> Office of the Provost
Strategic Planning and Budget Committee
Strategic Objectives for MSU-Bozeman
In this document, the members of the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee
(SPBC) are outlining for the campus community the strategic objectives
we have identified for the next two to five years. These measures, we believe,
will help the campus most readily achieve the longer-range goals already
articulated in the MSU Long-Range Plan, the Mission Statement, and Special
Review Committee Report. We recognize that there are costs to these goals,
that the proposals will require both reallocation and enhancement of resources,
and that MSU will not achieve all of these goals next year, perhaps not
even within this or the subsequent biennium. We also are aware that the
recommendations have implications for library and technological resources,
classified and professional staff, and facilities (among other areas) that
we are not addressing here. At this point, we want to inform you of our
thinking and engage you in discussion of the strategic plan. We will be
making specific budget recommendations to President Malone and the President's
Executive Council (PEC) once the legislative session has ended and after
we have received next year's enrollment and revenue projections. Since
much of that work involving the total MSU budget will occur over the summer
and early autumn, and since we want to have the benefit of your thinking
(and we hope your support) as we move forward, it is important that we
hear from you, and particularly from the various standing councils and
committees, before the end of April.
MSU-Bozeman as a Comprehensive University and a Research Institution
Underlying our recommendations is the assumption that MSU is and will
continue to be a comprehensive, public land grant university dedicated
to excellence in education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our
highest priorities are to offer a first-rate comprehensive educational
program, with an emphasis on active learning at every level, and to provide
all students with the opportunity to engage in research and creative activity.
Within a few years, we hope to be reclassified from a Carnegie Doctoral
Institution to a Carnegie Research Institution (currently defined, at the
lower level, as an institution that awards 50 or more doctoral degrees
each year and receives annually between $15.5-million and $40-million in
The SPBC has identified objectives central to these aims, some of which
may require a fundamental change in thinking at MSU. Each requires an assessment
of the impact on resources. Our comments below fall into two broad categories:
1) objectives designed to improve the educational experience at MSU and
integrate research and creative activity at every level and 2) recommendations
designed to provide the resources necessary to create and maintain excellence.
A. Improvement of the educational experience, in part through vertical
integration of scholarship from the undergraduate to the graduate and faculty
levels. We see our campus as a community of active learners and advocate
* Increasing the funding level in academic programs that have shown
substantial increases in student numbers, so that departments may offer
programs high in quality.
* Supporting capstone courses in all disciplines. Students in these
courses should have the opportunity to engage in research and creative
projects in all disciplines. Departments should have the requisite faculty
and resources to support small-group, hands-on experiences.
* Expanding first-year seminars. These seminars provide the initial
small-group experiences for students and should entail research and creative
* Instituting and evaluating a sophomore research/creativity experience,
in diverse forms as appropriate to various fields.
* Investing in graduate programs across campus with the goal of doubling
the number of degree-seeking graduate students within five years.
* Enhancing support for faculty who have few private and federal funding
sources, through the MONTS-like competitive grant program begun by the
VPR: the Scholarship and Creativity Grants for the Advancement of the Arts,
Humanities, and Social Sciences.
B. Resources to Create and Maintain Excellence in Learning
The SPBC recognizes that many academic departments do not have adequate
operations budgets to permit them to maintain high quality programs, nor
do non-academic units have the salaries and budgets they need in order
to adequately support the work of the campus. Improving this situation
is a top priority for the committee. In order to accomplish this and other
goals, MSU must reallocate and augment resources. The SPBC recommends the
* Creating budget flexibility in the Office of the Provost. The
SPBC believes that the Provost must have some flexibility to allow him
or her to invest in opportunities that will improve the educational experience
for students and faculty at MSU and suggests three shifts in policy.
1. An Academic Enhancement Fund. The Provost should establish an academic
enhancement fund to support new curricular initiatives, faculty development
(including, for example, travel and sabbaticals), interdisciplinary partnerships
in teaching and research and creative activities, and other active learning
opportunities for students and faculty.
2. Review of open faculty lines. Open faculty lines should revert to
the Provost for possible reallocation. An academic unit will have the first
opportunity to justify keeping a faculty line for programmatic needs or
to pursue new program directions, but deans and department heads must present
a case based on strategic planning rather than assume ownership.
3. Regular program review. The Provost should engage all deans, and
deans engage all department heads, in a regular on-going review of programs
and centers. These reviews will assess the strengths and needs of the programs
and encourage strategic planning at every level.
* Initiating regular reviews of non-academic programs and positions.
Other members of the PEC should engage non-academic units under their supervision
in reviews similar to the program and position reviews discussed above.
* Restructuring summer session to enhance revenues. The SPBC
believes that summer school represents an excellent resource for revenue
enhancement and for the improvement of academic programs. The SPBC recommends
developing a coherent plan to improve the summer offerings at MSU with
the goal of creating a revenue stream to fund other academic programs on
We look forward to your responses as we begin to work with the President
and PEC to prepare the 1999-2000 budget. Comments should be forwarded to
the SPBC c/o the Provost's Office by April 30.