Council Election Candidate Bios

Planning Council


Name: Susan Dana

College: Business
Department: N/A
Title: Interim Dean
Years at MSU: 16

Currently Interim Dean of the College of Business since June 2011. Previously Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the CoB 2006-2011, faculty member since 1996. BA in Classics from Brown University, JD from Stanford Law School. Work experience includes associate at large law firm in Washington DC, clerk for district court judge in Missoula and visiting assistant professor at University of Montana School of Law. Research interests include regulation, human resources and international business.


I am interested in Planning Council because I believe MSU has a unique opportunity to define itself at a critical time when higher education faces significant challenges at many levels both in the state of Montana and nationally. My experience at MSU ranging from adjunct faculty member to Interim Dean, as well my membership on a variety of MSU committees over the years include the Research Compliance Committee, International Programs Committee and CBA Implementation Committee, gives me a good sense of issues within the University. Moreover, my relationships developed as Interim Dean and Associate Dean with external stakeholders allows me to offer that perspective as well. I believe I work well with others, and am able to analyze issues from a variety of perspectives and offer creative and collaborative ideas.


Name: Rob Maher

College: Engineering
Department: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Title: Dept. Head and Professor
Years at MSU: 10

Dr. Rob Maher is Department Head and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He joined the Montana State ECE faculty in August, 2002. He holds a BS degree from Washington University in St. Louis, an MS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois-Urbana, all in Electrical Engineering. His research and teaching interests are in digital signal processing, with particular emphasis on applications in digital audio, music analysis and synthesis, audio forensic examination, and acoustics.

Rob became ECE Department Head on August 1, 2007. He has also been appointed as an Affiliate Professor with the MSU Music Technology program, and has served on a variety of department, college, and university task forces, committees, and councils.

Rob was a faculty member with the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1989-1996 (tenured in 1995). His interest in entrepreneurial activity led him to help form a start-up company, EuPhonics, Inc., of Boulder, Colorado, in 1997, where he was named Vice President of Engineering and business partner. When EuPhonics was subsequently acquired by 3Com Corp. in November, 1998, Rob remained with 3Com-U.S. Robotics as Engineering Manager for Audio Product Development until July, 2001. He also started a successful audio software engineering consulting company (2000-present), and he has been an Adjunct Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering with the University of Colorado-Boulder (2001-2002).

Rob is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society, a Senior Member of IEEE, and a member of ASA, ASEE, Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, Phi Kappa Phi, and Sigma Xi (MSU chapter co-chair).


I first volunteered to serve on the Planning task force in 2010. The task force developed the description and charter of what became the Planning Council.

Then in the spring of 2011 I was named to the Planning Council to fill an unexpired term from the College of Engineering. I continued working through that spring and summer on the Mission Statement and Core Themes material that guided MSU's accreditation submission to the Northwest Commission.

Since last fall the Planning Council has been augmented and formed into the MSU Strategic Planning Committee (SPC). I have continued my service on the SPC, principally as a member of the "Vision" and the "Integration" task forces. I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve the campus in this capacity and I am highly motivated to assist with the new Strategic Plan implementation as the representative from the College of Engineering.


Name: Brendan Mumey

College: Engineering
Department: Computer Science
Title: Assoc. Professor
Years at MSU: 13

Brendan Mumey, Associate Professor in Computer Science at Montana State University, graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in mathematics in 1990. He received a M.Sc. in computer science from the University of British Columbia in 1992, and received a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Washington in 1997 at which time he joined the faculty at Montana State University. Most of his early research was in computational biology but in the last five years he has been interested various aspects of networking. He is the current editor of SIGACT News. In 2011 he held a Visiting Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Communications and Networking department at Aalto University in Finland. He is a member of IEEE and ACM.


I am interested in the Planning Council as I would like to gain additional experience in strategic planning at the university level. Ultimately I have some interest in being a department head and I think this experience would serve me well. I have served on the COE strategic planning committee for about four years now (our committee was commended by the previous Provost on its effectiveness). I believe I could be an effective member of the Planning Council as well.

