The Montana Board of Regents took a break from making decisions about the whole state to listen to Havre this morning.
The community breakfast brought the regents together with a few dozen Hi-Line residents and community leaders. Billings Regent Major Robinson said it was one of the best attended community breakfasts he had seen.
Community members asked the regents about the progress on some projects and thanked them for help with getting others done.
Montana State University-Northern faculty member and Havre City Council member Janet Trethewey explained with Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian how the universities are nearly done with making course credits from all Montana schools as interchangeable as possible.
Christian said they have already consolidated 8,000 institution-specific courses down to a shared 2,000, “a monumental achievement. ”
Student Regent Joseph Thiel shared a personal example of a friend of his who lives in Bozeman, but was able to take a summer online class offered in Billings and have it added to his Bozeman total with one form.
Deputy Commissioner of Two-Year and Community College Education John Cech said Montana’s interchangeable credits are a model being looked to by neighboring western states.
Cole Chandler, of the Northern Foundation Board, thanked the regents for their help in moving forward with this summer’s renovation of Northern’s gym.
Northern Montana Hospital CEO and President Dave Henry said he anticipates “a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking” on the current discussion about Bullhook clinic’s possible move into Northern’s Donaldson Hall. He said he hoped the regents will support Northern Chancellor Jim Limbaugh in his decisions.
“We have a tendency to chew up our chancellors and spit them out, ” Henry said, “but we’d like Jim to stick around a while. ”
Rick Stevens, CEO of Hill County Electric and Triangle Communications, said he hopes to work with Northern to develop programs that will benefit both institutions.
Trethewey asked the regents to be careful in their decisions that seem to have unintended consequences for schools like Northern.
Limbaugh ended the breakfast by explaining the full curriculum review Northern is conducting and how exciting changes are just around the corner.
“We’re on the edge of something really special up here, ” Limbaugh said. “And its because of your support.
“It’s not the school it was, but I think it’s becoming the school you want. ”