Standard 1.A.1—Mission and Goals
MSU Billings' mission has not changed since its inception as a normal school in 1927: to provide a quality educational experience for students through excellence in faculty, administration, staff and services. The mission statement, however, has evolved. After the 1998 NWCCU review, the mission statement published by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) grew in length with necessary changes in higher education and institutional initiatives. As a result, the mission statement, when printed, was nearly two pages in length. Fall 2005, MSU Billings began an institutional review of our purpose, mission, vision, core values and strategic initiatives. The process for this review involved the University community. Initiated by the Standards 1/6/9 subcommittee, the process included dissemination of drafts through e-mail to the University as a whole, three summer pizza lunches at various campus locations — the College of Business (COB), the College of Technology (COT) and the Library — and a display with opportunity for discussion and comments at the 2006 Back to School Conference.
During AY 2006-2007, all divisions/units within the University aligned their master plans with the University Strategic Initiatives. Strategic planning is ongoing at this University with the strategic planning process evolving for more than 14 years. Units with master plan alignments include the following: Academic Affairs, Administrative Services, Alumni Relations, Intercollegiate Athletics, Facilities Services, Graduate Studies, Grants and Sponsored Programs, Information Technology and Institutional Research, Library, Public Service Units — KEMC/Public Radio and the Montana Center on Disabilities (MCD) — and Student Affairs. As part of the University Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) effort begun fall 2005, Academic Affairs required annual reports from each programmatic unit and each College. These annual reports address alignment with the Academic Affairs Master Plan, progress on annual goals and goal setting for the coming academic year. The Annual Reports serve as a model for other University divisions as all units, whether academic, administrative or student affairs, strive to come into alignment with University initiatives and annually assess their progress toward unit goals. The MSU Billings Mission, Vision and Strategic Initiatives reflect and relate to the Montana University System Strategic Plan and System Wide Initiatives.
The Mission Document chart includes MSU Billings Core Purpose, Mission, Core Values, Strategic Initiatives and University Divisions. Division alignment with the University Strategic Initiatives is included in the Exhibits.
MONTANA BOARD OF REGENTS STRATEGIC PLAN
Goal I: Increase educational attainment of Montanans
Goal II: Assist in the expansion and improvement of the economy
Goal III: Improve institutional efficiency and effectiveness
The Core Purpose, Mission, Vision and Core Values and Strategic Initiatives are subject to review and approval by the University community and by the Montana Board of Regents. With approval, the recent revisions are being included in catalogs according to the two-year catalog revision cycle.
Unit plans are reviewed annually. As previously stated, the Academic Affairs Annual Report process serves as a model for other University divisions. The University Strategic Initiatives are reviewed annually by the Chancellor’s Cabinet, and changes are disseminated throughout the University for review, discussion and incorporation into Unit Master Plans.
As the Annual Report process has been implemented, it has evolved from a descriptive narrative to a more analytical review of each division’s alignment with University Initiatives and purpose within the context of the University. The CQI co-chairs meet with unit leaders responsible for producing the annual reports. These meetings serve to guide the review process, promoting understanding, supporting division self-analysis, and gaining insight necessary for continuing refinement of the process.
MSU Billings University Strategic Initiatives have evolved over time with faculty, staff, administrative and student input, review and revision. Concurrent with this evolution have been review and re-allocation of resources to meet the changing University goals. Examples include dedicating resources to online course delivery, a downtown University presence, initiation of the College of Allied Health Professions and enhancement of the College of Technology. Online program/course delivery meets the changing life needs of our students. The Downtown Campus facilitates partnerships with the Billings’ business community. The CAHP coordinates with Billings’ growing medical services and facilities. The COT, which became a part of our University with the 1994 Montana University System re-organization, came to us as a vocational-technical center. To better serve the postsecondary needs of the Billings community, MSU Billings set a goal of broadening the mission of the COT to increase the breadth of programming and services offered by the college to be reflective of what would be found in a community college. Initiatives for AY 2008-2009 include workforce development across the life/career span and meeting the educational and scheduling needs of adult learners.
Maintaining the foundations of the institution while attempting to meet current student demands and move toward the future has not been an easy or smooth process. Until the current biennium, the University was funded through student FTE generation. MSU Billings’ traditional programs maintain stable student FTEs. Maintenance, however, does not serve to fund new programs or initiatives that could result in FTE growth. The result was constant tension between stability and growth. Review of the FTE funding model by the BOR with constituency representation has resulted in moving to a base budget model. The base budget model provides stable funding on which MUS units can depend as they develop and implement initiatives.
MSU Billings has used resources to purchase or lease buildings in locations other than the original East Campus and additional West Campus COT. Sites in Red Lodge, Mont., and in downtown Billings serve institutional efforts to reach out to constituencies beyond traditionally aged university students.
Evidence: Standard Seven—Finance Required Documents and
Required Exhibits; Standard Eight—Physical Resources; 8.4 Facilities
Services Master Plan
All units of MSU Billings have aligned their goals to the University Strategic Initiatives. This alignment guides admission to programs, selection of faculty and resource deliberations. Futures planning has its foundation in both goal accomplishment/revision and current educational trends/needs.
- 1.1 Mission Document;
- 1.3 Annual Reports
MSU Billings supports two public service units on campus — KEMC/Yellowstone Public Radio and the Montana Center on Disabilities (MCD). Both units align with the mission of the institution. Public radio serves to inform and educate the rural reaches of Montana.
MSU Billings is the only public institution in the state to offer both undergraduate and graduate degrees in special education and rehabilitation counseling. The MCD, founded to provide direct educational services to individuals with cerebral palsy, has had to adjust service delivery as individuals with disabilities have been included in the mainstream of society. The MCD has extended direct services to include service to students with disabilities both on and off campus, as well as providing continuing professional development opportunities for educators through Montana.
- 1.1 Mission Document;
- 1.10 Montana Center on Disabilities: Focusing on Abilities
When MSU Billings considers a substantive change, the responsibility of working with both the Montana Board of Regents and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is understood. An example is our COB/Anjo Japan collaboration to offer preparation for becoming a certified public accountant through a combination of online and coursework onsite in Japan for Japanese students. Due to changes in Japanese administrative ownership and oversight, the Anjo program is being discontinued and is in the process of “teaching out” those students in process. Program closure is scheduled to be final by September 2008.
Evidence: 1.11 Anjo Agreement
- Annual Reports
- General Bulletin
- 2.5 Graduate Catalog