Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education

MINUTES

January 23-24, 1997

Conference Room 102

Montana Higher Education Complex

2500 Broadway

Helena, Montana

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

ACADEMIC/STUDENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

ADMINISTRATIVE/BUDGET COMMITTEE

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

REGENTS PRESENT: Jim Kaze (Chairman), Paul Boylan, Colleen Conroy, Pat Davison, Mike Green, and Margie Thompson; Interim Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Crofts

REGENTS ABSENT: Kermit Schwanke (Excused)

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

THURSDAY, JANUARY 23, 1997

Chairman Jim Kaze called the regular meeting of the Board of Regents to order at 11:00 a.m. Roll call showed a quorum was present.

After clarification of a sentence on page 13, Regent Pat Davison moved that the Board approve the minutes from the November 21-22, 1996 regular meeting as mailed to Board members. The motion passed unanimously.

CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS

Staff Items

a. ITEM 94-1000-R0197--Staff; The University of Montana--Missoula (including addendum)

b. ITEM 94-1500-R0197--Staff; Montana Tech of The University of Montana

c. ITEM 94-1500A-R0197--Staff; Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology

d. ITEM 94-1600-R0197--Staff; Western Montana College of The University of Montana

e. ITEM 94-1900-R0197--Staff; Helena College of Technology of The University of Montana

f. ITEM 94-2000-R0197--Staff; Montana State University--Bozeman

g. ITEM 94-2001-R0197--Retirement of Dr. Gerald L. Westesen, Professor of Agricultural Engineering, Civil Engineering; Montana State University--Bozeman

h. ITEM 94-2300-R0197--Staff; Agricultural Experiment Station

i. ITEM 94-2400-R0197--Staff; Extension Service

j. ITEM 94-2700-R0197--Staff; Montana State University--Billings

Capital Construction Items

a. ITEM 94-1601-R0197--Authorization to Renovate Main Hall Auditorium; Western Montana College of The University of Montana

b. ITEM 94-2002-R0197--Authorization to Replace the Roof on the 1939 Addition to the Strand Union Building; Montana State University--Bozeman

c. ITEM 94-2003-R0197--Authorization to Install a New Athletic Floor over the Existing Floor in the Shroyer Gymnasium of the Marga Hosaeus H&PE Complex; Montana State University--Bozeman

d. ITEM 94-2004-R0197--Authorization to Remodel the Weed Science Building and the USDA Rangeland Insect Lab Building for a Safety and Risk Management Facility; Montana State University--Bozeman

Regent Davison moved that the Board approve all items on the Consent Agenda (both Staff and Capital Construction), including the amended addendum to ITEM 94-1000-R0197. The motion passed unanimously.

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

STUDENT REPORTS

The Board heard reports from Jim McCray, MAS/ASMSU President; Jason Thielman, ASUM President; Chris Veis, ASMT President; Kris Copenhaver, ASMSU--Billings President; and Kyle Leeds, ASMSU--Northern President.

Return to Top

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

COMMITTEE REPORTS

ACADEMIC/STUDENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

The Academic and Student Affairs Committee met at 9:00 a.m. in Conference Room 102A of the Higher Education Complex at 2500 Broadway in Helena. Committee members present included Regents Pat Davison (chair), Margie Thompson, and Mike Green. Chairman Kaze asked Regent Davison to present the committee's report to the full Board.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The following Level I changes were approved by the Commissioner's Office (January 23, 1997 memo to Board of Regents from Interim Deputy Commissioner of Academic Affairs Stuart Knapp on file):

a. The University of Montana--Missoula

Title change: Option C of undergraduate program in Psychology from "Technician Emphasis" to "Behavior Specialist."

b. Montana State University--Billings

Offer a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Miles City and Glendive in cooperation with Miles Community College and Dawson Community College.

Offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Studies in Miles City and Glendive in cooperation with Miles Community College and Dawson Community College.

Change the name of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures to Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. This change requires no additional cost or resource investment, and there is no programmatic impact on other Montana University System institutions.

c. Statewide Core Curriculum and Community College Transfer Guide

As part of the phase two general education transfer policy, the Statewide Core Curriculum and Community College Transfer Guide, first published in 1993-94, will be revised and updated. The project is anticipated to be completed by June 1997. The materials for the update have been received and will be returned to the campuses for final approval before publication of the revised guide.

d. Report on Credit by Examination (see tables attached to Stuart Knapp's memo)

These data represent the total number of students and credits earned by examination, which could include advanced placement (AP), college level examination program (CLEP), and challenge exams.

Regent Davison noted that the committee received an updated Academic Program Inventory dated January 23, 1997 (on file).

