Dear Colleagues,

Montana State University's Strategic Plan, Mountains & Minds: Learners & Leaders has six goals: Learning, Discovery, Engagement, Integration, Access and Stewardship. Now in its third year, the plan has guided MSU in registering tremendous progress in the objectives tracked under the goals of Learning, Discovery and Engagement. Among other successes, MSU has led the state in improved student enrollment, retention and graduation rates; MSU has attracted faculty of national and international caliber; and, the institution dedicated 2013-14 to celebrate The Year of Engaged Leadership.

In order for us to continue strengthening MSU on a consistent basis, it will be important to identify measures and initiatives that will promote sustainability and enable the attainment of the vision contained in the strategic plan. Therefore, in order to better serve the goals of Learning, Discovery and Engagement, I am proposing that, starting this academic year, we focus on improving and modernizing processes and organizational structures to better support faculty, students and staff. The final goal is to buttress the academic core of the university, thereby continuing to build an even better and stronger MSU.

Today I am proposing we work together on UPdate MSU, an institutional project composed of 12 Working Groups addressing the following goals:

  1. Free up resources currently tied to administrative duties and reallocate them to the Learning, Discovery and Engagement goals of the strategic plan.
  2. Better coordinate functions across departmental lines and diminish the duplication of efforts.
  3. Examine economies of scale to enhance administrative efficiency and effectiveness.

These UPdate MSU Working Groups have been established and are charged with recommending specific actions. The membership of the committees covers the full range of students, faculty and staff participation. Each Working Group has a leader, who you should feel free to contact if you have questions. The Working Groups and their membership are listed below. [See the Working Groups]

Our UPdate MSU Working Groups will enhance and prioritize some of the main areas of institutional improvement. Through our OpenMSU program, three years ago we initiated a number of initiatives that will maximize institutional efficiency, effectiveness, as well as job satisfaction. Some of these projects are:

  • Electronic Document Management – Reduce paper-based processes and paper-based file retention and storage.
  • Shared Service Model – Create a structure and environment where shared service operations for financial, accounting and human resources functions can be successful.
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Planning – Create a plan to mitigate risks associated with potential infrastructure impacts from natural or man-made disasters.

We are proud of MSU's progress and many accomplishments in research, teaching and service. That fact notwithstanding, we have not had an opportunity for our support processes to undergo a thorough update in a number of years. Now is the time to look at the way we organize and carry out these processes to better serve our students and faculty for the advancement of our great university. I count on your participation and support of UPdate MSU.


Waded Cruzado
Waded Cruzado