Montana State University

Campus Programs

Programs Developed to Support American Indians and other minority students

Below are descriptions of many programs and efforts at Montana State University. Click on each program heading to link to the home page of the program.

Council of Elders

In 2004, Montana State University established a Council of Elders to advise the President in regard to the University’s educational commitments and activities in relation to the descendants of the continent’s first peoples, particularly the tribes of the State of Montana, as mandated in the Constitution of the State of Montana. The Council advises the President in regards to the University’s recognition and implementation of Constitutionally declared policy regarding the distinct cultural heritage of the state’s American Indian peoples, its commitment of resources to the provision of services and programs to Native peoples, and institutional strategies for improving the education, recruitment, retention, and graduation of Native students.  The Council also provides counsel the President in his efforts to:

  • Promote respect for Native American cultures throughout the University community.
  • Fulfill the University’s land grand commitments to teaching, research, and service/outreach to Native peoples in culturally appropriate ways.
  • Work with tribes, tribal governments, tribal schools and colleges, and other organizations of Native peoples.
  • Foster basic literacy in American Indian history, cultural values, and contemporary issues.
  • Ensure the curriculum is respectful of the cultural values and rights of self- government of tribal peoples and evolves to meet the changing needs of Native peoples.
  • Provide a mechanism for on-going cooperation with tribes on the development, delivery and evaluation of the University’s educational programs and activities

The members of the Council of Elders are appointed by the President from nominations made by faculty, staff, students, and other interested parties. Membership includes 12 tribal members, six honored members, and six ex officio members.

Indian Leadership Education and Development (ILEAD)

ILEAD, funded by the US Department of Education, is a joint project of Montana State University, Fort Peck Community College, and the Poplar Public Schools.  The primary goal is to develop Native American teachers, and teachers wanting to work in Native American communities, into high-quality principals and school leaders.  Project leaders have designed a course of study for aspiring school administrators that will help them deal with everything from budgeting, to hiring, to student discipline, to motivating staff and designing curricula while improving a schools' effectiveness as they learn. The first participants started in the spring of 2007, and the program runs for three years.

Enhancing Access Scholarships in Engineering & Computer Science (EASE)

The College of Engineering at Montana State University received funding from NSF’s S-STEM program for $368,645 over 5 years.  The EASE program’s overall goal is to help diminish financial and academic barriers to tribal college transfer student’s success in engineering and computer science degree programs.  EASE Scholars can receive up to $10,000 for school per year for up to four years depending upon financial aid eligibility and academic success.   EASE scholarship recipients attend a Bridge program prior to their first semester at MSU and supplemental instruction in math, science and engineering courses.  Scholarship recipients will be required to attend study groups and monthly networking and mentoring events to further build their attachment to the College of Engineering and engineering/computer science as a career choice. 

Service in Engineering for Reservations via Education (SERVE)

The Designing Our Community (DOC) program in the College of Engineering received funding from the Minority Science & Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP), Department of Education to continue to recruit, retain, and provide professional development for graduating American Indian students in the engineering, computer science and engineering technology fields.  The SERVE project is funded over three years at $199,192 to develop and implement a service learning experience (course) for American Indian engineering students.  Service learning reaches beyond textbook “solutions” and requires engineering and computer science teams to become proficient in project design and implementation specific to the client; to exercise professional judgment and practice; and to incorporate cultural themes, objects, and concepts.  Funding provided by SERVE will allow DOC students to participate in projects in reservation communities.

Teaching Engineering Application in Math & Science (TEAMS)

The Designing Our Community (DOC) program in the College of Engineering at Montana State University received funding this past June 2008 from the TOYOTA Foundation to work with grade 6-8 science and math teachers at reservation schools to enhance content teaching by introducing engineering applications into their curriculum. The TOYOTA foundation funded the TEAMS grant at $312,176 for a two year program to work with teachers.  Faculty from the College of Education, Engineering as well as math and science education graduate students will work with teachers over two years to enhance math and science content as well as strategies to effectively teach using engineering applications in middle school grades.  Participating teachers will receive stipends throughout both years and will attend workshops at MSU during the summer months.     

