Tech president critical of U system hierarchy

2010-09-30T00:15:00Z Tech president critical of U system hierarchyBy Nick Gevock of The Montana Standard Montana Standard
September 30, 2010 12:15 am  • 

Montana Tech will have a hard time keeping a qualified chancellor unless the state stops allowing the presidents of its larger universities to have oversight of the smaller colleges, Chancellor Frank Gilmore told the state Board of Regents recently.

Gilmore, in a recent letter announcing his June 2011 retirement, said Montana has one of the most top-down public university systems in the country. And that has kept Tech from growing into a world-class research university that can pay competitive salaries that attracts professors.

"The Montana University system is arguably the most hierarchical and pyramidal system found in higher education," Gilmore said in his letter. "I do not believe the most capable vigorous leaders will stay very long if they must work under the conditions I have worked."

Sheila Stearns, state higher education commissioner, said that while she respected Gilmore's

opinion, she disagrees that having Tech officials coordinate with the University of Montana is a negative. As the former chancellor at the University of Montana Western, Stearns said she's seen the

efficiency that comes by making the campuses work together. That adds up to saving taxpayers' money, she said.

"There are some times you'd like to have your own board and report to them - that's maximum autonomy, but it's not maximum efficiency," Stearns said. "Montana's doing it pretty well in terms of what's in the best interest of the state - it's been far more positive than negative."

Gilmore said in a telephone interview Wednesday that Montana's university system is a pyramid system, with the presidents of Montana State University in Bozeman and the University of Montana in Missoula at the top. And that structure carries all the way down to personnel issues and program development.

"It's very much a pecking order," he said. "Any program that we want to submit has to first be scrutinized by Missoula, but we don't get to scrutinize theirs."

Gilmore outlined several changes he said Tech needs to make it more competitive to attract students and faculty. He said the school needs a name change to get its own identity.

And he reiterated that Tech needs to offer doctorate degree programs in natural resource fields in which it specializes. That would make it possible to bring in more private money to help improve salaries, as well as more and bigger research grants.

Gilmore also said the university system doesn't involve faculty members with expertise in setting its policies or offering advice. He said that happens to numerous professors within the system and cited himself as an example of someone with two decades of experience in scientific research and contracts.

"Not once in my tenure have I been asked to participate in discussions of scientific research or science policy," Gilmore said. "The synergism gained by including qualified individuals in these discussions might have a very positive influence in making the affiliations work."

- Reporter Nick Gevock may be reached at nick.gevock@mtstandard.com

Copyright 2016 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us at editor@mtstandard.com.

If your comment was removed or isn't appearing online, perhaps:

  1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).
  2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.
  3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.
  4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.
  5. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.
  6. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.
  7. Your comment is in really poor taste.

NOTE: Our comment policy has recently changed. Real names will now display next to comments you post. If you are a current user, you can update your profile to include your real name by logging into the site here.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Montana Standard News Topics