Interim Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs Stuart Knapp reported on an analysis he prepared for the legislature in regard to program eliminations. The analysis covered the Board's Level II approvals for 1995 and 1996. The 38 new programs on that list were contrasted with 54 programs that had been eliminated in the program review process. Of those 38, nearly 76% were two-year programs in two-year schools, which reflected the transition since the restructuring.

CONSENT AGENDA/NOTICE OF INTENT

a. Notice of Intent--Authorization for the College of Engineering, Montana State University--Bozeman, and Montana Tech of The University of Montana to Offer a Master's of Project Engineering and Management

b. Notice of Intent--Approval of Proposal to Implement the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Process Plant Technology; Montana State University--Billings, College of Technology

Regent Davison said the joint effort between Montana State University--Bozeman and Montana Tech of The University of Montana reflected tremendous collaboration and indicated they were moving in the right direction.

The Board concurred with the committee's recommendation to move Notices of Intent a. & b. to the Consent Agenda/Submission at the March 27-28, 1997 meeting in Helena.

NOTICE OF INTENT

a. Notice of Intent--Approval of Proposal to Create a New Doctoral Degree in Wildlife Biology; The University of Montana--Missoula

Regent Davison said this proposal had generated a good discussion between both universities. The issue was how to best deliver the degree. They had a degree coming forward from the Missoula campus, and MSU--Bozeman was saying that perhaps they already had a degree of that nature. However, The University of Montana--Missoula wanted to proceed with the degree. Regent Davison said Dr. Knapp would work with both campuses to explore other alternatives. Although the proposal was at the intent stage, the committee recommended it be moved to the submission level with the understanding that both campuses would work toward coming up with a viable proposal.

b. Notice of Intent--Approval of Proposal to Initiate a New Instructional Program Leading to a Master's Degree in Technical Communications; Montana Tech of The University of Montana and The University of Montana--Missoula

Regent Davison said this proposal had been expanded to include the campuses of both Montana Tech and The University of Montana--Missoula. He referred the Regents to the replacement item (on file) that indicated inclusion of the Missoula campus.

c. Notice of Intent--Authorization to Offer a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration; Montana State University--Bozeman and Montana State University--Billings

d. Notice of Intent--Authorization to Offer a Master's in Health Administration; Montana State University--Bozeman and Montana State University--Billings

Regent Davison said this was a joint effort between the Bozeman and Billings campuses to provide a degree in health administration. However, The University of Montana--Missoula, through its MBA program, would also be coming forward with a degree in health administration. He said the committee had discussed the challenge this presented to make sure the program was delivered in a manner that would best serve the people of Montana.

George Dennison, President of The University of Montana, said the MBA program would continue to be an accredited business program, so this would simply be a track within it.

Chairman Kaze said he agreed with efforts to study all possibilities for collaboration first. He thought that possibility needed to be eliminated before they authorized two separate degrees for the same program, no matter how different they appeared.

e. Notice of Intent--Authorization for the School of Architecture to Replace the Current 5-Year, 150 Semester Credit Bachelor of Architecture Degree with (1) a 4-Year, 120 Semester Credit Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design Degree and (2) a Subsequent 1-Year, 30 Semester Credit Master of Architecture Degree; Montana State University--Bozeman

Regent Davison said this was currently a five-year bachelor degree. The proposal was requesting a four-year bachelor degree with another year for a master's degree. He said this would allow the student to be more marketable and provided some flexibility within interdisciplinary degrees. It also reflected changes and directions within the architectural profession.

f. Notice of Intent--Approval of Proposal to Implement the Theoretical Mathematics Option within the Bachelor of Science Major in Mathematics; Montana State University--Billings

Regent Davison said this option was part of the phase two consolidation of programs within Mathematical Sciences at MSU--Billings that included elimination of the BA major, BS extended major, and BSED extended teaching major in Mathematics. This option would in part replace all three of those eliminated programs.

g. Notice of Intent--Proposal to Establish the Associate of Arts and Sciences Degree to Replace Both the AA and AS Degrees; Flathead Valley Community College

Following discussion, the Board concurred with the committee's recommendation to move Notices of Intent a. through g. to the submission agenda at the March 1997 meeting.

SUBMISSION AGENDA

a. ITEM 94-2005-R0197--Authorization to Establish the Bison and Wildlife Health Center; Montana State University--Bozeman

Regent Davison said this would authorize MSU--Bozeman to expand and rename its Center for Bison Studies as the Bison and Wildlife Health Center.

President Dennison said he would have some questions about expansion into all of wildlife.

Michael Malone, President of Montana State University, pointed out it was a name change and expansion, but not an expansion to all wildlife issues. Rather, the focus was on wildlife health issues, especially the interface between wildlife health and domestic livestock.