Center for Community-Based Research in Native American Health

The center’s goal is to improve the health of Native Americans in Montana through community-based health projects that are conducted in partnerships between community members and health researchers.  This goal is met through a research approach called community-based participatory research (CBPR) in which researchers and community partners work in partnership. Research is an essential component in eliminating health disparities, however many groups who experience health disparities have had negative experiences with researchers and with research processes. Traditionally, research has been conducted on or to, rather than with, tribal communities. Understandably, these experiences have led many communities and community members to distrust both the process of research and the people involved in research. The Center aims to change this history by bringing together community members and researchers to establish trust, share power, foster co-learning, enhance strengths and resources, build capacity, and examine and address community-identified health needs. 

Montana American Indian Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity

Through biomedical research and a focus on American Indian health issues, the MontanaIMSD program assists its students move into careers working to reduce public health disparities in their communities.  This IMSD program is set to increase the number of American Indians in biomedical research careers by improving their academic competitiveness and by providing them with research experiences, thereby motivating them to pursue biomedical research careers.  Our 4-year objective is to increase by 25% the number of our students who enter graduate school in biomedical disciplines. 

Bridging Tribal Colleges to MSU (BRIDGES)

This NIH-funded project maintains and enhances the partnership between Montana State University-Bozeman and four tribal colleges in Montana: Little Big Horn College, Fort Peck Community College, Stone Child College and Chief Dull Knife College. The specific goal of this partnership is to build a seamless educational experience between the four reservation-based colleges and MSU to increase the number of Native American students successfully transferring and pursuing academic studies in the biomedical and other health-related sciences At MSU.  To accomplish this goal BRIDGES maintains and develops supportive communities of learners between and among students at all four community-based campuses and the MSU faculty mentors with whom they will be matched. To meet this goal, the BRIDGES project enlists 20 MSU faculty as research mentors/workshop presenters and annually hosts a three-day spring workshop for tribal college students and faculty at MSU. BRIDGES annually introduces 20 tribal college students drawn from the workshops to the four-year campus—including research labs, classes, Native campus support system, housing options, faculty mentors, and transfer issues—and matches the 11 students selected for the summer program with research projects/mentors. BRIDGES provides tribal college faculty with increased research support and opportunities for professional development and provides 4 tribal colleges inthe consortium with funds to strengthen their research capabilities. 

The Montana Apprenticeship Program (MAP)

MAP is a six-week summer program for juniors and seniors in high school designed to provide pre-college preparation and hands-on research experience. Apprentices receive a stipend for participating in MAP, and room and board are provided. Of those MAP students graduating from high school, 80% have entered college. A full staff of teachers and residential advisors are with students throughout the summer.

Early Childhood Education

This partnership program is designed to address the needs of Head Start and related Early Childhood Educators in Tribal Communities to complete four-year degrees.  The program was developed in response to a National Head Start initiative that mandated Head Start teachers further develop their educational competencies by completing an Associate and/or Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. 

Tribal colleges in several of Montana’s reservation communities offer Associate’s Degrees in early childhood education.  However, until now, a Bachelor’s degree has been out of reach for many Head Start educators due to distance from Montana State University. 

To address this problem, MSU’s College of Education, Health and Human Development responded to Blackfeet Community College, Fort Belknap Community College, Stonechild Community College and tribal Head Start programs by developing a distance delivered program.  Students can complete the first two years of their degrees at their trial colleges and complete the last two years via online study through MSU. 

The students are nontraditional age, ranging from 26 to 77, and many of them have had limited computer experience.  However, their learning curves have been very steep and they are enthusiastic about learning the necessary computer skills.  The students have shown courage, determination, and a willingness to tackle challenges and technology that often are intimidating.  Each tribal college has taken the responsibility to provide students with computer training as well as designating an on-site technical support person.  The Burns Technology Center at MSU has provided the needed guidance, support, and technology to successfully implement the WebCT platform for the program.

Caring for Our Own Program (CO-OP) in Nursing

This cooperative program is designed to: increase enrollment of American Indian nursing students in the College of Nursing; develop a supportive network that will continue to nurture and support more American Indian nursing students through graduation; and rebuild the shrinking pool of American Indian nurses who are prepared through education for practice, management, leadership and graduate programs.  Services in the program include:

  • Funding available for qualified students
  • Summer Bridge Program prior to fall semester
  • One- to four-credit seminar
  • Learning community study sessions
  • Internship and scholarship opportunities
  • Support network for American Indian students in pursuit of professional nursing practice.

