A note of thanks from President Gamble
November 28, 2007
Dear members of the Montana State University faculty, staff:
It is appropriate that during this season of thankfulness I send this message to all of you - valued members of the MSU community. Each one of you impacts our students in important ways, contributing to the supportive environment so important to the success of our students and our institutions. Your efforts are noticed and appreciated.
It is also appropriate at this time of the year to come to you with a reporting of the current state of the university and our plans for the future. In the past, this report came at an annual fall speech. However, for the first time that speech was replaced with MSU's inaugural freshmen convocation held the first day of classes. Greg Mortenson, of Bozeman and author of the best-selling "Three Cups of Tea," brought to our campus a message of the power of education, and the ability of each one of us to change the world. If you would like to watch the inaugural convocation, go to our podcast. Not only was his message inspiring, but the freshmen convocation was a significant new element in the building of campus culture.
Everywhere I go on campus, I see reminders of one or our most important themes - pins and signs that remind us that we are "Supporting Student Success." We support student success in thousands of ways, from the things all of you do to ease our students' lives to implementing programs that enrich their educational experience.
Here are some of the key ways MSU is working to enrich student success this year:
*UPBAC's undergraduate subcommittee is proposing several initiatives to help our students succeed academically, including ways to earlier identify students who may be needing help and finding them the specific help they need.
*MSU continues to build upon its 2004 initiative that made MSU the first Land Grant institution in the country to require an undergraduate research/creativity course by helping our students find stipends for on-campus research as well as support for internships with Montana companies. Funds are also sought for research supplies, funding to send students to national meetings to present their work, and funds for staff mentoring of our students in their research endeavors. For more information about our Undergraduate Scholars Program, go to http://www.montana.edu/usp/
*Our university continues to work to find scholarship funds for our students who need financial support. When I announced the scholarship fund in 2004, we vowed to raise $10 million for student scholarship. That fundraising effort raised nearly $22 million to date. For more about giving to student scholarships, go to: http://www.montana.edu/wwwulf/scholarships.htm
*This year MSU was a prime supporter of Gov. Brian Schweitzer's CAP initiative to freeze tuition for Montana students in return for a general fund appropriation. MSU continues to support affordable education for Montana families.
*MSU continues to prepare students well for careers after graduation. Recent data gathered by our Career Services indicate that 67 percent of MSU graduates were able to find jobs in Montana. That survey report is on the web at: http://www.montana.edu/careers/CareerDestinations20052006_6-26-07.pdf
*We take pride that Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognizes MSU as one of 94 research universities in the country.
*A recent polling of our students for the National Survey of Student Engagement published recently in USA Today revealed that our students also think we are doing a good job, ranking us above average among our peers in many critical categories.
*MSU is working to grow our graduate programs. Already one of the premier institutions for graduate education in this area of the country, MSU graduate students create companies that bring growth the community and to state, growing the economy in new and important ways. For more information, go to our Division of Graduate Education: http://www.montana.edu/wwwdg/
*MSU, with research expenditures of more than $100 million,
continues to lead the state, in fact is a leader in the region, in attracting research dollars that encourage growth in Bozeman and Montana's economy. For example, just last week MSU announced that it had received $6.6 million from the National Institutes of Health to build health and research programs on Montana reservations that are of each reservations choosing. This is an example of the way MSU is helping the state build its economy.
In addition to building these programs, MSU's physical landscape is changing at one of its most rapid rates in its history. The Black Box Theatre has recently opened in the VisCom building. The fitness center is scheduled to open at the beginning of next semester. Work is underway in Gaines Hall, the SUB and recently we received a key gift in our work to build a new animal bioscience facility.
And, the MSU Foundation continues to lay the underpinnings for an ambitious new capital campaign. Look for more information about that in the near future.
None of these progressive initiatives would be possible without all of you and the fine work you do for Montana State University.
I remind you that my door is always open to all of you. Should you wish to meet with me, please call my office at 994-2341 and schedule a time that will fit both of our schedules.
Geoff Gamble, president
Montana State University