfer GPA (5b), and will work with Roger and Regent French on this item. Regent Morrison-Hamilton will take both the general ed core (number 3) and the minimum course grade (5c).

 

There were several volunteers to serve on various workgroups. Roger asked that each campus send him a list of names by the end of the week. He’ll choose members with a variety of representation, within the limits of the small group format, by next week’s meeting.

 

Roger has developed some ideas regarding each of the recommendations, and will share those with the Steering Committee (the “push” people) as a starting place. Lois Muir, and her chief academic officer colleagues from the University of Montana system, have come up with some ideas and Roger said he will distribute these as well. The hope is to have policy recommendations for the March Board of Regents meeting for the system of controls, outdated coursework, and the minimum course grade.

 

Regent Morrison-Hamilton expressed concern about data, and wondered what information would be available from the audit process. There is a need to determine what data the Board will need to assess the new policies.

 

Angie Grove noted that both global data and data relating to each individual recommendation will be needed. This may be difficult to address because not all campuses have the same sort of data. Some are using Banner (the community colleges don’t use it) and those that do, don’t use it in the same way.

 

Angie has provided Roger with a disk containing the auditors’ work papers that can be shared with the work groups. She cautioned, however, that the data must be viewed in the context of the audit team’s work. The file reviews represented by the spreadsheets are not meant to be an audit of individual campuses; comments are more prolific on the first campuses visited as issues were initially identified. In addition, the spreadsheets are only one component of the review. Confidential interviews are not included in the work papers.

 

B.            Discussion of a Possible Item for the Board at Its January Meeting.

Regent Roehm noted that buy-in from those doing the work, including faculty, will be needed for success. He also pointed out that the transfer issue is not only a lateral but also a vertical one, relating to K-20. Roger will draft an additional bullet addressing this with assistance from Regent Roehm.

 

Discussion turned to the need to get faculty up to speed, to convey a sense of urgency and to encourage their involvement. Roger will contact the head of the faculty representative group. The faculty breakfast at next week’s Regents meeting will also provide an opportunity for the regents to encourage involvement. Mark Krank, chair of the Faculty Senate at Western, wanted the group to know that the transfer audit has been under discussion on his campus even during the break. 

 

In response to a question regarding establishing a secure website location for sharing information, Roger responded that staff limitations, especially during the legislative session, make this unlikely.

 

More frequent meetings of the ASA Committee, via conference call, will be set up, as proposals from each work group are available for review.

 

Regent Roehm offered to accumulate information regarding websites that will be useful to the working groups, especially relating to other states’ work on transfer of credit.

 

III.     Public Comment.

Regent Morrison-Hamilton called for public comment; there was none.

 

Regent Roehm moved to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried. The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.

 

Submitted by Cathy Doyle