The Montana INBRE Program

Montana INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence), funded by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is a network of MSU, UM, six Montana baccalaureate colleges, and seven Montana tribal colleges. One of the major goals of the Montana INBRE program is to enhance scientific education and provide a pipeline to health careers for students at Montana’s tribal colleges.

Through INBRE, tribal college faculty have become active and enthusiastic participants in the network, and university faculty have initiated partnerships with tribal college faculty to improve research and educational opportunities at the tribal colleges.  These partnerships have come a long way towards overcoming geographic, economic and cultural differences, establishing productive, mutually respectful relationships between tribal college and university faculty members.

The next phase of INBRE will also continue to improve the quality of science education at the two-year tribal colleges, encourage and support students as they transfer to four-year campusesin the network and, through the expertise of the biomedical network and the advice of tribal leaders and educators, begin to address the health of tribal populations.

Over the past eight years of the BRIN and INBRE programs, over 60 tribal college students have been supported to participate in biomedical research projects.  At MSU, 17 tribal college students participated in summer research programs through collaboration with MSU’sAmerican Indian Research Opportunities (AIRO) program, and all but 6 eventually matriculated to MSU. INBRE Native American Graduate Fellowships, established in 2006, support minority students until they complete their MS or PhD degree, provided they are making good progress toward the degree. INBRE recruited and currently supports three Native American graduate students in biomedical sciences. The INBRE leadership team is working with the MSU Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate College, and with faculty and administrators committed to advancing the education of Native American students, to develop strategies for improving the recruitment and success of Native American students and increase the number of Native American graduate students in biomedical sciences.

Support for tribal college students to attend AISES (American Indians in Science and Engineering Society) was provided for students who would have been unable to attend without financial support and who presented posters on their science research or participated in the science bowl. Newly enhanced tribal college biology and chemistry programs have enabled faculty to initiate small research projects employing two to three students during the summers.  These projects have developed into full-scale research proposals for the next phase of INBRE at Little Big Horn College, Salish Kootenai College, Fort Peck Community College, and Blackfeet Community College, focusing on environmental health issues of great concern to reservation communities.

A pilot research project directed by Little Big Horn College (LBHC) science faculty Mari Eggers with her mentor, Dr. Tim Ford (former INBRE PI) was initiated through a BRIN mini-grant.  The Exposure Assessment to Environmental Contaminants on the Crow Reservation project focuses on sampling and assessing water contamination in homes and surface waters and was featured in the Spring 2007 issue of the NCRR Reporter.  The tribal Environmental Health Working Group (EHWG), established as part of this INBRE pilot project, developed collaborative research projects among tribal colleges, reservation communities, and partner institutions.  Over 20 students have worked as interns on this project, 3 of whom have since completed baccalaureate degrees at MSU and have returned to LBHC to help continue this important study of water quality on the reservation.  Because this research targets specific health issues on reservations, it attracts tribal college students and faculty, increasing the numbers participating in research projects.  Investigators conduct research that is not only scientifically important but also extremely significant to their home communities.

Collaboration with INBRE has resulted in new faculty hires at tribal colleges, as well as enhanced equipment and research facilities. Research has become part of the mission of most tribal colleges, and some colleges and tribes have begun working together to identify the health issues and disparities that most affect their communities. Developing collaborative, community-relevant educational and research programs has moved tribal colleges to the next level in their ability to grow the next generation of Native American biomedical researchers and health care providers.

University Studies Advising

In addition to the regular advising center offerings, University Studies also offers a section of the US 101 First-Year Seminar specifically oriented to the interests of Indian students, and has a staff professional advisor housed in the advising office of the Native American Student Center.  

