Education Online (CHEO) NANSLO nodes worldwide, to benefit healthcare education across the state,” said Frankie Lyons, Health Science Division Director.


For the last three years, the ISSKSINIIP Project scholarship grant has provided healthcare students with the ability to attend college. It is a collaborative project with six Montana colleges that offer healthcare programs. Services included academic advising, mentoring,

from the Practical Nurse program to the Registered Nurse program. Finally the grant will pay for adding the NANSLO lab to the distance learning portion of the program so that students in rural areas can do their science labs online.

“The HealthCARE MONTANA Grant offers a great opportunity for the GFC MSU nursing faculty to connect at the state level with other healthcare educators. Networking is vital.

Also, the grant gives us support for expansion, and it allows us to offer our unique resources, such as the only simulation hospital in the state and one of only three Consortium for Healthcare

“Innovation,” said Susan Wolff, CEO/ Dean of Great Falls College MSU, “that’s what we are seeking when we decide to go after a particular grant.

We want to give students access to the opportunities that will prepare them for their working future, and we want to provide an enriched college experience to all students—including those who are learning at a distance.” * Trends/Pages/studentsatcommunitycolleges.aspx

RevUP and the EDA Grant

With businesses like ADF International and LoenBro Fabrication plants in Great Falls, there is a need for welders, a lot of welders. Great Falls College MSU stepped up and tripled its intake by offering classes from 8 a.m. until midnight, but that still hasn’t produced enough certified welders. With the resources of the EDA and RevUP Grants to pay for new space and equipment, the college will be able to double the space available in each of the three cohorts, and provide additional certified welders for these two and other fabrication companies.

The RevUP (funded by the Department of Labor) Grant provides for hiring 13 navigators, who are located at the two-year colleges that offer programs in energy and manufacturing. The navigators keep in contact with businesses as to the skills and number of employees needed. They are available to students to help with problems, whether personal or academic.

Four assessment centers around the state where students, who are taking a core of their courses online, can go for hands-on experience and testing are being provided through the RevUp Grant. These lab centers are available in places that are more convenient to students than requiring that they travel across state to distant campuses.

CHEO Grant

At a recent open house held at GFC MSU, faculty and students were demonstrating a 3D printer, a welding simulator that students use to practice welding without needing test pieces, and a technology-driven distance learning center that allows students to do science laboratories from their home.

All of this is new; all of it is innovative; and all of it is available to students attending GFC MSU.

These are three examples of the innovation that supports and enhances the environment of student learning.

All three have become available through grants, mostly from the federal government. Without those grants, it would have been difficult for the college to teach with advanced techniques and technology that will be commonplace in the future.

Almost half of those attending colleges in the United State are found at two-year institutions that are attempting to serve students coming with a variety of academic and cultural backgrounds and with widely divergent academic interests.* Because a college education is the number-one factor in seeking a career and moving up on the economic ladder, what these colleges offer in quality experiences and how these two-year institutions are supported really matters. Presently budgets at two-year institutions are so fixed that there is nothing left over after paying for the bread and butter expenses. For example, 83% of GFC MSU’s budget goes to salaries which is average across the country. Approximately 15% goes into operations, and 2% supports tuition waivers.

To give a college an avenue for establishing new programs that requires hiring faculty with a specialized skill, purchasing expensive and cutting-edge equipment that simulates the work environment, or setting up training sites and modules, money often has to come from sources other than the state budget.

Monies From Grants Make a Difference The North American Network of Science Labs Online (NANSLO) located at the college and funded by the Department of Labor CHEO grant is supervised by Brenda Canine, Ph.D. It is one lab of three in North America and also in an international network of science labs that uses remote web-based science lab technology providing students with the ability to perform real science experiments by using actual high-quality laboratory equipment. During a semester, the lab is available to as many as a hundred or more students living around the world — such as those students who have called in from New Zealand and Alaska and who are taking courses in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) that require lab work from those colleges that have an agreement with GFC MSU.

The lab is open from noon until 8 p.m.

Monday through Friday Mountain time, and one of two lab assistants — who are also students at the college — are on duty to troubleshoot for any possible problems, giving students at a distance confidence that someone is always available to assist. These lab classes are convenient to busy non-traditional students because lab experiments can be done around personal and work commitments. Students work in collaboration, learning skills that are transferable to many career situations.

Through this lab, students have access to equipment that likely is not available to them locally. Because of the grant, at the present time the lab is available at no additional charge.


The HealthCARE MONTANA grant (funded by the Department of Labor) provides the foundation monies for GFC MSU to offer an Associate of Science in Nursing Program that will begin Spring 2016. Statewide stakeholders are determining the needed curriculum that will blend with other statewide programs. The college has hired a registered nurse faculty and a healthcare transformation specialist who will coordinate the transition of students

tuition and fees, books and supplies, assessment testing, placement services, childcare and transportation. During the last three years 69 students at GFC MSU have been recipients. Of them 47 are now employed. Of the current 20 participants, 16 completed their studies Spring 2015 and three will complete by the end of the 2015 calendar year.

Personnel don’t pursue just any grant to attain additional monies. They look for grants that solve a problem within the state or community. GFC MSU finds grants extremely important to serving the needs of students and their communities.

Montana Space Grant Consortium A.R.E.S. grant for his research on algae.

Todd will be studying cellular biology and neuroscience at Montana State University in Bozeman beginning in the fall.

Good Luck Todd!

Todd Larson, who has just finished two years at GFC MSU, was one of the lab assistants in the NANSLO lab this last year. The science and math courses he had taken at GFC MSU, along with his technology skills, made him the right choice for the lab assistant position.

At work, he responded to telephone calls that came into the lab, assisted students who came in for hands-on sessions, and solved any problems that arose.

Spotlight on an Opportunity Afforded to a GFC MSU Student Through a Grant

Dr. Canine, the NANSLO supervisor, found Larson to be vital to the program. He was dependable and came to the job with customer service skills. “He moves on in his education, and I will miss both him and the other lab assistant, Clara Davison,” she said.

Besides excelling in his classes and working in the lab this past year, Todd was the recipient of a