Chairman Kaze noted the item was on submission and expected any concerns or questions to be resolved prior to the March 1997 meeting.

After further discussion, the Board concurred with the committee's recommendation to move ITEM 94-2005-R0197 to the action agenda at the March 1997 meeting.

Regent Davison said the committee also held a discussion with the academic officers that focused on a clearer definition of duplication. They were interested specifically in the Board's objective in dealing with duplication and its policy concerning what was considered acceptable duplication. Regent Davison said he would work with Dr. Knapp and come back to the Board for further discussion of the issue. The committee also discussed improving communication among campuses so that the appropriate people on all campuses in the system would be aware of the development of new programs prior to the time they reached the Board meetings. Regent Davison said Dr. Knapp would work with the two provosts along with the community colleges and tribal colleges to find better ways to make everyone aware of what campuses planned to bring forward to the Board in the way of new programs.

After further discussion, Chairman Kaze thanked Regent Davison for the committee report.

The Board recessed at 12:00 noon for a luncheon meeting with student representatives.

The Board reconvened at 1:30 p.m.

Return to Top

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

COMMITTEE REPORTS

ADMINISTRATIVE/BUDGET COMMITTEE

The Administrative/Budget Committee met at 9:00 a.m. in Conference Room 102B of the Higher Education Complex at 2500 Broadway in Helena. Committee members present included Regents Colleen Conroy (chair), Paul Boylan, and Jim Kaze. Chairman Kaze asked Regent Conroy to present the committee's report to the full Board.

SUBMISSION AGENDA

Regent Conroy said the committee decided to defer discussion to the full Board of ITEMS 78-001-R0393 and 94-001-R0197.

CONSENT AGENDA/ACTION

a. ITEM 94-401-R0197--Tuition Proposal of Miles Community College for the 1997-98 Academic Year; Miles Community College

b. ITEM 94-2701-R0197--Authorization to Expend Computer Fee Funds, Fiscal Year 1997; Montana State University--Billings

c. ITEM 94-2702-R0197--Authorization to Change Cost Estimates on Previously Approved Construction Projects; Montana State University--Billings

Regent Conroy moved that the Board concur with the committee's recommendation to approve ITEMS 94-401-R0197, 94-2701-R0197, and 94-2702-R0197. The motion passed unanimously.

ACTION AGENDA

a. ITEM 49-002-R0985--Student Participation in Mandatory Fee Decisions; Montana University System (506.1 REVISED)

Regent Conroy said this revision to Board Policy 506.1 was on submission at the November 1996 meeting. Prior to approving or increasing any mandatory fees, the Regents would give student government organizations the opportunity to express student opinion regarding the fees.

ASUM President Jason Thielman said the students agreed with the policy revision and said it reflected positive progress toward ensuring that students be involved as part of the decision-making process.

Regent Conroy moved that the Board concur with the committee's recommendation to approve ITEM 49-002-R0985. The motion passed by a 5-to-1 vote; Regent Boylan voted against the motion.

b. ITEM 93-002-R1196--Transfers of Interests in Real Property (NEW)

Regent Conroy noted this new Board policy was on submission at the November 1996 meeting. The committee recommended the following amendments to the policy: (1) In Section II.C., delete the word "state" in the second line; (2) In Section VI.B., delete the words "to a third party" in the first line; and (3) add "Policy 1007" to the repeal language at the end of the policy.

Concerning the reference to public hearings, Regent Davison asked whether anyone could require a hearing to be held. Chief Legal Counsel LeRoy Schramm said that was correct.

Regent Davison was concerned about the expense or lengthy delays this could cause. Chief Counsel Schramm said the hearing requirement only applied to exchanges, which were a small number of their transactions. He said it would not hold up the process too long since it was just an informational hearing.

Following further discussion, Regent Conroy moved that the Board concur with the committee's recommendation to approve ITEM 93-002-R1196 with the three amendments recommended by the committee. The motion passed by a 5-to-1 vote; Regent Davison voted against the motion.

c. ITEM 94-1001-R0197--Authorization to Contract the Use of Two Acres of Land at Fort Missoula to Garden City Harvest; The University of Montana--Missoula

Regent Conroy said Garden City Harvest was a not-for-profit agency established to grow fruits and vegetables for dispersement to low-income individuals and families. The two acres requested for approval would match an equal amount of land leased to Garden City Harvest by Missoula County. University students would work in all phases of planning, planting, harvesting, and distribution.

Following brief discussion, Regent Conroy moved that the Board concur with the committee's recommendation to approve ITEM 94-1001-R0197. The motion passed unanimously.

d. ITEM 94-2703-R0197--Authorization to Lease Space for the College of Business; Montana State University--Billings

Regent Conroy said the classrooms and offices of the College of Business were being consolidated into a single location to improve program effectiveness and efficiency. MSU--Billings would enter into a lease agreement for 1997 through 2002 for 19,250 square feet at an initial rate of $9.00 per square foot.

