Proposed Revision to 277 - Merger; Montana University System, Montana Vocational-Technical System



Statutory Provisions:


            Under the Constitution, the governance and control of the Montana University System is vested in the Board of Regents of Higher Education which has full power, responsibility, and authority to supervise, coordinate, manage and control the Montana University System.  Further, the Board of Regents has authority to supervise and coordinate other public educational institutions assigned by law.


Board Policy:


            Specific cooperative agreements and/or consolidations/mergers as might be forged where feasible between the vocational-technical centers and/or appropriate university units should be developed to enhance educational programs and to gain economies and efficiencies in providing services common to those specific institutions.  Relationships between institutions which are affiliative in nature are addressed under a separate policy.




            1.         Merger is the fusion or absorption of one institution into another with the result that the merged institution ceases to have an independent existence.  A merged institution may retain, at the discretion of the Regents, certain elements of the unique role and mission which characterized it prior to merger.


            2.         Administrative merger in higher education means the sharing of a president and other administrative personnel between two institutions.  The integrity of both merged institutions' purposes and support functions is maintained.




            The following considerations should guide discussion and action with regard to the subject of merger of educational institutions:


            1.         Similarity and/or compatibility of role, scope, and mission between two institutions;


            2.         Potential for unification of academic and student support services (e.g., computer systems, library resources, placement and financial aid services);


            3.         Existence of clear indication that one institution could enhance, strengthen, and/or stabilize the academic programs and services of another institution;


            4.         Potential for greater efficiency in the utilization of financial and human resources through development of joint financial and records-keeping systems, etc.;


            5.         Desirability to broaden public access to higher education through expanded locations at which an institution's programs may be delivered;


            6.         Geographic proximity of the two institutions;


            7.         Analysis of impact of merger on:


                        a.  instructional programs

                        b.  student access

                        c.  facilities utilization

                        d.  administrative and other institutional support services

                        e.  existing staff

                        f.  fiscal matters

                        g.  legal issues


            8.         Other considerations which may be deemed appropriate to address.




            1.         The Board of Regents shall determine when sufficient reason exists for the formal exploration of merger or administrative merger between institutions and shall, through formal board action, direct the Commissioner of Higher Education to initiate a study.


            2.         For purposes of specifically addressing each of the considerations listed above, the Commissioner shall appoint a study team comprised of individuals from each institution, including (but not limited to):


                        a.  the chief executive officer;

                        b.  the chief academic officer;

                        c.  the chief fiscal officer;

                        d.  student services personnel

                        e.  faculty

                        f.  member, Board of Regents (ex officio)


            3.         The Commissioner shall serve as chairman of the study team and shall direct its activities.  Subcommittees may be established as necessary to address specific details of the study.



            4.         The study team shall develop a merger plan with specific time-lines identified and shall return the plan to the Board of Regents in a timely manner.


            5.         Upon action by the Board of Regents after consideration of the concluded study, it shall be the responsibility of the Commissioner to implement the directives of the Board relative to merger between institutions.






                Item 65-001-R1189, Merger, Montana University System, Montana Vocational-Technical System, December 14, 1989.