No one can say that interim UM President Sheila Stearns isn't a great communicator.

She is going to great lengths to get together with the campus community to keep them updated on important issues pertaining to a variety of subjects.

On Monday, Stearns hosted several hundred students, faculty and administrators in the UC Ballroom with a slide presentation that dealt with subjects as basic as making visitors to campus feel welcome, to the most complex, the Academic Program and Administrative Services Prioritization Task Force.

The entire presentation is in the attached video.

Some points that stood out included the good news that the Montana Legislature restored over $22 million in funding to Montana's Higher Education programs, which drew applause from the audience. She addressed the issue of recruiting and retention.

"It's not just Vice President Tom Crady's job to recruit our next class, it's all of our jobs to make sure that we are retaining the students, who need to capitalize on their learning and their investment to register and come back," Stearns said. "Are we highlighting excellence at every opportunity? I don't know, but I sure hope so."

Stearns gave one example when she was leaving her car in her assigned parking place, she noticed a car full of campus visitors park in a restricted space. After greeting them and welcoming them to campus, she pointed out some visitor parking not far away, and suggested that they move their vehicle, so as not to get a ticket, which would dampen their campus experience.

She pointed out that this Friday is UM Day, with lots of visitors expected, and asked all in attendance to have the same welcoming attitude to all campus visitors.

She pointed out the Forward 125 initiative, as the University heads towards its 125th anniversary.

"In this year, our 125th year, and the university, the legacy, heritage, flagship, hugely respected and beloved university, we will celebrate that anniversary next February 17th, 2018," she said.

Stearns said she was pleased overall with the recently announced spring enrollment numbers.

"Actually, I was really tickled when the numbers came in at 11,700, rather than 11,000," she said. "So, let's budget conservatively and then I think it will be a little bit flat for a couple of years, and then the programs we've been investing in will begin to pay off."

At the close of her talk, Stearns asked all the tables to come up with one question that she would try to answer, similar to the technique used by City Club several weeks ago.

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