Following brief discussion, Regent Conroy moved that the Board concur with the committee's recommendation to approve ITEM 94-2703-R0197. The motion passed unanimously.

e. ITEM 94-1501-R0197--Revised Project Budget, Student Union Building Renovation; Montana Tech of The University of Montana

President Dennison said this addition to the agenda involved the Student Union Building project on the Montana Tech campus and was a request for an increase in spending authority. When the Regents initially approved the item, it included $3.1 million from the Series C 1995 revenue bonds, with an estimate of $800,000 in reserve. President Dennison said it turned out there was $1.298 million. They wanted to commit that, and the interest earnings would be another $101,000, which would bring it up to $4.5 million. The entire project was at $5.4 million. They did not have the funds to complete it, but when those funds were identified they would come back and ask for authority to complete it. By doing so, they could get through most of the phases of the project, up to and including the renovation of the kitchen so the Student Union and old Mill Building could become functional for student services on campus.

Following brief discussion, Regent Conroy moved that the Board concur with the committee's recommendation to approve ITEM 94-1501-R0197. The motion passed unanimously.

f. ITEM 94-1502-R0197--Project Budget, Chemistry Building Renovation; Montana Tech of The University of Montana

President Dennison said this addition to the agenda involved a project on the long-range building request in the 1995 legislative session that was approved by the legislature and estimated at that time at $6.45 million. Because of problems in planning the architectural design, the cost will be closer to $6.8 million. He said they actually had $6.4 million but were asking for authority to extend that to $6.8 million. They would seek to identify the remainder of the funds and noted they were all external funds. In the event the Regents approved the item, they would still have to receive approval from the Governor before proceeding.

Following brief discussion, Regent Conroy moved that the Board concur with the committee's recommendation to approve ITEM 94-1502-R0197. The motion passed unanimously.

Chairman Kaze thanked Regent Conroy for the committee report and said they would move on to the two submission items deferred for discussion by the full Board.

g. ITEM 78-001-R0393--Tuition; Montana University System (940.27 REVISED)

Chairman Kaze said the discussion on ITEM 78-001-R0393 focused on the Board's original intent. Did they intend that the 171st, 151st, and 145th hours actually generate a higher tuition? Associate Commissioner for Fiscal Affairs Rod Sundsted explained that if the next credit to be charged fell within the flat spot, the student would not pay additional tuition for that one extra credit but would still exceed the maximum limit. Chairman Kaze felt they needed to decide whether the policy language clearly reflected the Regents' original intent. He said he understood they would charge for the 171st, 151st, and 145th credits and had not considered whether he would feel the same way if that fell within the flat spot. He said the new language in the policy revision was unclear.

Lengthy discussion followed in regard to the flat-spot range on the various campuses and if the higher tuition should be paid regardless of whether the 171st, 151st, or 145th hour fell within the flat spot.

Interim Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Crofts said when the phase two resolutions were passed, the Board approved a motion to change the implementation of the subsidized tuition policy. As it had initially been proposed and discussed, the additional unsubsidized tuition rate would be charged to students beginning with the semester after they exceeded the limit. Whenever a student went beyond 170, 150, or 144 credits, they would pay the unsubsidized tuition rate in the following semester. The Board had approved a motion by Regent Green to implement the policy so the unsubsidized rate would be charged with the 171st, 151st, or 145th hour. Dr. Crofts said he began receiving inquiries and comments from the campuses concerning the difficulty they were encountering in implementing the policy. He asked them to submit details of what it would cost to implement the policy in that manner as opposed to what it would cost as originally proposed. Dr. Crofts referred the Regents to a January 3, 1997 memorandum from Robert Specter, Vice President for Administration and Finance at Montana State University--Bozeman, and a July 23, 1996 memorandum from George Dennison, President of The University of Montana (both memos on file).

President Malone said in MSU's best estimate, it would cost about $40,000 to modify the software. As much as $5,000 a year may be required for longer-term maintenance. He said he would rather spend that amount of money on more direct student services.

President Dennison said the estimate from SCT, the company that provided the software, was between $60,000 and $75,000 to modify the system. Maintenance and new versions of software were estimated at $15,000 to $18,000 each time a new version was required. President Dennison pointed out that UM had provided notice this fall to 285 students on the Missoula campus who were approaching the 170 threshold. Of those 285, only 10 had asked any questions about it.

