Great Falls College Montana State University – a college “on the move.”

Great Falls College Montana State University continues to be “on the move.” The college’s 7-Year regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities was reaffirmed July 2015.

The Commission commends the college for “1) updated technology systems and infrastructure for administrative, instructional, and student services; 2) active engagement with community organizations, business and industry, and school districts to respond to educational, workforce and economic development, and social needs of the community it serves; 3) creating

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney

Message from the CEO/Dean Dr. Susan J. Wolff

As part of the seven year accreditation cycle, the campus community, using community input, has identified a new vision, mission, and core themes. The Board of Regents will review them in September. Stay tuned for the roll out of the plan of the college being “on the move.” Although enrollment has declined since the economic recovery began, the college is serving more people than it did 10 years ago. The average age of the college’s students is 29, a bit younger as more high school graduates are choosing to attend GFC MSU right out of high school.

The percentage of students taking college courses while still in high school has grown from 6% in 2006-07 to 16%. The college partners with the Great Falls Public Schools to provide classes that count for both high school and college credit. In April 2015, Great Falls High School was recognized as the Montana High School of the Year for having the most students enrolled in these dual credit classes ‒ 261 students, saving their families $237,800.

CM Russell High School ranked third, with 208 students ‒ saving their families $201,000. The partnership supports the community’s young generation to be “on the move” to their future.

The number of degrees awarded dipped from 454 to 427. Although this trend could be viewed with concern, the number of studetns who graduate has remained relatively constant from 369 graduates in 2013-14 to 366 in 2014-15. The constant stream of graduates reflects the excellent work the Admissions Office and Advising Center are doing to better direct students.

Using data to determine what needs improvement keeps the college “on the move.” The growth in Workforce Degrees reflects the college’s focus on economic and workforce needs. In tandem with employer decisions to move their businesses in new directions or professions needing to hire professionals with new skills, the college is “on the move. Trucking companies in Montana have struggled to find licensed drivers. In response, the college offered its first Commercial Drivers’ License (CDL) class summer 2015. They will definitely be “on the move.” The college grew its number of endowed scholarships, pledged gifts and holdings from $414,164 to $1,362,653.88. This directly reflects the value residents and communities place on the college’s direction. Two students received Montana NASA EPSCoR awards (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research); a GFC MSU biology faculty was selected as a 2015 EPSCoR faculty participant. Striving to build interest and support for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics), faculty held the first Night Out for Science. Almost 100 community residents participated in state-of-the-art laboratory activities and interacted with faculty. Twelve students enrolled in the 1+3 engineering program where they can spend their first year in classes that have a smaller faculty-to-student ratio, that cost less and that can transfer easily to four-year institutions. GFC MSU is “on the move.” In its inaugural year, the College/ Community Choir’s 55 vocalists performed throughout the region. The choir has been invited to perform works

instructional facilities and labs to provide hands-on learning; 4) effective use of resources to expand facilities to serve business/industry/community needs; 5) an organizational structure that supports and enhances a seamless transition from developmental to college-level coursework; and 6) an ongoing commitment to an inclusive, transparent, and broad-based organizational planning and decision-making.” The college also maintains specialized accreditation for 10 programs. These professional and peer reviews, self-studies, visits, and reports strongly point to a college “on the move.” The following takes you to the accreditation web page. http://www.gfcmsu.edu/ about/accreditation/index.html. by Montana composers at Carnegie Hall in May 2016. The college is also now the sponsoring entity for the Great Falls Young People’s Choir. People who love to sing are certainly “on the move” at the college.

Veterans have found great success from the support given in the college Veterans Center. The number of veterans using the center for tutoring, mentoring, job search, and peer support increased from 18 in fall 2013 to 63 in fall 2014 and the retention rate of those students from fall 2014 to spring 2015 was more than 90% compared to 74% for the general population. The college is proud to serve our active duty and veteran students and recognize the knowledge and skills they achieved in the military, and is honored to be part of their journey.

It is my pleasure to lead the college. As I study Steve Jobs, late CEO of Apple, I quote current CEO Tim Cook: “If you embrace that the things you can do are limitless, you can put your ding in the universe. You can change the world.

Steve embedded non-acceptance of status quo into the company. He focused on making the best.” Thank you to the community residents; business, industry, government and education partners; generous donors of resources and time; students, faculty, staff, and administrators for joining me and guiding the college known for being “on the move” and staying focused on “being the best.”

Susan J. Wolff CEO/Dean of Great Falls College MSU

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