MSU has always prepared graduates to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Successful,
sought-after graduates are part of our legacy, and preparing students is central to
our mission. MSU students learn in the classroom, lab, studio and field, through a
hands-on, student-centered curriculum that integrates learning, discovery, and engagement
in and out of the classroom.
Goal: MSU prepares students to graduate equipped for careers and further education.
Objective L.1: Assess, and improve where needed, student learning of critical knowledge and skills.
Objective L.2: Increase graduation rates at MSU.
Objective L.3: Increase job placement and further education rates.
- Continue to improve assessment of learning outcomes in Core and major programs
- Engage in careful review of the Core curriculum
- Re-invest in and expand successful pilot initiatives for retention and graduation
- Learn from and share best practices in key introductory level course redesigns
- Increase frequency of course offerings to accelerate time to degree
- Improve and add to advising and student success programs, including proactively intervening
with at-risk students
Budget alignment(2015–16 investments unless otherwise noted)
- $5 million increase in instructional expenditures and nearly $2 million increase in
academic and student support expenditures over FY15 (includes some of the following
- Over $500,000 in strategic investments in math, statistics, and chemistry instructional
redesign moved into base budgets
- $575,000 additional investment in summer session courses and programs
- $150,000 invested in gerontology and dietetics programs
- $124,000 new investments in Nursing program development and expansion and $135,000
in the Doctorate of Nursing Practice
- $60,000 in continuing support of the Writing Center’s capacity and scope
- $75,000 in Physics laboratory upgrades
- $35 million new 400-bed residence hall serving first-year students ready for fall
- University of Choice—Once again, Montana State University enrolled a record number of students, 15,688 last fall, up 267 students, or 1.7 percent, from last year’s record. It is
the ninth time in the last 10 years that MSU has set an enrollment record. Additionally,
this year’s first-year class was the most accomplished, with the highest average SAT,
ACT and high school grade-point averages of incoming students. MSU continues to be
the school of choice for Montana’s best and brightest students: this year, 66 percent
of Montana high school seniors who received Montana University System honors scholarships chose to enroll at MSU.
- New Two-Year Degrees
- The Gallatin Valley is home to approximately 30 photonics and optics companies — the
highest per capita concentration of such companies in the U.S. — but skilled photonics
technicians are needed to grow the industry. A new Gallatin College MSU associate’s degree in photonics and laser technology will change that. The two-year program will prepare graduates to work as technicians
in laser optics and photonics companies.
- Demand for highly trained students in the Culinary Arts has led to development and
approval in 2015-16 of an Associates of Applied Sciences in Culinary Arts to be offered
through Gallatin College. Coupled with an interdisciplinary four-year curriculum in
Hospitality Management or as a stand-alone program, the Culinary Arts AAS will prepare
students for a leading industry in Montana and beyond.
- Associate’s-to-Master’s Degree—MSU’s College of Nursing started a new program allowing registered nurses with an associate’s degree and at least two years of nursing
experience to earn a master’s degree in nursing — all while continuing to live and
work in their home communities. Programs like this ultimately help improve patient
outcomes. The first group of students in the program from communities across Montana
began taking classes this spring semester.
- The Software Factory—In a collaborative win-win with industry, the Software Factory project puts a small team of computer science students into a real-world software
development setting with the goal of meeting a sponsor’s need. Students learn what it is like in the fast-paced world of professional computer development, where you work with your client to assess their need, plan a solution and then meet
the team’s deadlines.
- Outstanding Health Professions Preparation —Over the last five-year period, MSU students have enjoyed a 64 percent acceptance rate to medical schools, a 71 percent acceptance rate to dental schools, a 62 percent
acceptance rate to physician assistant programs, and an 88 percent acceptance rate
to other health professions programs including pharmacy, optometry and chiropractic
programs. This compares favorably to the national acceptance rate to allopathic medical
schools at 39 percent, to osteopathic medical schools at 35 percent, and to dental
schools at 50 percent.