Lengthy discussion followed in regard to SCT's cost estimates, paying those costs with extra tuition resulting from the policy, meeting the general spirit of the Regents' policy with the semester threshold tripwire and investing the money in more beneficial student services, the personnel costs required to handle the additional workload associated with new software versions, potential advising problems, whether the flat spot should be included or excluded, and revising the policy to allow the students a semester of flexibility.

In response to a question from Regent Green, Interim Commissioner Crofts said the original proposal said the unsubsidized rate would be charged in the semester after the student exceeded the limit. He said if there was an inclination on the Board's part to go back to that, he did not see any reason to delay final approval until the March 1997 meeting. They needed to get the questions resolved so the universities could move forward with full implementation of the policy. He urged them not to defer the decision until the March meeting.

Regent Davison moved that ITEM 78-001-R0393 be moved from submission to action and approved as presented.

Following discussion, Regent Davison withdrew his motion.

Regent Green moved that ITEM 78-001-R0393 be approved with the semester trip language from the original policy reinstated. Rather than charging the unsubsidized tuition rate beginning with the 171st, 151st, or 145th credit hour, students would be charged that rate in the semester following that in which they reached 170, 150, or 144 credit hours. The motion failed for lack of approval. Regents Conroy, Green, and Thompson voted for the motion; Regents Boylan, Davison, and Kaze voted against the motion.

Regent Davison moved that ITEM 78-001-R0393 be approved as presented.

Chairman Kaze questioned the new language presented in regard to the flat spot. He asked that it be clarified to state specifically what it meant.

Following discussion, Regent Davison said he would withdraw his motion until the following day so that everyone could make sure they understood the flat spot implication.

h. ITEM 94-001-R0197--Tuition, Post-Baccalaureate Students; Montana University System (NEW)

Chairman Kaze said the committee recommended removing the word "undergraduate" that preceded "courses" in the second sentence.

Discussion followed in regard to the increased counseling, advising, and other costs associated with a post-baccalaureate degree student, the difficulty in distinguishing between students taking several courses and those working toward graduate programs, and post-baccalaureate students taking away resources from students pursuing their first undergraduate degrees.

Regent Green moved that ITEM 94-001-R0197 be amended by deleting the last sentence; adding the words "at a Montana University System institution" after "baccalaureate degree" in the second sentence; and reinstating the word "undergraduate" preceding "courses" in the second sentence. The motion failed by a 4-to-2 vote. Regents Boylan, Davison, Conroy, and Kaze voted against the motion; Regents Green and Thompson voted for the motion..

Regent Davison moved that ITEM 94-001-R0197 be approved as originally presented with deletion of the word "undergraduate" preceding "courses" in the second sentence.

Following discussion, Regent Davison withdrew his motion and concurred with the Board's suggestion to move ITEM 94-001-R0197 to the action agenda at the March 1997 meeting.

Regent Davison encouraged more input on the policy prior to the March meeting.

Following a 15-minute break, the Board reconvened.

Return to Top

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

OLD BUSINESS

a. Discussion of Student Services

Chairman Kaze said this was on the agenda at Regent Green's request.

Regent Green said he felt they needed some type of informal grievance procedure in place on campuses where students could go for help when they felt they had not been treated fairly, for example. He said it should be well-publicized and perhaps the student government could take an active role. He also thought more emphasis should be placed on advising. If students were having problems, perhaps the advisor could serve as more of a mentor or guide.

President Dennison said one of the commitments common to all the collaborative bargaining agreements was the enhancement of academic advising along with other services to students. Tracking that was a difficult process, however. He noted that several legislators had asked similar questions about advising and student services. The University of Montana was preparing a report on that issue and would submit copies to the Regents.

Provost Robert Kindrick from The University of Montana--Missoula also noted that the Montana Academic Forum was attempting to deal with the issue, which would likely be included in a report coming from that group.

Discussion following in regard to initiating some type of customer service or hotline to help address student concerns that did not require a formal grievance process, reinforcing the commitment to students that was the focus of phase two of the restructuring and finding ways to move that agenda forward, students helping other students, people who work with students feeling good about what they were doing, top-down leadership, the quality of work life on the campuses that translates into behavior toward clientele, and positive reinforcement and constructive criticism through employee evaluations.

Chairman Kaze said perhaps the Regents could receive some information about the types of things that were being done on the campuses. This would also be valuable for the newer Regents. As an example, perhaps one university could address the advising issue and the other could focus on the one-stop shopping issue or other types of complaint and response issues. By doing this, they could focus more on what they should be doing.

Interim Commissioner Crofts said they needed to be careful to focus as much as possible on positive factors such as rewards and incentives rather than on policies and grievances.

The Board recessed at 4:30 p.m. for a meeting with faculty representatives.

