Intentional Focus 1

Drive Transformational Learning Experiences Creating Outstanding Educational Outcomes for All Students

Montana State University students are challenged and changed by their active participation in high quality, innovative experiences at both the undergraduate and graduate level, becoming learned professionals and global citizens.

GOAL 1.1: Broaden access for underrepresented populations and increase academic success for all students through excellence in education.

As the state’s land-grant university, Montana State invites participation in exceptional higher education, widens participation of under-represented student populations, and improves student success outcomes overall.


2. Eighty percent of student financial need will be met by 2026, compared to the current 74%.A

3. Montana State University will increase the number of 1-year and 2-year degrees and certificates awarded by 50% by 2026 (to 360).A

4. Montana State University will increase the number of Dual Enrollment students by 40% by 2024 (to 700).B

5. Montana State University will increase developmental education and co-requisite course completion rates to 75% by 2026.A

6. Montana State University will increase retention (from 72% to 85%) and six-year graduation (from 48% to 60%) rates for all incoming Montana State students and will reduce disparities for students who are economically disadvantaged, first generation, veterans, adult learners, individuals with disabilities and from underrepresented races and ethnicities by 2026. Graduate persistence and graduation will also be measured and improved.A

7. Montana State University will increase the number of students who receive national and international awards, honors and prestigious scholarships.

GOAL 1.2: Expand high-quality graduate education

Montana State University will enroll and graduate more degree-seeking students at the graduate level and enhance the quality of graduate degree programs.


1. Montana State University will enhance its graduate education portfolio with appropriate balance across programs including the social sciences, humanities and arts.A

2. Montana State University will match up to 20 additional externally funded graduate research assistantships with institutionally supported and competitively awarded graduate research assistant appointments, aligned with Grand Challenge areas, annually by 2020.B

3. Montana State University will increase the number of research doctoral degrees (to 90 from 66), professional practice doctorates (to 30 from 25), and Master’s degrees (to 650 from 566) awarded annually by 2026.A

4. All graduate degree programs will undergo systematic review and, if appropriate, redesign to ensure that they are structured to meet the diverse career paths of today's students by 2026.A

GOAL 1.3: Implement evidence-based high quality, high impact teaching and learning practices for every student

Montana State University improves the curricular and co-curricular experience with demonstrated educational practices integrated with discovery and engagement that enhance learning and develop engaged global citizens and informed professionals.


1. Each student at the undergraduate level will engage in at least one sustained curricular or co-curricular high quality, high impact practicei, demonstrated to positively affect educational or personal development, each year.A

2. The university will demonstrate that all graduating seniors have achieved Core learning outcomesiiand career competenciesiii by 2026.A

3. All undergraduate students will use e-portfolios for sustained reflection on curricular, co-curricular and dynamic learning by 2024.C (discontinued)

4. At least 70% of undergraduate students will demonstrate sustained campus and community engagement by annually participating in one significant student engagement activity or leadership role, and attending 20 or more university events annually by 2026.A

A Amended 2023

B Completed

i High quality high impact practices include: 

First year seminars and experiences, common intellectual experiences, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, collaborative assignments and projects, undergraduate research, global learning experiences, diversity experiences, service learning, community-engaged projects, internships and co-op experiences, capstone courses and projects (AAC&U).

iiThe learning outcomes for Core 2.0 are:

Demonstrate critical thinking abilities; Prepare and deliver an effective oral presentation; Demonstrate analytical, critical, and creative thinking in written communication; Demonstrate themselves to be reflective writers; Show willingness to take risks in new writing situations; Collaborate with other writers; Demonstrate ability to read rhetorical situations; Demonstrate control of situation-appropriate conventions of writing; Integrate source material in their writing; Interpret and draw inferences from mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, diagrams or tables; Represent mathematical information numerically, symbolically and visually; Employ quantitative methods in symbolic systems such as, arithmetic, algebra, or geometry to solve problems; An analytical and critical understanding of diversity within societies, nations, and cultures; Knowledge of a language other than English and the culture(s) that speak(s) that language; An analytical and critical understanding of particular, traditionally marginalized, or less frequently studied societies, nations, and/or cultures and an understanding of cultural difference in relation to those societies, nations, and/or cultures; Explain how science contributes to analyzing complex problems in the contemporary world; Describe the scientific method, the kinds of questions asked by scientists and the methods used to explore those questions; Demonstrate critical thinking, writing and oral communication skills; Work effectively in small groups; Understanding of disciplinary methods, including the kinds of questions asked in the discipline and the methods that practitioners use to explore those questions; Demonstrate critical thinking skills within the field; Demonstrate communication skills; Locate relevant information from broad and diverse sources; Apply critical and creative thinking to synthesize information; Produce a scholarly product based on both existing information and student effort (e.g., analysis, synthesis, design, etc.); Demonstrate the ability to successfully collaborate as a member of a team (when applicable); Demonstrate an understanding of the responsible conduct of research. (Core 2.0 General Curricular Requirements

iii NACE describes career competencies as:

Critical Thinking/Problem Solving: Exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.

Oral/Written Communications: Articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization. The individual has public speaking skills; is able to express ideas to others; and can write/edit memos, letters, and complex technical reports clearly and effectively.

Teamwork/Collaboration: Build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints. The individual is able to work within a team structure, and can negotiate and manage conflict.

Digital Technology: Leverage existing digital technologies ethically and efficiently to solve problems, complete tasks, and accomplish goals. The individual demonstrates effective adaptability to new and emerging technologies.

Leadership: Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals, and use interpersonal skills to coach and develop others. The individual is able to assess and manage his/her emotions and those of others; use empathetic skills to guide and motivate; and organize, prioritize, and delegate work.

Professionalism/Work Ethic: Demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and time workload management, and understand the impact of non-verbal communication on professional work image. The individual demonstrates integrity and ethical behavior, acts responsibly with the interests of the larger community in mind, and is able to learn from his/her mistakes.

Career Management: Identify and articulate one's skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals, and identify areas necessary for professional growth. The individual is able to navigate and explore job options, understands and can take the steps necessary to pursue opportunities, and understands how to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.

Global/Intercultural Fluency: Value, respect, and learn from diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. The individual demonstrates, openness, inclusiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to interact respectfully with all people and understand individuals’ differences.

c Discontinued