A Busy Fall on the Montana Tech Campus

A Busy Fall on the Montana Tech Campus


A busy fall semester is underway on the Montana Tech campus. The campus is experiencing record number of students in a variety of programs and has hosted top-notch events showcasing what Montana Tech and Butte have to offer. 

“This has been a great start to the fall semester,” said Montana Tech Chancellor Don Blackketter. “Campus is busy, enrollment is strong, and we are preparing for the launch of our Materials Science PhD program next fall and the beginning stages of planning for a new natural resources research center on campus. It’s a great time to be a Montana Tech Oredigger. I encourage everyone to jump on board.”

Fall enrollment numbers look strong with overall headcount up by 107 over fall 2012. Total headcount for the fall semester is 2,923, with 2,010 students on the north campus and 913 on the south campus. On the north campus, petroleum engineering continues to be the largest discipline with 400 students followed by general engineering at 266, nursing with 206, and safety, health & industrial hygiene at 166. On the south campus, the largest disciplines are Associate of Science with 251 followed by radiologic technology at 56, metals fabrication with 50, and accounting technology at 41. “Historic enrollments at Highlands College and Montana Tech reflect our strong commitment to provide quality and affordable two-year education to the taxpaying citizens of Montana, but also reflects the fact that those same citizens seem to understand the value of an education received from our critically acclaimed institution,” said Dr. John M. Garic, Dean of Highlands College.

Montana Tech’s Jump Start program, now in its 15th year, is seeing record enrollment this fall with 267 students. Jump Start is for high-achieving high school juniors and seniors who have an interest in early admission at Montana Tech to enroll in college level course work while still enrolled in high school. "Dual enrollment opportunities for Southwest Montana’s students are growing rapidly. Higher education professors and administrators as well as area high school educators are convinced that dual enrollment opportunities are effective at increasing student confidence, high school completion rates, and eventually college degree attainment,” noted Amy Verlanic, executive director of the Institute for Educational Opportunities at Montana Tech. “Montana Tech is proud of growing our offerings and even more optimistic about the record high number of students taking advantage of these courses."

The first big event held for the semester was Tech’s two-day 14th annual Career Fair, which saw a steady stream of nearly 1,000 attendees meet with 100 employers. Over 10% of the attendees were new companies to Tech’s event. Forty-six companies took advantage of 2nd Day Interviews on Friday. 338 students participated in 725+ interviews during the course of the day. 

After the Career Fair, the campus shifted its focus towards preparing and hosting Senator Max Baucus’ Montana Economic Jobs Summit, which brought approximately 4,000 attendees to campus for the two-day event. Over 100 Montana Tech faculty, staff, and students volunteered in a variety of roles for the event.

On September 5th, Montana Tech launched its new weekly public lecture series with an extraordinary talk by Professor S. James Gates, Jr. of the University of Maryland on the fundamental understanding of the universe, including the prediction and the Higgs Boson—the discovery celebrated by the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics announced in early October. To date, eight different speakers have shared their ideas and insights on such topics as hawk migration, Mount Everest geology, nanoparticles and bacteriophages, and mature safety cultures with the Montana Tech students, faculty, and community members. Another six talks, ranging from Butte groundwater to whaling to the education of leaders in the natural resource sectors, will complete the fall schedule, and the 17-lecture spring 2014 schedule will be published in November. “It is stimulating to learn from experts in such a broad range of fields and to share these speakers with the public. Thanks to the Montana Tech library, moreover, most of these lectures will continue to be available through Montana Tech’s “Digital Commons,” along with a lot of other research by our students and faculty,” said Bev Hartline, Vice Chancellor of Research and dean of the graduate school.

With strong enrollment and placement rates, a Montana Tech degree is a great return on investment. “With Montana Tech’s in demand programs and recognition as the top university in Montana in regards to return on investment, we are positioning ourselves to be a leader in the area of STEM education,” explained Joe McClafferty, Vice Chancellor for Advancement and University Relations and President of the Montana Tech Foundation. “Our students along with their parents are making decisions to attain a strong educational foundation that will be best for their future. A degree from Montana Tech does just that.” Montana Tech was ranked #1by AffordableCollegesOnline.org on their list of top colleges and universities in Montana with the greatest lifetime return on investment. Montana Tech landed in the No. 1 spot followed by Montana State University, Carroll College, Montana State University-Billings, and the University of Montana. Tech also landed on AffordableCollegesOnline.org’s list of universities they feel will earn top honors on the president’s upcoming value scorecard. Montana Tech, the only Montana university listed, landed 67 out of 100.