University Relations and Communications

Interim chancellor outlines vision for coming year

August 25, 2010


Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Following a year of accreditation successes, Montana State University Billings is well positioned to forge new relationships, shape a strong future and build student success, Interim Chancellor Rolf Groseth said Wednesday.


Speaking to about 300 faculty and staff at the annual university-wide open meeting, Groseth said his vision for MSU Billings in the coming year includes strengthening relationships and collaborations so that the university can take on the attributes of an embedded institution in Montana’s largest city.


The speech served as the kick-off to the 2010-11 academic year for faculty and staff. Students begin moving into residence halls on Sunday, Sept. 5 and classes begin on Wednesday, Sept. 8. As interim chancellor, Groseth will take over as the CEO of MSU Billings as the search continues for a replacement for Chancellor Ron Sexton, who will retire on Aug. 31.


Groseth congratulated the faculty and staff for good work in 2009-10 on attaining accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business for the College of Business and on work by the College of Education for a review by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.


Both of those important visits — as well as an accreditation review for the Department of Music and updated evaluation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities — are major undertakings, Groseth said. Successful completion of all shows a level of commitment that is admirable.


It’s fitting that Montana’s largest city and center of finance have an accredited business school, he said. And it makes sense that the city that is home to the largest public school district has a strong college of education. But the drive to excellence shouldn’t stop there, he said, noting the university should build on those successes in the community and the state to advance stronger collaborations and relationships.


Interim Chancellor Rolf Groseth talks with the new baseball coach“MSU Billings can serve the business community to an even greater extent and the two can have an even greater role in elevating the profile of the university in the state,” he said, noting accomplishing such a task is evidence that MSU Billings is “a university not just located in the city, but of the city.”


To that end, Groseth said he will be forming a committee that will work on a legislative agenda for the 2011 session. He said he will encourage the Legislature to support funding a new science building and increased salaries for faculty and staff. The MSU Billings science building, constructed in 1947, has had small renovations over the years, but the lab and classroom spaces are out of date. Failing to address those needs, he said, hurts student and faculty recruitment.


Noting that “every one of us” has a role to play in creating an atmosphere conducive to positive faculty/student interaction, Groseth encouraged faculty and staff take steps to form students who will be successful in whatever endeavor they choose.


Equating higher education to the construction of a cathedral, the faculty and staff should view their roles as something greater than an individual job. They may not see the ultimate achievements of the students they educate and serve, but should believe it will happen. 

“We should view ourselves not as layers of stone, but as builders of cathedrals,” he said.


Based in Montana’s healthcare, financial and energy hub, MSU Billings is a comprehensive regional university with an enrollment of more than 5,000 students. The university’s five colleges provide two-year, four-year and graduate degrees in more than 100 academic areas and features 21 programs that are available totally online.


PHOTO ABOVE: Dr. Rolf Groseth, interim chancellor at Montana State University Billings, talks with new Yellowjackets baseball coach Rob Bishop after Wednesday’s university-wide open meeting at the MSU Billings main campus. Groseth will be serving as interim CEO of the Billings university until a successor is found for Dr. Ron Sexton, who retires as chancellor on Aug. 31.