Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Thursday’s KGVO Talk Back show was the first time the show has featured UM President Seth Bodnar and Provost Adrea Lawrence, along with Professor Mehrdad Kia and retired professor Michael Mayer, specifically to discuss possible changes to the university’s curriculum.

President Bodnar emphasized the importance of adapting the curriculum to the needs of the students.

UM President and Provost Speak to Professors Kia and Mayer

“One thing that we know is that we cannot, we should not, even if we have a balanced budget, continue to do everything we've always done the way we've always done it,” began President Bodnar. “So we're looking at ‘how do we adapt our offerings to best meet the needs of our students’? Our number one priority is to place student success at the center of all that we do. Provost Lawrence and her team along with the deans and departments are saying, ‘Okay, how do we think about our academic portfolio? How do we adapt? What programs should we tweak? What programs should we maybe no longer have? What programs should we add?"

Professor Kia listed just some of the areas in which he personally enriches the offerings at UM.

The Continuing Conversation between UM Faculty and Administration

“For just a very small program, which has produced books with leading publishing houses, I am also by the way, and I know President Bodnar is aware of this, I'm teaching over 200 people starting tomorrow through MOLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute), you know, who's going to count that one, you know? And of course, you know, Mike can tell you the number of talks I give across the state and across the nation and on a regular basis with foreign media, who's going to count that, and who's going to count the various grants and projects we have brought to the university?"

Provost Lawrence said there is a process currently underway to closely examine the health of the university’s academic programs.

“The process that we've initiated this spring, Academic Portfolio Review, is going to be an annual health check on our portfolio of academic programs,” said Provost Lawrence. “This year we're looking at the relationship of enrollments and degree completion rates. Next year we're going to be looking at curricular complexity, and each year the intention is to frame up a question, look at data specific to that question so that we get more of a 360 view of our academic programs.”

READ MORE: UM Spring Enrollment Up 2.5 Percent to 10,349 Total Students

How Should the Success of a College Program be Measured?

Kia responded with this comment on how academic excellence can be measured.

“A lot of folks at the university take it as an insulting sort of approach that if my entire work is reduced to a few numbers, rather than Main Hall sitting down with us, and going over in terms of ‘how your program came into existence and how many people you have taught; how many classes you have taught, how much research you have done’, these are all part of the portfolio that needs to be counted in terms of understanding the contribution of each faculty and program to this wonderful university.”

Click here to listen to the entire 90 minutes of conversation with University of Montana leadership and faculty.

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