TO: Members of the Montana Board of Regents
FROM: Roger Barber
RE: Issues for the Board’s Consideration
DATE: October 13, 2004
Sheila asked me to prepare a brief “. . .summary or outline. . .of the primary issues for which guidance is needed from the Board for short and long-term planning. . .” The following list of issues is prepared, in response to that request:
1) Is the Board satisfied with the current process for development of academic programs?
· Particularly in light of the budget situation in Montana?
· And especially with a funding formula that appears to discourage collaboration and campus specialization?
2) What kind of coordination or collaboration does the Board expect with
similar academic programs?
· Are articulation agreements enough?
· Or should the System move to a common curriculum, a common set of
core courses, common competencies, common course numbers, etc? Like the model proposed for LPN programs?
· Should the Board mandate that kind of action? If so, what should be the criteria for selection of programs?
3) What kind of systematic approach does the Board expect in the area of
student support services?
· Under the current model, most procedures are campus-specific and,
therefore, have to be duplicated on each campus. For example, under the current system, a student almost always has to create an individual and original admissions file at every campus that he/she
might attend. Is that a good model?
· Would a more systematic approach require a more centralized operation? Or is a “shared information” model a better way to go?
· Are there some areas where system-wide protocols and procedures would be beneficial? alleged crimes on campus? common definitions and protocols for student disabilities? risk management issues?
4) What MUS collaborations are important to the Board of Regents?
· Several are already in place. I.E., Shared Leadership, P-20, Indian Education for All, healthcare industry, workforce development models, teacher education. Are there others?
· All of those collaborations are important. But by their very nature, they are time-consuming, inefficient, difficult to sustain and nurture, and fragile.
· As a consequence, only a handful can be maintained at any one time by the current staff in OCHE, so what are the Board’s priorities?
5) Does the Board have an overarching philosophy or perspective on
· The pending Transfer Audit may give some guidance.
· But does the Board have expectations and directions on this issue? Does the Board have a vision for where it wants to end up on this issue?
· Especially when it looks at transfer between the two-year and four-
· What role should the faculty leadership and the System academic officers have in the decisions that are made on this issue?
6) Should the Board conduct periodic review of its policies?
· How does it know if they still work, if it doesn’t do that kind of review? How might it conduct that review? A good, current example would be System admissions policies.
· How does it avoid “policy development by crisis?”
· In a similar vein, what kind of information or reports does the Board want to receive, in the academic and student affairs area? Is the Board getting the right information now?
7) Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the overarching question is
“what kind of system do you envision for the Montana University System?”
· Are you satisfied with the bifurcated, aligned, free-to-choose collaboration that possibly describes our current System?
· Or do you envision something more structured and coordinated? If it is the latter, what pieces and parts should be more coordinated?
8) In considering all of these possibilities, I think it is very important to set priorities, so both the staff in the Commissioner’s office and all of the campuses know what they should be working on.
· Speaking only for myself, I’m not sure I know what the Board’s priorities are in the academic and student affairs area, and I’d appreciate some direction.
· I have posed several important, but also massive, questions that could result in projects that swamp everyone.
· And, although it is self-serving, the size of the staff in the Commissioner’s office is a significant constraint as you consider the answers to most of these questions.