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Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269

August 26, 2011

MSU Billings selects new dean for College of Technology

Longtime educator earned master’s degree at Eastern Montana College

photo of Dr. Marsha RileyMSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — An educator who earned her master’s degree in education from Eastern Montana College will be returning to the Yellowstone Valley to become the new dean at the Montana State University Billings College of Technology.

Dr. Rolf Groseth, chancellor at MSU Billings, announced Friday that Dr. Marsha Riley, who earned her master’s degree in 1992 at EMC (and is now MSU Billings), will be the new dean for the university’s two-year programs on its West End Billings campus.

Her selection as dean will now go before the Montana Board of Regents for review and final approval. She is expected to start in her job in late September. She follows Dr. John Cech, who left the university a year ago to become Deputy Commissioner for Two-Year and Community College Education for the Montana University System in Helena.  

Groseth said Riley’s work in educational technology and community college leadership makes her the perfect fit for MSU Billings.

“Dr. Riley has the depth and breadth of experience we were looking for when we put out a call for applicants for this job,” he said. “She understands we need to align the college’s goals with the workforce and educational needs of this community and I know she will do great things.”

Riley is currently the Dean of Academic Affairs at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, Colo. She has also spent time in administration at Mesa State College as vice president of Community College Affairs as well as some time as TRIO Outreach Educational Opportunity Center coordinator at the University of Wyoming. She has also been a faculty member in business and technology at Casper College.

She received her associate’s degree from Sheridan College in 1986, her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming in 1988, her master’s degree in education from EMC and her Ph.D. from Colorado State University.

She has administrative, student and community relations experience. She also has fundraising experience and has worked on leading service-learning initiatives.

“The MSUB College of Technology is a shining example of a higher education institution that knows how to connect the classroom with partnerships in both industry and business,” Riley said. “I am pleased to have been selected to join the innovative faculty and staff at the College of Technology.”

As the dean of the MSU Billings COT, Riley will be responsible for the leadership of faculty and programs that provide certificates and associate degrees to students in a wide range of programs. The COT is currently home to a spectrum of technical, energy-related and healthcare-related programs. With scholarship and workforce training support from the community, enrollment at the COT has grown from less than 500 in 2001 to more than 1,500 last fall.

“Outstanding work has been done here and with enhanced community sharing, we will become even more valued by the Yellowstone Valley,” she said.

Riley is stepping into her leadership role at the COT at a time of evolution for two-year programs. The Montana Board of Regents has approved the state’s first comprehensive two-year education mission and vision for the state’s public two-year colleges. The plan sets the stage for growth, diversification, and rebranding of Montana’s five colleges of technology, including the MSU Billings COT.

As dean, Riley will have an integral role in the statewide conversation as the implementation of that plan takes shape.

Making its home on a campus in Billings’ West End in Montana’s largest city, the COT is one of five colleges of MSU Billings.  The comprehensive regional university’s other colleges are the College of Allied Health Professions, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and the College of Education.

The university currently serves more than 5,300 students and fall semester classes begin Sept. 7.


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