Indian Education for All Professional Development Efforts

In the past two years, Dr. Jioanna Carjuzaa from the Department of Education has been awarded $45,000 in professional development grants from the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) to promote the implementation of Indian Education for All (IEFA). Most recently, in February 2008, Dr. Carjuzaa was awarded the OPI IEFA Montana University System Teacher Education Professional Development Grant for $15,000 to pursue on-going efforts. This has resulted in the following IEFA Professional Development Workshops:

  • IEFA Teacher Education Professional Development Institute, May 17– 18, 2007
  • Update on MCA 20-1-501 Indian Education for All in Montana & “A Different Place - The Intercultural Classroom” February 22, 2008
  • MSU Indian Education for All Professional Development Workshop October 12, 2007
  • IEFA Professional Development Workshop, September 12, 2008

Annual Tribal College Librarians Institute (TCLI)

MSU Reference Librarians Mary Anne Hansen and James Thull coordinated the fifteenth annual gathering of tribal college librarians from all over the United States and Canada, during TCLI 2008, June 9-13 on the MSU campus.   Special guest Dr. Loriene Roy, the first American Indian President of the American Library Association and professor of library and information science at the University of Texas-Austin, joined this group of 43 TCLI participants from 38 different institutions for a week of continuing education and cultural programming. Dr. Roy is Anishinabe (Ojibwe), enrolled on the White Earth Reservation, and a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. This was Dr. Roy’s third time attending and presenting at TCLI, but her presence this year was especially rewarding because TCLI participants were able to help her celebrate her monumental year as ALA President. TCLI is a valuable knowledge-building and networking experience for librarians serving tribal college communities.  The MSU Libraries host TCLI annually in recognition of its unique role in serving the professional development needs of library staff at tribal colleges.  Most tribal college libraries also serve as the public library for the tribal community, giving the tribal college librarians a dual role in their tribal communities in their support of both the academic research needs of the college and their facilitation of community programming such as afterschool programs, summer reading programs and cultural programming for their communities.  TCLI serves as a both a powerful networking vehicle and a train-the-trainer program; TCLI provides professional development in new knowledge and skills to tribal college librarians, making them better able to serve their Native constituencies, both in an academic library capacity, as well as a public library capacity.

 This year’s TCLI theme was Indigenous Languages, in keeping with the United Nations declaration of 2008 as the international year of languages.   Programs included a session on the Fort Belknap White Clay Immersion School, with Director Lynette Chandler; disaster recovery by two librarians who have seen the aftermath of library floods and have been instrumental in overseeing their cleanup, Joan Hantz from Chief Dull Knife Memorial College and Victoria Heiduschke from MSU; and a session on Indigenous Languages by MSU President Geoffrey Gamble, who studied Wikchamni a California area Native language with the last surviving speakers.  TCLI participants made a special day-long trip to Little Big Horn College to help the Crow community celebrate LBHC’s brand new library, the culmination of many years of hard work, planning and grant writing by Tim Bernardis, LBHC Library Director and his colleagues. 

Many TCLI participants return year after year for this intimate gathering of peers who serve the library needs of their tribal communities.  The tribal college librarians come together not only for the cultural, knowledge and skills programming, but also for the invaluable networking and group problem solving of issues unique to tribal college libraries.  TCLI would not be possible without the support of MSU-Libraries and the Dean of the Libraries, Tamara Miller. For more information on TCLI, visit our webpage at

Montana State University Division of Student Affairs

The offices comprising the Division of Student Affairs at Montana State University in Bozeman are involved in a number of initiatives designed to improve access and success of all students.  As noted in this report, a number of efforts also target the recruitment and retention of low-income students and students of color. MSU Student Affairs Offices committed to student retention include but are not limited to:

Office of Admissions

The Office of Admissions is responsible for the marketing, recruitment, application processing, transfer evaluation and orientation/registration programs for all new undergraduates at Montana State University.   The office is comprised of 24 staff members who work with various aspects of the programs.  One of the admissions representatives is designated as the 'minority' representative and spends part of his time engaged in the activities.

Recruitment efforts specifically targeting low income and students of color:

High School Visits
– Each Montana high school with a significant minority (Native American) student population are contacted at least once in an attempt to set up a visit by the Minority Representative.  All tribal high schools are visited as well as those on and around the seven Montana Indian Reservations.

Tribal College Visits

Each tribal college in the State of Montana are visited at least once during the travel season.

