University Relations and Communications

Two-year education issues discussed in listening sessions next week at MSU Billings

September 27, 2011



Dr. John Cech, Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education, 406.444.0316
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657.2269


College of Technology campus

MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Montana higher education officials will be in Billings next week for listening sessions related to the future of two-year education in the state.


As a part of the new statewide College!Now effort, representatives from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education will be at Montana State University Billings on Wednesday, Oct. 5 for three listening sessions. Input is being sought from students, faculty, staff, community leaders and policymakers on the two-year education mission in the state.


Two-year education is a key component of the education mission of MSU Billings. Those programs are handled at the MSU Billings College of Technology on the West End. Dr. John Cech, the former dean of the MSU Billings COT, is now the deputy commissioner for two-year and community college education for the state of Montana and will be leading the listening sessions.


The three sessions — all free and open to the public —are:

  • 7:30-8:45 am, COT Campus, 3803 Central, Health Sciences Building, Rooms 117/119       
  • 1:15-2:30 pm, MSU Billings Campus, 1500 University Drive, Library 148 Lecture Hall
  • 3:00-4:15 pm, COT Campus, 3803 Central, Health Sciences Building, Room 105

The College!Now effort involves Montana’s colleges and universities on a policy initiative to make two-year education more affordable and accessible statewide. Education leaders are working to create or expand new models of delivery to serve more students by making two-year education more accessible, better coordinated, better understood and, as a result, better utilized statewide.


A part of the plan is to extend the comprehensive two-year education mission to all two-year institutions. The Montana University System will extend the comprehensive two-year mission to the state’s five Colleges of Technology by 2013, including rebranding and renaming them.  In addition, Montana’s eight public two-year colleges and four university-based two-year programs will become, even more clearly, “hubs” for their local regions, providing gateway services that will help students get started or get up to speed and help businesses with “just in time” assistance and programs for their employees.


Efforts will include expanded dual enrollment programs, new adult friendly innovative programming, efficiencies through collaboration, partnerships with tribal colleges, K-12, business and industry, and joint grant applications. Education officials also plan to expand collaboration with K-12 and the Big Sky Pathways Initiative to increase awareness of secondary to post-secondary pathways for Montana’s students.


To find out more about College!Now, go to or call Cech at 406.444.0316.


To find out more about two-year programs at the MSU Billings College of Technology, go to


PHOTO ABOVE: The MSU Billings College of Technology campus is the home of two-year programs at the Billings university.