BILLINGS- As Montana State University- Billings continues to drive enrollment and build its programs, the university recently announced a seven-year strategic plan.
The plan is accomplished through four major themes: educate, retain, strengthen relationships and unify the culture.
Chancellor of MSU-Billings Dr. Dan Edleman said staff, faculty, students and community members all helped
“Billings is the biggest city in the state, why not have a real strong university? That’s what we are trying to do here,” said Edelman.
Edelman said the plan will serve as the framework for those several major objectives. However, he said already, many positive and creative goals for MSUB are already in the works.
In the plan, the first objective would provide educational opportunities that cultivate lifelong learners. Leaders said they want to create and maintain a seamless pathway to foster achievement.
The second objective is to recruit and develop a vibrant academic community focused on students and staff, according to the plan.
“I want to make sure that the students can get a world-class opportunity,” said Edelman.
With that, Edelman has plans to address the school’s biggest focus in meeting the goals outlined in the plan by invigorating enrollment.
“We want to have 6,000 students in five years,” he said.
While enrollment was up in 2017, enrollment numbers were down by 2 percent in the fall of 2018. Edelman plans to bring in a vice chancellor of student success and access to find ways to build numbers
“It’s not just high enrollment. It’s quality enrollment too. I don’t want to just get the numbers. I want to make sure we have quality students,” he said. “There’s no single bullet. There’s no one cure that fits all. There’s a lot of things that we have to do and we have to do every one of them right.”
Another objective is to enhance private partnerships and enhance them. One example, Edelman said, is strengthening Native American tribes and communities.
A new science building will take shape on campus in July and while Edelman didn’t specify how MSU Billings could change depending on the One Big Sky proposal he did say, working closely with our hospitals is an objective.
“We are going to be able to work with the medical community to do some research and be an incubator for different research products and we are ready in discussions with some of our healthcare partners right now,” he said.
And finally, the fourth objective, according to the plan, is to develop a clear branding plan and foster a vibrant campus.
Edelman said the university has been able to keep tuition flat and reduce student housing costs by 20 percent. Also, students will see a $750,000 renovation to residence halls, he said.
Edelman hopes to start a new program to get high school students an early college experience with a dual enrollment initiative. Something he hopes to have in place by the fall.
“We are going to produce more students with what Billings and the Billings community needs to succeed and beyond we have students,” he said.
So as spring takes shape here on campus, Edelman says his vision and hopes will also take shape in the framework of another seven years to come.
Reporting by Andrea Lutz for MTN News