Out-of-State Visits

A concentrated effort is made to recruit students from states that have a high minority (Native American) population. 

MSU Rockin’ the Rez

In the spring (May) of 2002, a specialized committee was formed from the MSU Indian Project Directors committee to develop a reservation community based recruitment event.  In 2003-2004, four urban areas were added to target Native American prospective students in city populations.  The purpose of the seven Montana reservation and urban area Rockin’ the Rez events was to introduce prospective Native American students, family members, and community leaders to MSU academic and student support services.  Rockin’ the Rez (RTR) is targeted towards sophomore, junior and seniorhigh school students and tribal college transfer students.  The Admissions Department database is used in conjunction with the RTR marketing efforts to advertise and invite prospective students to the area events.  The minority recruiter/Admissions  works with the RTR committee to coordinate all travel dates in Admissions and travel dates for the RTR events to reduce and/or eliminate overlapping of travel.

Facilitate Group Visits

The Minority Representative provides campus tours/group presentations to all Gear Up, Talent Search, Upward Bound, Montana Apprenticeship Program (MAP), and any other Native American elementary, junior high or high school groups requesting one.  Complete visits (departments, administrative offices, tours, presentations, etc.) are set up for tribal colleges and high school groups that request them. 

Native American Youth Preview Day

The Minority Rep aids the Assistant Director of Programs with the coordination and marketing of a visit day directed toward Native American students in the state of Montana.  This visit day is held in conjunction with the American Indian Council Pow Wow.

Tribal Homelands Scholarship

Emphasis on marketing this scholarship to possible recipients is continuous throughout both the regular and travel seasons.  Non-resident Native American recruiting will continue until all scholarship slots are filled.  The Minority Rep works in coordination with Andre Altans in the Financial Aid Office to promote the program and recruit eligible recipients for the scholarship.

First Year Initiative Program

The First Year Initiative (FYI) Program is a retention initiative designed to serve both students and parents.  FYI strives to makes contact with all first year students through orientation info sessions, one-on-one advising meetings, in-class workshops, residence hall programs, and several grand scale campus events.  Although the FYI staff focuses contact on the first year experience, advisors will work with students of any age at no cost.  The staff assists underprepared students to build foundational study skills and provides help in navigating offices and processes in the campus environment.  The program is housed in two locations on campus and open extended evening hours, making it easy for students to visit with our advisors at their convenience.

FYI functions closely with offices such as Disability, Veteran, and Re-Entry Services, the Academic Advising Center, Students Assistance Foundation (SAF), and TRiO Student Support Services.  These offices are at the forefront of providing services to low-income, minority, and otherwise underserved populations on campus.  Together, our support network for these students provides comprehensive and holistic support.  One of FYI’s largest events, Catapalooza, hosts nearly 200 community clubs, organizations, businesses, Student Assistance Foundation, and TRiO.  Catapalooza is an excellent opportunity to immediately connect new and existing students to organizations which encourage retention and improve student satisfaction with the MSU experience.

Family & Graduate Housing

Family & Graduate Housing serves the students of Montana State University by providing affordable housing in an environment that is conducive to the academic and social success of single graduate and upper-class students, as well as student families.  We provide positive customer service to prospective student tenants, on-going customer service, apartment maintenance, and safety efforts for current tenants.  As well, Family & Graduate Housing provides educational and social programs and events to our student tenants (and student families) to provide information on a variety of topics and provide networking opportunities.

More specifically, Family & Graduate Housing provides programs and information on safety, financial responsibility, community responsibility, and numerous other topics that provide focus on tenant and family success.  F&GH works with the Counseling Center to provide weekly ‘exclusive’ consultation hours to meet the needs of our clientele’s busy schedules.  As well, we provide immediate response to tenant financial issues and meet with them to find a pro-active and retention-friendly solution to their financial concerns.  We provide consultation for low-income students/families to provide information on assistance options in the community.  Free lunch programs, co-sponsored by the Gallatin Valley Food Bank are provided for children of low income families in the summertime.  The Family & Graduate Housing Office also accepts Section 8 HUD housing vouchers benefitting students who quality based upon income criteria.