Return to Top

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

FRIDAY, JANUARY 24, 1997

The Board reconvened at 8:30 a.m.

OLD BUSINESS (continued)

Chairman Kaze said they would continue their discussion of ITEM 78-001-R0393 from the previous day.

a. ITEM 78-001-R0393--Tuition; Montana University System (940.27 REVISED)

Following discussion, Regent Davison moved that the Board move the item from submission to action and approve it as presented except to amend language in #1 under "Procedure" to indicate that resident students, depending on their date of entry into the system, would be charged the unsubsidized tuition rate beginning with the semester immediately following their 170th, 150th, or 144th hour, respectively. The motion passed by a 5-to-1 vote; Chairman Kaze voted against the motion.

b. ITEM 26-021-R0380--Tenure; Montana University System (706.1 REVISED)

Interim Commissioner Crofts reviewed the proposed revisions to the current tenure policy.

Regent Green moved that ITEM 26-021-R0380 be approved. The motion failed for lack of approval. Regents Conroy, Green, and Thompson voted for the motion; Regents Boylan, Davison, and Kaze voted against the motion.

Following discussion and in light of the tie vote, Chairman Kaze suggested they postpone discussion of the issue until a future meeting when a new Regent would be appointed and they would have their full membership.

c. Board Approval of Campus Mission Statements

Chairman Kaze said approval of these statements would include the statement for the system (on file) distributed by the Commissioner's Office.

In response to a question from Regent Thompson concerning the length of the statements, Interim Commissioner Crofts said that because the mission statements were required by accreditation agencies, they needed to include sufficient detail. If the statements were too brief, some problems could arise with accreditation agencies.

Following brief discussion, Regent Davison moved that the Board approve the mission statements for Montana State University and The University of Montana, along with the mission statement for the Montana University System. The motion passed unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS

a. Legislative Update

Interim Commissioner Crofts distributed an update of legislative issues dated January 23, 1997 (on file). He said this was a revised version of the list they reviewed at the November 1996 meeting. Dr. Crofts summarized legislative action to date on the six-mill levy, university system retirement plans, interest earnings, workers' compensation, WICHE/WAMI payback, university foundation audits, legislative policy recommendations on higher education, unified education budget, tuition savings plan, and tribal college funding for nonbeneficiary students.

In regard to tribal college funding for nonbeneficiary students, Dr. Crofts said President Joseph McDonald of Salish-Kootenai College had asked to address the Board briefly. A bill passed by the 1995 Legislature had appropriated $1.5 million, which was administered by the Commissioner's Office. Approximately $900,000 was distributed to the tribal colleges, and the rest of the money would revert to the state at the end of this year. Dr. Crofts said the legislative interim committee had authorized presentation of a bill (Senate Bill 84) to keep the program going.

Following a program update by President McDonald and brief discussion, Regent Davison moved that the Board endorse and support the legislative effort for the tribal college funding for nonbeneficiary students outlined in Senate Bill 84. The motion passed unanimously.

b. 1998-99 Tuition and Fee Proposals from The University of Montana and Montana State University

Interim Commissioner Crofts said his suggestion was to approach the tuition proposals in the same fashion for this legislative session as they did two years ago. If they received the Governor's budget, they would education the number of students indicated in the enrollment projections and would charge them the tuition identified and preliminarily approved by the Regents. If the resident students did not show up in the numbers predicted and for which the system was receiving general fund, the general fund would revert back to the state at the end of the biennium. Dr. Crofts said at the end of this fiscal year they would be reverting some general fund to the state because they did not meet all the resident numbers. He said it was necessary for the Regents to review the tuition proposals from the two universities and give them some type of preliminary endorsement. During the 1995 legislative session, the Board said it would not take final action on the tuition proposals until the legislature had adjourned. The proposals were then brought back to the Board for final approval at the May meeting. Dr. Crofts suggested a similar approach for this session. If the Regents gave preliminary approval, they could tell the appropriations committee how many students they would educate with the Governor's budget and what tuition rates the students would be charged for the next two years. If the system did not receive the Governor's recommended budget, adjustments would have to be made.

President Dennison briefly summarized the "1999 Biennium Tuition and Mandatory Fees" from The University of Montana (on file). He said tuition at the colleges of technology was being reduced by 5% each year to make it more competitive. That reflected the commitment made to two-year education when restructuring began. In doing a comparative analysis, studies indicated that of about 200 two-year institutions in peer states, Montana's tuition in the two-year sector ranked in the top 10, and they ought to try to moderate that. The tuition increases for resident students at the four-year campuses were 6.5% each year, except at the graduate level where they were 6.0% and 5.8%. The increase for the nonresident portion was 7.2%. President Dennison said the recommendations had not gone through all the approval processes on all the campuses but felt there was general endorsement for the approach. He said it fell within the 6.5% average they said they would try to achieve in the collaborative bargaining agreements.

