MISSOULA – University of Montana President Seth Bodnar is making a concerted effort to involve students as he leads the school into a major re-thinking of how it does business, and what kinds of graduates it produces.
During a taping this morning for MTN’s “Face the State” program, Bodnar explained how students are playing a role in the University Planning Committee, organized in February to take a complete look at UM’s future. That panel is analyzing the university’s mission statement, the “communities of excellence” or disciplines and programs, and how those course offerings align with those objectives.
Bodnar believes UM graduates need to be prepared for a future of change after they graduate.
“So they can say to an employer ‘I’m going to be successful in this first job, but I have that background," Bodnar said. "I have the skills, the critical thinking skills, the communication skills, the data, the technological literacy’ that’s necessary to adapt and learn and thrive.”
The UPC is involving student members along with faculty and staff in that planning discussion. And Bodnar has also been meeting frequently with groups of students to get their ideas and input.
His hope is to reshape UM’s reputation and output, building upon the legacy of the past, but ensuring students from all over Montana are successful in their post high school careers, or continuing education.
“I’ve said to people, were not Havard. We’re not Stanford. We’ve got quality programs that are better than some of the ones at Harvard, and some of the ones at Stanford. But we’re not an institution that’s ever going to stand up and bragg about the fact that we accept only 2 percent of the students that apply. We’re about the opposite of that. We’re going to accept people and they’re going to come in and we’re going to help them succeed.”
You can see the full interview with Seth Bodnar on Face the State, Sunday morning at 6:30 and 9:30 here on KPAX.