Residence Life

In addition to a safe and secure living environment, Residence Life offers various academic enhancement initiatives and themed communities to promote academic success.  Academic Theme Floors provide students with similar interests the opportunity to live together on the same floor and receive career planning and academic assistance.  Beyond Academic Theme Floors, other special living options exist for students interested in outdoor pursuits, community involvement, health and wellness.  English Writing Assistance is provided to all students living in the residence halls five nights per week.  The College of University Studies provides students in-hall academic advising once per semester.  The Freshman Year Initiative (FYI) Program has a satellite office in South Hedges where students can meet with advisors in a one-on-one basis.  The FYI staff also provides various student success programs to all students living in the residence halls. The Residence Life Department is committed to retention and success of low-income students, American Indian students, and students of color.  Residence Life also promotes an understanding and appreciation of human differences; cultural competency; social responsibility through on-going social activities and educational programming opportunities.  As part of the staff training module, Residence Life staff members meet with the Native American Student Advisor and representatives from International Programs to discuss student retention strategies. 

Office of Financial Aid Services

The Office of Financial Aid Services assists students in financing their educational expenses through a variety of federal, state, and institutional loan, grant, scholarship, tuition waiver, and work programs.  By participating in these need-based and merit-based aid programs, MSU is able to assist students in the achievement of their postsecondary educational goals by making every effort to remove financial barriers.   

Financial Aid Services is committed to educating students, their families, and the general public so that every student feels like a college degree is within their reach.  We provide financial aid counseling and materials to individuals and groups ranging from middle-school to college level. We have a financial aid advisor that provides specialized counseling to Native American students to assist them with their tribal aid funding.   We work closely with TRIO and the Disability Office to assist disadvantaged students. We provide outreach at regional high schools each winter (Financial Aid High School Nights) to educate students and their families about financial aid and to assist with the financial aid application process.  We also host a College Goal Sunday event each year that is targeted to first-generation, low-income families, providing one-on-one help with their financial aid applications.  Financial Aid Services plays a critical role in meeting MSU’s recruitment, retention, and graduation rate goals. Sixty to seventy percent of the student body receives some form of financial assistance and many would not be able to attend or persist without the benefit of aid.  

Disability, Re-entry and Veteran Services

Disability, Re-entry and Veteran Services is a small office serving three distinct populations.  We ensure non-discrimination and reasonable program modifications for students with physical, learning and psychological disabilities, as well as brain injuries.  For veterans on campus, we are the certifying office for their Department of Veterans Affairs education benefits.  We ensure that recipients understand their rights and responsibilities under VA regulations, and provide information and referral services.  For non-traditional students who may be beginning higher education or returning after a time lapse, we offer pre-advising information as well as referrals to academic departments and campus resources. Disability, Re-entry and Veteran Services promotes access, retention, and completion rates for students of low-income, American Indian heritage, or of color.  A staff member regularly attends Indian Program Directors meetings, and has traveled to tribal colleges with the Prep Program of the College of Engineering.  Our office provides one departmental scholarship for a Montana student with a physical disability.  Our daily work with students emphasizes empowerment and self-determination, in conjunction with equal access to university programs and services.  

Counseling and Psychological Services

Within the overall mission of the Division of Student Affairs, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services addresses itself to the psychological needs of students.  This occurs directly through growth-promoting and therapeutic services, and indirectly through impacting the students’ various campus environments.  The services provided are designed to respond to the mental health needs of students and contribute integrally toward the achievement of the larger goals of the university. Direct approaches which encourage student growth include a wide range of interpersonal programs: personal skill workshops, specific issue-oriented groups, and the training of professionals.  The Center also responds to specific needs of student groups at their request. An equally vital part of the direct contact phase of the Center’s mission deals with behavioral emergencies, provision of short-term counseling, and therapeutic intervention for students in emotional distress.  In this facet of its mission, the Center frequently collaborates with staff members of other offices within the Division.

Support Services for Diverse Students:

The Center for Counseling and Psychological Services has been actively engaged in providing support services for diverse students.  Efforts in this area include recruitment of diverse staff members, provision of supervision and training for working with students of diversity, and provision of outreach targeted to diverse populations.