Gallatin College Programs

Name: Janet Heiss Arms

College: Gallatin College Programs
Department: Developmental & Transfer Education
Title: Assistant Dean
Years at MSU: 6 1/2

I have worked at Gallatin College Programs for 5 1/2 years and have served in a number of capacities with increasing responsibility: Director of Academic Success Initiatives, Director of Developmental Education, and currently Assistant Dean. I also served as Interim Dean for one year (2008-09) prior to choosing to scale back in order to provide balance with my role as a new parent.

My responsibilities at Gallatin College Programs include supervising faculty and professional staff, developing new mission areas including dual enrollment and Associate's/transfer degrees, and leading the National Association for Developmental Education (NADE) self-study and certification process.

Prior to joining Gallatin College Programs, I worked as an academic advisor in University Studies at MSU and in Cross-College Advising Service at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Other work experiences in higher education include early and graduate student career advising, working with a pre-college program for low-income and minority students, and working for a volunteer abroad organization.

I have also taught a few courses as an adjunct instructor. Most recently I have taught graduate students in the Adult & Higher Education program at MSU. Currently I am teaching Theoretical Foundations of College Students; I team-taught College Students with Betsy Palmer. I have also taught first year students in sections of First Year Seminar and Effective Academic Practices.


I am keenly interested in postsecondary education, particularly in student access and success, which led to pursuing an M.S. and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin. Through graduate study I learned about college students—demographics, trends, pathways to and through college, theories of student development; about organizing and financing postsecondary institutions—tuition, state, federal, and other funding, and organizational structures; and considered the multiple ideas of the university—the many expectations individuals have for the role universities should serve for their communities.

That is all good background for my work, but it is really about my interactions with Gallatin College students that has taught me the most about what they are seeking in education and what they need to be successful and graduate.

Gallatin College serves a somewhat different student population than MSU (some students are very similar, but others are quite different). The offerings through Gallatin College are beginning to emulate a comprehensive community college (including general education, developmental education, workforce programs, and dual enrollment for high school students). This difference in student body and educational offerings needs to be included in MSU's Strategic Plan and I am interested in bringing Gallatin College's perspective to the Council.

Letters & Science

Name: Eric Austin

College: Letters and Science
Department: Political Science
Title: Associate Professor
Years at MSU: 7

Eric Austin earned his PhD from the Center for Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech in 2002. He was a member of the graduate faculty in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Western Michigan University for three years prior to joining the Political Science department at MSU. Since coming to MSU in 2005, he has served as the Coordinator of the Master of Public Administration program. Dr. Austin's research centers on public sector organization theory and public management, and he has a specific interest in inter and intra organizational processes of decision making in contentious environments. He teaches courses including organization theory, public management, public policy and administrative ethics. Dr. Austin's professional career prior to completing his PhD at Virginia Tech, included working as a project director in both public and non-profit organizations, where his responsibilities included strategic planning, program management, budgeting and personnel management. In addition to working on various environmental, educational and social services programs, Dr. Austin has, and continues to serve as a trainer and organization development consultant. In this capacity, he provides facilitation, technical assistance and capacity building services in support of planning and decision-making efforts in organizations ranging from large, federal agencies all the way down to small, volunteer based non-profits.


Dr. Austin's qualifications to serve on the Planning Council include both a Masters and PhD in public administration, each of which incldued extensive study of organization theory and public management, and incorporated strategic planning and mission management training as well. Much of Dr. Austin's experience has been in land-grant institutions and with the cooperative extension system. He is committed to the land-grant mission, as well as the new University strategic plan in support of MSU's mission. He is also an advocate of critical role that the social sciences and humanities have in exploring the social, political, ethical and legal aspects of new and emerging sciences and technologies. He has wide experience with a range of strategic planning processes, most recently working with the faculty in the Political Science Department to facilitate the development of a new strategic plan for the Department. Beyond his planning and management background in a un! viersity setting, Dr. Austin is also familiar with other types of public and non-profit organizations, including the conduct of planning and creative problem solving efforts in those settings.