Montana State University

Montana Board of Regents set Gallatin County listening session on Oct. 25

October 14, 2010

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Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Sheila Stearns and Montana State University President Waded Cruzado will conduct a listening session in Gallatin County set for 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25, at the Best Western GranTree in Bozeman.

Gallatin College Programs Dean Robert Hietala also will greet members from the community. Legislators and candidates, local elected officials, school board trustees and K-12 administrators, counselors and students, current university students, faculty and staff, local business people and the general public are all encouraged to attend.

The Bozeman session is part of Stearns' and the Montana Board of Regents' fall listening tour. They are sweeping the state to discuss major higher education initiatives and to hear from Montanans about their higher education interests and concerns.

Stearns said that access to higher education opportunities, student success and system efficiency will be the major themes of the listening tour, with a particular emphasis on COLLEGE!NOW, Montana's two-year education initiative. Funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education, COLLEGE!NOW is an effort to increase the number of Montanans with college degrees by focusing on affordable regional access, system-wide curriculum alignment, and resource-sharing among Montana's two-year colleges. Stearns said the major goals of COLLEGE!NOW are engaging Montana high school students in dual enrollment and innovating to "reframe" college with the working adult in mind.

"COLLEGE!NOW is gaining national prominence as a statewide effort to improve access to students within existing resources," Stearns said. "It's really an extension, though, of the goals the regents established for the Montana University System several years ago: access, economic development, and efficiency and effectiveness. We want to tell Montanans about COLLEGE!NOW, but we mainly want to hear from citizens across the state about how they think we should pursue those goals."

For more information about the Montana University System Listening Tour, contact David Hall at the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education at davidhall@montana.edu, or (406) 444-0608.

Lynette Brown (406) 444-0374, lybrown@montana.edu