By Tim Leeds
A timeline and plan of actions were discussed at a public forum on program review recommendations for Montana State University-Northern Student Union Building Ballroom last night.
The forum, sponsored by the ASMSUN Student Senate, was held to provide members of the campus and the community an opportunity to present their views and explore options regarding the university's recommendations for program review. The forum was facilitated by Dr. Kevin Brown, assistant professor of community service and communications at the university.
The program review, mandated by the the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, resulted in recommendations for elimination or alteration of 20 programs at the university.
After the board approved the recommendations on March 23, Ed Jasmine, chair of the meeting, said the board would consider amendments to the recommendations after hearing students and faculty address the topic the following day.
At the forum, Mike Rao, chancellor of the university, said March 21 was set as the deadline for a letter with revisions to the recommendations. He said this date was chosen after discussions with the Commissioner Richard Crofts and Deputy Commissioner Joyce Scott on how to respond to Jasmine's request to provide adequate opportunity for student input into the process.
Rao said he hoped the students and faculty would be able to provide him with their recommendations by April 15, allowing enough time to discuss what will be included in the letter and compose the final draft before the deadline.
Brown compiled lists of reasons programs should be kept and actions that could be taken while people at the forum presented their opinions and ideas. Some of the items listed included newness of programs being eliminated, need for the programs at the university, demand for graduates from the programs, uniqueness of programs in the state, and the number of students enrolled in programs being cut.
Many students, faculty and community members presented at the forum. Rao, Provost Roger Barber and Regent Lynn Hamilton responded to some of the questions and explained how the process worked and some of the justifications for recommendations made.
Rao said while he is willing to work with the groups on the revisions, he prefers that they are student and faculty driven.
The three largest concerns raised at the forum regarded the electrical engineering technology program, the biology program and the metals technology program. People also addressed the elimination of the water quality minor, mathematics minor, English program and other programs.
By the end of the meeting, students from the programs were asked to work with Cameron Worstell, professor in the metals program, and other faculty from that department to propose revisions for those recommendations; Trygve Magelssen, a student in the electrical engineering program, and faculty from that department to propose revisions for those recommendations; and David Christianson, a biology major, and Reno Parker, professor in the biology department, and other department faculty to propose revisions to those recommendations.
Students who feel other departments are being overlooked in this revision process should speak to the faculty from those departments to explore the possibility of revisions to the recommendations in those departments.