President Dennison also reviewed tuition differentials between lower-division and upper-division students enrolled in undergraduate programs, and between first-level and advanced-level students enrolled in graduate programs.

In regard to mandatory fees, President Dennison reviewed those for the Missoula campus and asked Chancellors Lindsay Norman and Sheila Stearns to address the fees on their campuses.

Montana Tech Chancellor Norman said the two major fee increases recommended on the Tech campus were for a computer fee and an equipment fee. He noted that students on the campus had voted on the fee increases and rejected them in both instances.

Western Montana College Chancellor Stearns said the fee increases at Western had not been fully discussed with the students. However, the amounts shown were the highest they would be.

President Dennison said the fee increases at the Helena College of Technology were for computer and equipment fees.

Following a five-minute break, the Board reconvened.

President Malone referred to Montana State University's "Tentative Tuition Rates for FY 1998 and FY 1999" (on file). He said the proposal was based on receiving the Governor's recommended general fund budget and balancing their budgets against known obligations. He said the tuition figures were for both years, but the fee schedule was for the first year of the biennium only. For MSU--Bozeman, the tuition increases for each year of the biennium were 6.7%, MSU--Billings 6.9%, MSU College of Technology--Great Falls 6.7%, and MSU--Northern 6.9%. President Malone also reviewed mandatory fees for the Montana State University campuses.

Interim Commissioner Crofts asked whether the fees listed were the maximum, with the only prospect for change being that they go down.

President Dennison said that was his intent unless the students proposed something different. He pointed out that last time they made a commitment on the fees, the students requested an additional radio fee.

President Malone said one exception was a computer fee increase that would be under consideration at MSU--Northern. He said the Bozeman campus also planned to talk to their students about a potential health service fee increase. Those needed to go through the full channel of discussion with the student government.

Dr. Crofts said even if those two issues were yet to be resolved, they should be included on the fee schedule with an indication they would not be increased beyond the figure noted but that they could be reduced.

President Malone said they would make that revision and submit it to the Commissioner's Office.

Chairman Kaze asked why MSU was not making a two-year commitment of its fees.

President Malone said they wanted to retain some level of flexibility for the second year of the biennium.

Regent Davison suggested that next time they have the consistency of two-year proposals for tuition and fees from both universities.

Jason Thielman said the students on the Missoula campus were suggesting a 6.0% increase in tuition rather than the 6.5% recommended. He cited the 5% decrease in tuition recommended for the colleges of technology and said they were moving closer to the 20% cost of education figure for the colleges of technology students identified in the collaborative agreements and further away from the 30% for the four-year institutions. He said he disagreed with reaching the goal for one portion of the student body on the backs of the other portion. Referring to tuition figures for The University of Montana--Missoula, Mr. Thielman said those were based on a 3% increase in classified staff salaries rather than the state pay plan recommendation of 1.5%, which would result in an increase in costs of $315,000 over the biennium.

The Board also heard remarks from students Jim McCray from MSU--Bozeman, Chris Veis from Montana Tech, and Kyle Leeds from MSU--Northern. For the most part, the students generally endorsed the tuition and fee proposals at that time. However, Chris Veis said the students did not support the equipment fee increase on the Tech campus.

Lengthy discussion followed on the cost of education figure, access issues, the student/faculty ratio, the state pay plan for classified staff, funding for agency salaries, and the increases in equipment fees.

In regard to classified staff salaries, Interim Commissioner Crofts said his position with the legislature and that of the two presidents was that they believed the plan ought to be increased and would testify to that effect. However, they would still adhere to the Regents' policy that the Montana University System follow the state pay plan.

Chairman Kaze said the Board would recess for lunch.

The Board reconvened at 12:45 p.m.

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

c. Gender Equity Report

Chairman Kaze said Rebecca Bird, Gender Equity Coordinator in the Commissioner's Office, would present this report (on file).

Ms. Bird noted that page 12 in the original report contained an error and distributed a new version for the Regents. Following Ms. Bird's remarks, Chairman Kaze thanked her for providing the information to the Regents.

Tuition and Fee Proposals (continued)

Chairman Kaze said they would return to the discussion of the Board's position in regard to its preliminary commitment to the tuition and fee levels that could be used by the Board and the Commissioner's Office during the legislative process.

In response to a question from Chairman Kaze, President Dennison said they were not collecting tuition at four-year campuses and transferring it to the two-year units. He said tuition was set based on the cost-of-education formula, and they did not transfer money among campuses. Over time, to fulfill the 20% commitment, that would be required. The current proposal, however, did not do that. Tuition would be spent where it was collected.

