Clocking In

A snapshot of UM highlights in research, student success and the academy this spring. 


UM researchers recently studied Alaska forest fires over the past 450 years using lake sediment. They explored the ways forest succession and climate variability interacted and influenced fires in Alaska’s boreal forests over the past four and a half centuries. The results help to understand the ways climate variability impacts Alaska’s boreal forests.  

For the final installment of UM’s President’s Lecture Series, UM hosted Michael McFaul, Stanford professor, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and best-selling author on advancing democracy abroad. McFaul presented “From Cold War to Hot Peace: An American Ambassador in Putin’s Russia” at the Wilma in downtown Missoula as the Lucile Speer Memorial Lecture. McFaul encouraged UM students to study Russian, consider careers with the U.S. State Department and shared insights from a career in foreign service and international diplomacy.  

An interdisciplinary class on the nation’s opioid crisis drew a record number of UM students for spring semester. UM faculty member Kim Madson designed the class for pharmacy students in a manner that represents the type of education UM is bolstering: bringing together several different areas of expertise. The lectures included pharmacists, a neuroscientist, a recovering addict, a police detective and a medical examiner who spoke about the effects of opioids on people.

Cognizant ATG Missoula Solutions opened a new office in Missoula’s Old Sawmill District and announced a 12-week training program for students, offering specialized business and technical courses. The company also awarded a $25,000 grant to UM’s spectrUM Discovery Area, which inspires young Montanans to pursue higher education and explore STEM careers.

UM has received a record number of graduate applications in the Department of Counseling for those wanting to pursue careers as clinical mental health or school counselors. The 20 percent rise in applications is credited to a greater societal awareness about the role of mental health in maintaining healthy communities.

A $730,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration was awarded to UM to help tribal communities develop sustainable, high-growth entrepreneurial ecosystems.

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded nearly $10 million to establish a National Center for Rural School Mental Health. Dr. Ryan Tolleson Knee, a UM social work professor, will co-direct the new center.

UM created a new Department of Public Administration and Policy this winter. The new academic unit located in the Alexander Blewett III School of Law’s Max S. Baucus Institute, provides a new home and platform for increased enrollment of UM’s Master of Public Administration program.

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