|Work and family
Family-friendly work policies such as flexible schedules and working from home typically
don't cost the company anything and can do a lot to attract and retain good employees.
Dan Moshavi, an MSU assistant professor of management, wanted to see what effect family
ownership has on whether small businesses adopt work/family practices. He surveyed 137 small
businesses (500 or fewer employees) in Montana and four neighboring states. He found that
family-owned businesses were less likely than non-family owned companies to adopt family-friendly
policies. One explanation is that family-owned companies tend to treat all their employees
like family and may not see the need to implement formal employee policies. Moshavi will talk
about his study at a Southern Management Association meeting in New Orleans this month.
Trying to inventory weeds in remote areas is a challenge, says Bruce Maxwell, an MSU agroecologist.
To find the best method, Maxwell, Lisa Rew and other MSU faculty are working with Yellowstone
National Park. Rew oversaw three crews of MSU students this summer. The crews inventoried weeds
in part of the park's northern range, looking for nonnative species within two kilometers of
established roads and trails. The theory was that most weeds are introduced by human activity.
The study will continue, but researchers were surprised to find that some weeds decline away
from roads and trails, but others do not. Natural disturbances can be as conducive to weeds as
human disturbances, Maxwell said. Park archives reveal, too, that rangers in the past probably
planted some nonnative species.
Have fire, will travel
In a large state like Montana, it's expensive for firefighters to travel to training centers.
So the state's Fire Services Training School (FSTS), based in Great Falls and administered by
the MSU Extension Service, brings the fire to the firefighters in tractor - trailers designed
to simulate real-life disasters. One of the school's props is a traveling smoke maze for
zero-visibility training; another simulates a burning home. One trailer demonstrates sprinkler
systems, another offers training with flammable gases, and others are filled with rescue
equipment. "Fire fighting is dirty, demanding, dangerous work," said FSTS director Butch Weedon.
"It's not conducive to classroom settings." FSTS serves all of Montana's 10,000 firefighters,
96 percent of whom are volunteers.
Troops to teachers
Retired military personnel have many of the assets that make good teachers: maturity, "people"
skills, real-world experiences and a retirement income. So why not harness those retiring troops
to help address an expected teacher shortage in the U.S.? That's exactly the idea behind a 1994
Department of Defense program called Troops to Teachers. The program is just now getting started
in Montana and adjoining states, said MSU education dean and regional director Greg Weisenstein.
Most of the eligible troops already have college degrees but need to become certified to teach.
The Montana program, at least to start, is geared toward recruiting military retirees, advising
them on what they need for certification and offering them a placement service, Weisenstein said.
Art songs are a little more sophisticated and refined than popular songs, says Elizabeth Croy,
professor of voice at MSU. They're usually poetry set to music and normally last three to six
minutes. Croy heard one song, a mini-monologue, that lasted 40 minutes. To learn more about
the contemporary American art song, Croy received an MSU Research and Creativity grant. She
is seeking out major artists around the country to receive their views on art song techniques,
interpretation and literature. She is trying to focus on works that may be unusual and relatively
unknown. Croy has already made an art song CD with one musician from Minneapolis and hopes to
collaborate with other pianists and vocalists.