HAVRE – University of Montana President Seth Bodnar told the Board of Regents on Thursday there’s still work to be done on UM’s plans for restructuring, and possibly implementing major spending and job cuts in the next few years.
But he says UM leadership is committed to “shared governance” and involving the entire campus in making those decisions.
“We’ve had a lot of good, positive discussion around the Mission Statement and we feel ready for approval of the Mission Statement at this point, while we work and adjust and continue to incorporate feedback on the recommendations over the summer and into the fall,” Bodnar said.
Bodnar made an initial presentation of UM’s new “Mission Statement” as the Montana University System Board of Regents met in Havre on Thursday. That new statement forms the core of a broader plan to save some $10 million in spending, but just as importantly, adjust to changing enrollments.
Faculty Senate leaders said the Mission Statement reflects the “theme” of preserving undergraduate and graduate “professional” work, while “articulating the challenge” of meeting student’s needs in the future.
Bodnar says UM wants to “sustain programs”, but says there will be reductions in “certain areas” where enrollments are dropping. But he pledged adjustments will “continue over time”, with decisions made “as a team”.
“How do we as a university, regardless of discipline, regardless of whether you’re going to be an accountant, a pharmacist, a biologist. a neuroscientist, that when you leave the University of Montana that you’re prepared for an uncertain and dynamic future?” Bodnar said. “And that’s a key component of this as well, and that is, the creative and agile learners.”
Bodnar and the Faculty Senators who’ve been a part of the University Planning Committee process told the Board of Regents they’re striving to craft that balance to make UM a stronger, and more agile university while carrying forward the learning traditions that have been the university’s legacy.
“Talking about how the University can best incorporate the strength of a broad-based interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and Sciences background with a world-class research university,” Bodnar said.
It’s expected the broader questions of UM’s cuts will be discussed through the summer as part of the University System’s budget process, with some recommendations coming for the Board of Regents at their meeting in September.
Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News