- ‘Unbranded’—Creative experiences and disciplines at MSU impacted the award-winning movie “Unbranded,”
a feature-length documentary about the epic journey of four young Texas cowboys, who
ride 3,000 miles along the backbone of the Rocky Mountains from the Mexican to the
Canadian border on a string of 16 wild mustangs. The adventure was chronicled by MSU film graduate Phillip Baribeau, who directed and was the co-director of photography
of the documentary with fellow MSU graduate Korey Kaczmarek. The film was produced
by Dennis Aig, director of the MSU School of Film and Photography in the College of Arts and Architecture, and edited by Scott Chestnut, an MSU graduate.
- Student and Alumni Successes
- Josh Carter from Watertown, South Dakota, Zane Huttinga from Amsterdam, Montana, and
John Ryter from Hamilton, Montana, each received the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s premier scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences
and engineering. MSU has now produced 67 Goldwater scholars, keeping the university
one of the nation’s top institutions for number of recipients.
- Montana Duke Wilson of Poplar, Montana, and Elva Faye Agnes Dorsey, of Browning, Montana,
were selected as Udall Scholars in the Tribal Public Policy category. Wilson and Dorsey are among 60 students from
49 colleges and universities to have been selected as 2016 Udall Scholars.
- Levi Birky, the outgoing president of the MSU student body and a junior from Kalispell,
Montana, majoring in broad field social studies education, is MSU’s 12th Truman Scholar, one of the most prestigious national scholarships in the United States given to
college juniors with demonstrated leadership potential and commitment to public service.
- MSU School of Film and Photography graduate Eddie Roqueta recently won the College Television Award for Best Documentary and earned a primetime Emmy program mention for his film “Silencing The Thunder,” which details the lives of Yellowstone National
Park’s free-roaming bison as they stray onto land outside of the park. The College
Television Awards, formerly known as the Student Television Awards, were started in
1978 to recognize excellence in student work.
- Daniel Zizzamia, who earned his doctorate in history from MSU’s College of Letters
and Science last year, will be one of just a half-dozen scholars to join Harvard’s Environmental Fellows Program this fall. Zizzamia studies environmental history, specifically that of the
American West and how coal and fossil deposits have driven the civilization and identities
of people west of the Mississippi.
- Student and Alumni Recognition
- Jaimie Lynn Hensley, Michael Andrews, Antonio Wellman and Luke Scheeler, music technology
students at Montana State University, had their original musical compositions selected by jury for performance at national and international conferences, festivals and events this
year. “It’s a big achievement any time a student can get their work on a national
conference or festival,” said Keith Kothman, director of the MSU School of Music.
“But, it is an especially impressive accomplishment for these undergraduates. Usually,
these opportunities go to graduate students. Their selection shows the exceptional
quality we have in the School of Music--both students and their faculty teachers.”
- Lori St. Pierre of Havre, a recent graduate of Montana State University’s online addiction counseling graduate certificate program in the College of Education, Health and Human Development, was one of two people in the United States honored with the Outstanding Continuing Education Student Award
by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Born
and raised on Rocky Boy Reservation, St. Pierre faced health issues, disability and
myriad family commitments that hampered her from pursuing her education on many occasions.
But St. Pierre’s commitment to education, in spite of the challenges, provides inspiration for others who wish to achieve
- Detailed architectural drawings and historic research of a homestead on the Gallatin
River near Four Corners resulted in a national prize for seven Montana State University
architecture students. Graduate students taking professor Maire O’Neill’s course
in architecture documentation won second prize in the National Park Service’s Charles E. Peterson Prize for drawings of the Damon Gabriel homestead. The homestead was established in 1889,
and its rare two-story hand-hewn log barn was probably built earlier. MSU’s winning
team members were: Theresa Lindenau, Hannah Stroebe, Kate Tilleman, Chelsea Holling,
Jessica Proctor, Andrea Duroux and Urvi Shah.
