Seed grants promote outreach and engagement between the university and the community through pilot projects, research, service learning and education. The program is designed to bring MSU faculty, staff and students together with local and regional partners to address the needs of Montana’s communities.

This was the fourth round of funding by MSU’s Outreach and Engagement Council since the council began its seed grant program in 2015.

Read the MSU News press release about 2018 recipients

Connect to an MSU Music Teacher

Connect to an MSU Music Teacher, proposed by Beth Antonopulos of the MSU School of Music, is a pilot project that allows high school students from Circle (a rural northeastern Montana community of 600 people) to receive music lessons via the Internet from MSU student musicians. Recognizing that rural communities often have few opportunities for students to access music lessons, the CMMT project will use interactive technologies to offer free weekly lessons to students in Circle.

Upper-division MSU students, supervised by faculty, will learn to teach one-and-one and will engage with a musical community far removed from campus. The pilot project will allow participants to compare online teaching to in-person teaching and to make recommendations for software platforms and pedagogy for future efforts. MSU students will also gain studio teaching experience, a particularly beneficial skill for those who plan to become professional performers.

Changing Conversations in Conservation

Changing Conversations in Conservation, submitted Mark Fiege of the MSU Department of History and Philosophy, is a collaboration with the non-profit Extreme History Project to shed light on under-represented voices in conservation. MSU students from The Last Best Place Collective will develop a traveling banner exhibit, public lectures, walking tours and community dialogue events that recognize the voices of conservation that have typically been marginalized or under-recognized. The project seeks to open people’s minds as to who was, is, and could be part of the conservation community. In particular, it will seek to recognize the voices of people who are –and always have been—on the land.

The Last Best Place Collective is an interdisciplinary group of undergraduate and graduate students in history, environmental studies, American studies and Native American studies. The group meets weekly and seeks ways to engage in inclusive local and regional collaborations surrounding land and history. The Extreme History Project is dedicated to public history and the conservation of historical and archaeological places. The organization strives to include more inclusive historical narratives. The resources created will be presented to the public via campus and community events such as Bozeman’s Music on Main or the Art Walk.

Financial and Legal Tools for Alzheimer’s/Dementia Caregivers Facing “Double Planning"

Financial and Legal Tools for Alzheimer’s/Dementia Caregivers Facing “Double Planning,” was proposed by Marsha Goetting, professor and MSU Extension family economics specialist. In partnership with several organizations in Valley County, the project team will develop an in-depth program for caregivers of a loved one with Alzheimer’s. The project will help caregivers complete two specific documents: financial power of attorney and health care power of attorney – not only for themselves, but also for the loved one with Alzheimer’s. The program model for Valley County could then be used for other communities that want to provide legal and financial education for the 50,000 caregivers across Montana.

The organizations partnering with Extension are the Senior and Long-term Care Aging Services Bureau, Montana Department of Health and Human Services, AARP-Montana, the Montana Geriatric Education Center, the University of Montana, and the Alzheimer’s Association-Montana Chapter. The project also involves high school and MSU students. Valley County 4-H members will examine a 4-H curriculum that helps youth better communicate with a grandparent or other relative who has Alzheimer’s. These students will also help publicize the workshops in their community. MSU students who are working towards their gerontology certificate will also participate; some are working at a Valley County long-term care facility during the summer.

Gallatin College Skills to Service

Gallatin College Skills to Service was submitted by Stephanie Gray of Gallatin College in partnership with the Human Resources Development Council of Bozeman. The goal of Skills to Service is to match Gallatin College students with community service opportunities that benefit low income or working poor individuals and families. Students will be carefully matched with projects that are relevant to the skills they are learning in their academic programs of study.

Gallatin College students will launch each project by meeting with HRDC staff to discuss their needs, including budget, equipment, materials or other required personnel. The students will then actively plan, design and implement a project, working alongside faculty, HRDC staff and community members. The program hopes to place 60 Gallatin College students in various service projects.

Gallatin College Manufacturing Metrology Kits for High Schools

Gallatin College Manufacturing Metrology Kits for High Schools, was submitted by Aubrin Heinrichs, CNC machining program director at Gallatin College MSU. Metrology is the science of measuring, wrote Heinrichs, and the ability to use advanced measuring equipment is an important skill for STEM workers, which will be particularly beneficial to Montana’s growing manufacturing industry.

Working closely with career and technical education teachers, the project will develop hands-on kits that feature machined parts, CAD drawings and detailed written or video instructions. High school students can then learn to use basic measuring tools, interpret the instructions and practice making the measurements against a known standard. Gallatin College students will develop the initial parts and mechanical drawings and train the high school teachers and students to use the kits.

“This program would dovetail nicely with my classes in metals technology, woods technology and drafting,” wrote Mike Houghton of Manhattan Schools. “Accurate, hands-on measuring and spatial visualization are key to what I am teaching.” Houghton added that the program would also prepare students for continuing their education at Gallatin College or other programs in the state.

Rural Voices on the Big Screen: Connecting Teachers and Students Through Film

Rural Voices on the Big Screen: Connecting Teachers and Students Through Film was proposed by Allison Wynhoff Olsen, assistant professor of English education and director of the Yellowstone Writing Project. The project will connect teachers and students across Montana and beyond through a partnership with the International Youth Silent Film Festival.

“Teachers working in rural and remote areas have limited access to resources, as their geographic locations can make collaboration difficult,” wrote Olsen. The Rural Voices on the Big Screen project will create a supportive and resource-rich network for teachers across the Yellowstone region whose students are creating silent films to submit to the international competition. The network will support teachers as they guide students through the rigorous and complex process of multimedia writing, filming and editing.

MSU pre-service English teachers will lead training opportunities and help develop the curriculum for rural teachers. These students will also benefit by growing their own professional networks as they connect with practicing teachers from communities across Montana.

Gaming for College Success: Indigenizing College Transition Board Game

Gaming for College Success: Indigenizing College Transition Board Game is a project proposed by Tricia Seifert, associate professor and department head of Education. Seifert had worked previously with MSU student game developers to create a board game called Tabletop University that demystifies university jargon and introduces the programs and services available on college campuses to support student success. The goal was to support high school students with their questions and concerns about transitioning to college.

The project team will work in partnership with Fort Peck Community College and high schools in Brockton, Poplar, Wolf Point and Frazer to make the game more relevant for students from the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes. By adding an indigenous perspective, the game mechanics and story will ideally better resonate with the situations encountered by youth on the Fort Peck Reservation. The team hopes to better understand Fort Peck reservation students’ post-secondary aspirations and how the process of developing an indigenized version of a college transition board game may influence those aspirations.

“(The proposal) will be a wonderful support/resource for students who are entering college, especially for Native American students whose retention rates are alarmingly low,” wrote Haven Gourneau, president of Fort Peck Community College. “Nearly 50 percent of all Native American freshmen who enter college do not return the next year. Engaging students in initiatives such as the Board Game will provide them with valuable information and tools that can help them attain their educational and personal goals.”

Previous Recipients: 2015-2021