Regent Green asked how the 5% decrease in tuition would make two-year education better. President Dennison said this time it did not but would move toward that over time.

Chairman Kaze asked whether the cost-of-education formula would in any way, by virtue of the 5% reduction in tuition at the colleges of technology, result in a greater or lesser allocation to any of the four-year campuses. President Dennison said it would not this time but could in the future.

Chairman Kaze asked that if in the next biennium the general fund commitment to the university system did not move, would there be a reallocation of the general fund they did receive. President Dennison said if they continued the movement, there would have to be.

Chairman Kaze said that if UM came back with another proposal for another 5% reduction, then the only way it could be funded at that point would be with reallocation of general fund. President Dennison said that was correct, but it would not be a reallocation of tuition.

Discussion followed on the 5% decrease in tuition recommended for the colleges of technology on The University of Montana campuses.

Regent Davison noted that perhaps holding it at 0% would give them some flexibility.

Regent Green said the perception was that four-year students would be subsidizing the two-year students. He said he understood the objectives and suggested they work toward those with no increase rather than a 5% decrease.

Chairman Kaze said he tended to agree but based more on the flexibility to make the final decision after the close of the legislative session.

Chairman Kaze said he had some concerns about the substantial increases in equipment fees at Montana Tech and Western in light of comments from students.

President Dennison said as they were in the process of implementing the cost-of-education approach, they were finding that Montana Tech was closer to its peers than the other campuses in terms of general fund contribution toward the target. As a result, the increase in general fund at that time was less than 1% because of the transition in trying to move them toward the other campuses. That was putting pressure on the reserves that Chancellor Norman had addressed earlier. Combined with the enrollments, that had created the problem.

Chancellor Norman noted the increase was for instructional equipment. If they did not receive the increase, they would continue to struggle and would have to use whatever private funds they could get.

In response to a question from Chairman Kaze, Chancellor Norman said the biggest issue with the equipment was maintenance more than anything else. He noted the equipment fee generated about $60,000 a year at the current level.

Regent Green asked whether Montana Tech and Western could specifically reevaluate the equipment fee increases to see if they could be reduced in any amount.

Chairman Kaze agreed they ought to be able to reach some agreement with the students on the fees.

President Dennison said they were more than willing to engage in that dialogue and report back to the Board.

Interim Commissioner Crofts noted that the only changes to the proposed fee schedules were the adjustments Montana State University would make for the two fees on the Bozeman and Havre campuses, along with the two equipment fee increases at Montana Tech and Western. He said he would feel comfortable telling legislators the fee proposals listed the maximum amounts and that some of them may be reduced.

After further discussion, Chairman Kaze said he would summarize the Board's position as follows: (1) A general commitment to encourage increased general fund support for classified staff salaries beyond the current 1.5% pay plan but no change in the Board's past commitment to adhere to the final state pay plan for classified staff salary increases. (2) Preliminary approval of the tuition proposals based on the parameters presented, with final approval anticipated at the May meeting when the commitment of general fund was known. The recommendation for The University of Montana colleges of technology was no increase in tuition rather than the 5% decrease in order to allow some flexibility. (3) Preliminary approval of the fees subject to the addition of the health service fee at MSU--Bozeman and the computer fee at MSU--Northern, and a reevaluation of the equipment fees at Montana Tech and Western Montana College. It was the Board's understanding that none of the fees would be increased but could be decreased.

The Board concurred with Chairman Kaze's summary.

Regent Thompson noted that in the future she would appreciate having more time to review these types of issues prior to the Board meeting. She would have preferred receiving the material earlier.

COMMISSIONER'S REPORT

Interim Commissioner Crofts introduced Erik Hanson, Governor Racicot's new advisor on education issues. Mr. Hanson replaced Pat Haffey.

Dr. Crofts said Chief Counsel Schramm would provide the Regents with a written update of the last meeting of the Land Board.

CAMPUS REPORTS

a. The University of Montana--Missoula

President Dennison reported that Clinical Psychology, Computer Science, and Recreation were fully accredited.

b. Montana State University--Bozeman

President Malone distributed the 1996 President's Report for MSU--Bozeman (on file).

In closing, Chairman Kaze said it was difficult to say good-bye to Regent Kermit Schwanke, whose term on the Board expired February 1, 1997. The going-away dinner scheduled in Helena during the Regents' meeting had been canceled at Regent Schwanke's request because of his health problems. Chairman Kaze asked President Dennison if they could arrange something in Missoula so that Regent Schwanke would not have to travel. President Dennison said they would start working on it right away.

With no other business to come before the Board, the meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.

Green and Black Stripe.gif (1558 bytes)

Return to Regent's Home Page