Montana State University - Bozeman (MSU) is a land-grant
institution authorized by the Morrill Act of 1862. MSU derives its support from
biennial state legislature appropriations, student tuition and fees, federal
land-grant income, and private and public grants.
Nearly 12,000 students attend MSU. Eighty-eight percent (88%)
of these students are working towards their first bachelor's degree, 8% are
working towards a doctorate or master's, and 4% are taking courses beyond their
Students can be found
from each of the fifty (50) states and from seventy-five (75) foreign
Montana residents comprise
nearly three-quarters of the total enrollment, and nearly one-quarter of the
students are over twenty-five (25) years old.
There are over 650 faculty members in residence at MSU.
Seventy-five percent (75%) hold terminal
degrees in their fields, and over two-thirds hold doctorate degrees.
The student/faculty ratio is about 19.5 to
The 1,170-acre campus is the setting for over forty (40)
classroom and administrative buildings, ten (10) residence halls, four (4)
cafeterias, a Health and Physical Education Complex, the Museum of the Rockies,
and the Student Union Building.
Centennial Mall, located in the center of campus, is the primary pedestrian way
and is used by students for studying, eating, and outdoor socializing.
MSU is located in Bozeman, a city of approximately 30,000
Bozeman lies in the heart of
the Gallatin Valley which is a rich farmland surrounded by the mountains of
altitude is 4,800 feet which brings temperate, dry summer temperatures (65-85
degrees with 15 degrees cooler at night), as well as dry cold temperatures in
the winter ( 0-45 degrees).
of 83.5 inches of snow falls each year.
Southwestern Montana is full of rivers, streams, lakes, and mountains,
providing year-round recreational opportunities.
THE CONTEMPORARY CONTEXT
Since MSU's last full-scale evaluation in 1990, a number of
major institutional changes have taken place.
Because these have impacted nearly every aspect of the institution, they
are briefly introduced here as a means of setting the context for this
All of the changes are
fully referenced and discussed where appropriate within the following
In 1994 the Montana University System (MUS), per the Board
of Regents (BOR), was restructured into two (2) designated
comprehensive universities - MSU and the University of Montana (UM). MSU became the lead
institution and administrative center for three (3) smaller affiliates - MSU-Billings,
MSU- Northern (Havre), and the MSU College of Technology in Great
As the Restructuring was phased in, the BOR eliminated
previous Role and Scope Statements (1995).
Prior to this time, these statements had defined the specific types of
programs and degrees each unit was allowed to offer.
All units within the MUS now have more autonomy in their
missions, strategic plans, and academic offerings.
A new Mission Statement was required, and MSU's new statement was
officially approved by the BOR in 1997.
A Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) was formed in 1993, and
it presented a plan that was approved and endorsed by the campus in early
The purpose of the plan was to
serve as a means to implement the University's Mission.
In 1997, the Special Review Committee (SRC) was formed to look
at all university operations in response to pressing budgetary issues.
The SRC's charge was to search for solutions
to serious budget issues.
came to a much broader conclusion, however, determining that the planning and
budgeting processes of the institution needed major revision.
The SRC recommended the formation of a new
committee that would be charged to concurrently look at planning and budget
The Strategic Planning and Budget Committee (SPBC) was
subsequently formed in 1998.
was charged with making strategic planning and budgeting recommendations to the
President that were in concert with funding priorities and the academic mission
of the institution.
Also in 1998 the Long Range Plan (LRP) was revised with a
specific review of the Program and Process Goals.
Care was taken to coordinate all changes with the work of the
Two (2) external mandates have occurred since 1990, each
resulting in changes to the structure and pedagogy of undergraduate and
First, in 1991 the
BOR mandated a change from quarters to semesters.
In the process of the conversion, each degree offering was
thoroughly reviewed and assessed for currency and viability.
The second substantive change, occurring in 1996 as part of
the Restructuring plan, also affected the structure and pedagogy of the
Four (4) goals
were established: "getting in," "getting through," "getting a job," and "paying the
" These goals resulted in raising
entry standards, developing an aggressive advising program, designing all undergraduate
degrees to be a maximum of 120 credits, simplifying core requirements for
transfer students from other MUS units, and providing the option of a
In support of the effectiveness of the academic programs, the
Assessment and Outcomes Committee (A&O) was formed in 1996 to serve in an
advisory capacity to the Provost.