We typically designate one of our three annual internship staff positions as a diversity hire and have been fortunate to hire African American, Native American, Asian American, Cuban American, and South Asian interns.  Two years ago we hired a bi-racial senior staff member who serves as our diversity coordinator.  We have an ongoing Diversity Training Seminar to enhance staff awareness and skills in working with diverse clients. Counseling and Psychological Services staff members annually co-facilitate the Native American Support group, attend Indian club meetings and present psycho-educational outreach programs specifically for Native American students. We have a staff liaison with the office of International Students and conduct workshops for international students.  For the past 20 years our interns have regularly had summer rotations on four of the state’s Indian reservations. This year we are offering a Diversity Dialogue Seminar for all students. During the past 5 years, Counseling and Psychological Services has seen 9.3 to 14.6 percent of ALL students of color enrolled at Montana State University.  During that time the attrition rate of our clients dis-enrolling for Montana State University has ranged from 1.2 to 2.9 percent, a remarkably low figure. We have not specifically targeted our programs for low-income students but many of our clients qualify as low SES and report that they could not afford to utilize our services in the private sector. 

The MSU Women's Center

The Women's Center works toward promoting greater responsiveness to the needs of MSU women.  Our focus is to empower women and create a campus environment that is equitable by offering educational programs and support services. The Women's Center is a place for all women and men to stop by, relax, and explore their concerns, issues, and options through information and conversation.  The Women’s Center works to support and retain low-income, American Indian, International, and other students of color, through our educational programming efforts and our volunteer and paraprofessional programs.  Our Sack Lunch Seminar series includes at least two or three programs annually focusing on Native American, multicultural, and International student concerns, and we continually offer Sack Lunch programs each year on financial issues and advice.  We celebrate International Women’s Day each March with a program focusing on International students.  We co-sponsor these events with Native American Studies and the Office for International Programs, thus encouraging the participation of the students affiliated with these programs.  We have had volunteers, paraprofessionals, interns, and work-study assistants from a breadth of backgrounds and cultures.

Our “Student of Achievement” program recognizes those students who serve as role models and leaders of the MSU student community.  We actively solicit nominations from Native American Studies and the Office for International Programs and are eager to recognize those students who have risen to the top of our student body despite the many obstacles they may face.

Student Health Service

The MSU Student Health Service provides primary care and health promotion services to MSU students and makes clinical services available to spouses of students as an option.  Clinical services include primary care medical services, a clinical laboratory, radiology services, a nutritionist, a psychiatrist, and a pharmacy.  The SHS also provides dental services related to preventive care and dental emergencies.  Health promotion involves using environmental strategies to address the most preventable health problems of college students including such things as the impact of high risk alcohol use and sexual health.

The Student Health Service has made specific efforts to provide diversity awareness training to its clinical staff to make them sensitive to the needs not only of students of color but also to international students and students of all sexual orientation.  With respect to our Native American students, the Health Service bills any charges directly to the Indian Health Service for students with that coverage.

Career, Internship & Student Employment Services

Career, Internship & Student Employment Services provides opportunities and assistance for each Montana State University student and graduate to develop clear career direction, obtain relevant experience, and learn the skills and requirements necessary to conduct successful professional job searches.  In addition to individual career coaching, mock interviewing, and resume critique appointments, the office annually hosts five career fairs, two etiquette dinners, and a variety of workshops and presentations (including in-class presentations) to prepare MSU students to meet the demands of the world of work.

MSU Career, Internship & Student Employment Services is committed to assisting low income and students of color by:

  • Sponsoring a “Diversity Coffee” connecting employers and students during career fair.
  • Providing workshops and presentations to Gear-Up, MSU American Indian Club, Montana Health Careers Summer Camp (formerly known as U-DOC), EmPower, etc.
  • Working in conjunction with the Student Assistance Foundation to provide accurate information regarding salary expectations and debt repayment.

McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program at MSU serves the needs of 26 undergraduate students annually who are either first-generation/low-income or minorities traditionally underrepresented (e.g. Native American, Latino, Alaskan Native, and African American). Eligible scholars are selected who have demonstrated strong academic potential and are committed to attending graduate school and pursuing an advanced degree.  A particular focus of the MSU McNair program is providing research/project opportunities and financial support for summer projects for each student who is paired with a faculty mentor.