- Montana State University music student Zach Maurer, a senior music education major,
was selected to participate in the conducting masterclass session at the Northwest Division of the American Choral Director’s Association conference,
one of only four students from the six-state region selected to be a full participant
/ student conductor in the undergraduate division. He is originally from Hastings,
- NIH Director Francis Collins, featured Josh Carter, an MSU undergraduate student in
the Honors College double majoring in mechanical engineering and microbiology from
Watertown, South Dakota, on his blog, including a write-up by Collins and a 5-minute video post under the title “Curious
about Computer Modeling of Proteins.” It is part of a great spring for Carter, who
was one of three MSU students to win a Goldwater Scholarship, the nation’s premier
scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences and engineering. Carter’s
research has resulted in a total of four high-impact scientific papers.
- It literally took an act of Congress to get Scott Thomas to return to school. Just weeks before he was due to start classes elsewhere, Thomas was diagnosed with
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“Last year, Congress passed the Steve Gleason Act, which allowed Medicare to pay for
eye-gaze computers for people like myself,” Thomas said. “Once I knew I could get
a computer, I knew it was my opportunity to get back in the game… After my diagnosis,
I never imagined I would graduate. Walking across the stage will be an extremely proud
moment for my loved ones and for me.”
- Melody Lindsay, a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Microbiology and
Immunology in the College of Agriculture and the College of Letters and Science who
wants to better understand early life on Earth and the potential for life on other
planets has received an Earth and Space Science Fellowship from NASA to allow her to continue sampling hot springs in the world-class laboratory known
as Yellowstone National Park. Besides examining the influence of hydrogen on microorganisms
that thrive in the extreme conditions of the Norris Geyser Basin and other thermal
areas, she will use her fellowship to analyze and present her findings.
- Montana State University alumnus Joseph Azzarelli, who earned a bachelor’s degree
in chemistry from MSU in 2010, won the $100,000 grand prize at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's 27th annual Entrepreneurship Competition
with a noninvasive, low-cost lung cancer screening technology that he played a key
role in developing. The "$100K," as the widely recognized competition is known, was
held in May, while Azzarelli was completing his doctorate in chemistry at MIT.
- Kristen Emmett, a doctoral student in MSU’s Department of Ecology in the College of
Letters and Science, was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Program Fellowship. At MSU, Emmett researches in Assistant Professor Ben Poulter’s Ecosystem Dynamics
Lab. Poulter has a dual appointment in the Department of Ecology and the Montana
Institute on Ecosystems. For her research, Emmett uses a computer model based on
how plants grow, compete and respond to disturbances to build “virtual” forests. She
then subjects her forests to different climate and greenhouse gas conditions to see
how the vegetation and fire regimes respond.
Two Montana State University students in the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship participated in an international business internship in Japan this summer that complements the college’s undergraduate curriculum and
experience, as part of the Starzen Internship program. Carlee Benson and Alex Paterson, both seniors, traveled to Tokyo to participate
in the experience, which is noted for its emphasis on cultural education and exchange.
The month-long internship is with the Starzen Company, Ltd., an international trading
company and meat manufacturer located in Tokyo.
Thanks to MSU’s Bridges to the Baccalaureate summer program and the Montana Apprenticeship Program, the transition from the small
tribal college or high school to the university will be easier for new students each
fall. Approximately 15 students, all American Indian or underrepresented minorities,
spend the summer in a research lab working alongside Montana State faculty, then showcase
their summer research projects at a symposium. For Native American students, it can
be daunting to leave the reservation, family, and familiar support systems. The summer
programs foster familiarity and confidence to make the transition, while building
research skills and intellectual curiosity.
Maire O’Neill’s architectural students earned a national prize for their drawings
of a historic local homestead. Photo courtesy Maire O’Neill
WWAMI Medical Education Program
The Software Factory puts computer science students into a real-world software development
MSU faculty, alumni and students from the “Unbranded” documentary crew.
MSU students Elva Dorsey, left, and Montana Wilson, were awarded the prestigious Udall
Scholarship from the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation. Both students
were selected in the Tribal Public Policy category.
Daniel Zizzamia will join Harvard's Environmental Fellows Program this fall.