By Tim Leeds
Enrollment is up in Montana State University-Northern's summer classes.
Chancellor Mike Rao said in a recent interview that enrollment was 13 percent higher than what was projected for budgeting purposes.
Rao said that, although summer enrollment could still go down, they at the university are hopeful that this increase is indicative of future enrollment. He said that there typically has been a relationship between summer increases and what the fall could bring.
Rao said several factors have probably helped with the enrollment. He said last year the institution began a larger advertisement and recruiting campaign, and it appears that additional exposure about offerings at MSU-Northern is helping to increase enrollment.
Rao said there has also been a greater presence by the whole university team in various activities statewide, which has helped with enrollment. He said efforts to increase retaining students through new and strengthened student services has also helped in the enrollment increases.
The university continues to increase its connections with other universities. Rao and Jim Potter, director of university relations, recently traveled to Canada, visiting the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary, Olds College north of Calgary, Lethbridge Community College (LCC) and Medicine Hat College (MHC), all in Alberta.
Rao said that articulation agreements in several technology areas, defining equivalent classes between the institutions, were signed with the agriculturally based Olds College. Rao said a student could transfer from Olds after two years and complete a baccalaureate degree at MSU-Northern as if the classes had been taken here. MSU-Northern already has such agreements with many community and tribal colleges in Montana, and Rao said he expects further agreements with the other Canadian colleges.
Many positions being vacated at MSU-Northern have recently been filled. Provost Roger Barber has agreed to remain in his position for a year while the search for a replacement for Rao as chancellor is conducted. Barber had previously submitted his resignation until Rao announced his leaving MSU-Northern to take the presidency of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich., effective July 1.
Dr. Will Rawn, current director of the Vande Bogart Library, has been appointed to replace Dr. Stephen Sylvester as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Sylvester is taking a position as head of a two-year campus in Alaska. Barber is expected to announce Rawn's replacement as director of the library during the week of July 19.
Dr. Curtis Smeby, associate professor of English, has agreed to serve as interim director of MSU-Northern in Great Falls. Dr. Richard Fisher is leaving that position to work as director of outreach for Montana State University-Billings.
Margaret Megs is the university's new employee relations specialist, and Robert Bentz is the new director of information technology services.
The position of Dean of The College of Education has not yet been filled. In his update, Rao wrote that a current faculty member might be appointed to serve a year in that position. Searches are also underway or soon to start for the positions of women's basketball coach, director of fiscal affairs and director of facilities.