A&O oversees a campus-wide program to assess student learning and outcomes
in general education and the undergraduate majors. The development and
systematic review of program Assessment Plans and Assessment Summaries now has
capstone courses have been established for every academic program. These
courses serve as a means for students to creatively analyze, synthesize, and
evaluate learned knowledge in a professional setting.
There have been definite changes in the student population
Foremost, there has
been sustained growth in the student population - the current head count is nearly
15% higher than 1990.
students now comprise over 32% of the student population, compared to 25% in
The number of students above
traditional age (over 25), however, has declined.
The percentage was over 28% in 1990, but is now just over
23%. Only gender distributions have remained consistent - 45% female and 55% male.
The biggest impact on faculty since the 1990 accreditation has
been the institution of the 1995 Productivity, Quality and Outcomes Agreement
At the same time the Restructuring
plan was being implemented, Montana's Governor presented a plan
for a "New Partnership" with higher education.
All MUS institutions were invited to identify ways to reward efficiency,
productivity, and positive results in higher education.
MSU was particularly affected by this
challenge because, unlike the majority of the institutions in the MUS, MSU does
not have collective bargaining agreements for faculty.
MSU responded with the PQO Agreement, a
demonstration of the institution's commitment to increasing the effectiveness
of the University to better serve the state.
The Agreement established instructional goals very much in concert with
the goals of the Restructuring.
Ultimately faculty workloads were affected - the PQO called for a 15%
increase in a specific faculty teaching load measure over a four (4)-year period
In return, faculty would
receive salary increases commensurate with competitive market levels.
The biggest change in The Libraries has been the transition to
an electronic infrastructure.
strong optical fiber connection has been accompanied by an equally strong
instructional program designed to prepare faculty and students to use
information resources effectively. The Libraries' Web site is the access point
for all library resources and services, including the catalog and holdings of
the four (4) MSU campuses, three (3) tribal colleges, one (1) public community
college, and one (1) private college. Electronic resources include databases,
journals, reserves, user forms for loans and acquisitions, and instructional
The 1994 Restructuring, as discussed earlier in this section,
has impacted nearly every aspect of the institution.
result of the Restructuring was the re-titling in 1994 of the MUS
units. Montana State University became Montana State University - Bozeman; Eastern Montana
College became Montana State University - Billings, and
Northern Montana College became Montana State University -
In 1991, MSU inaugurated its tenth president, who continues to
serve the institution.
There has been
turnover in positions at the vice presidential level.
Three (3) previous chief academic officers are now presidents at land-grant
institutions, including MSU's current president. Two (2) previous
chief financial officers moved to the same positions at larger land-grant
Classified salaries have fallen behind inflation by 19% since
1990. These employees are represented by eleven (11) collective bargaining
units, and are paid in accordance with the State Pay Plan established by the
state legislature. A recent agreement is a beginning step for remedying this
MSU has been faced by significant fiscal challenges in the
State funding levels have
been static, therefore, requiring the University to be much more dependent on
tuition and fee revenues.
same period of time, the PQO Agreement was made, allowing for a 6.9% increase
in faculty salaries over a four (4)-year period.
Operations budgets for colleges and departments, however,
remained static or were reduced.
Grants and Contracts (G&C) activities have experienced
extraordinary growth over the last decade.
In 1990, sponsored programs totaled $17,000,000.
That figure reached $50,000,000 in 1998.
The MSU Foundation has hired eight (8) campus-based
development officers, one (1) for each of the seven (7) colleges plus one (1) for
The role these officers
play is to assist colleges in extramural fundraising to help offset declines in
In the past decade the university's physical plant has seen
more growth and activity than any other time since World War II.
Over $172,000,000 in capital construction
has occurred since 1990, and over 1,000 construction projects have been
Thirty percent (30%) of the
projects have been state funded; the remainder have been supported by Auxiliaries,
research grants, and private donations.
Two (2) new academic buildings, the Engineering/Physical
Sciences Building and the Ag BioSciences Building, were completed.
Total campus building gross square footage
has increased 8%, and classroom space has increased 12.5%.
The Centennial Mall project, funded entirely
by donations, was begun in 1993 in celebration of MSU's 100th anniversary.
This project was completed
The state has not kept up with funding for maintenance and
repair of existing facilities.
Currently, accumulated deferred maintenance on the campus exceeds
As stated earlier, all elements of the Self-Study discussed
here are addressed in much greater detail within the Self- Study text. This
general overview is designed to set the framework for the entire body of work.