After five months of doing the job, the Commissioner of Higher Education has recommended Helena College Acting Dean Dr. Sandra Bauman to take up the role permanently.
Bauman took over as acting dean in May following Dean Laura Vosejpka’s decision to return to her home state of Michigan.
“Dr. Bauman continues to bring vision and stability to an important part of the Montana University System,” said Brock Tessman, Deputy Commissioner of Academic, Research & Student Affairs. “Helena College plays a pivotal role in promoting college access, workforce training and economic development across Central Montana, and Dr. Bauman has clearly demonstrated her ability to lead the college in every area during an exceptionally challenging time.”
Bauman says she’s thankful for the support and trust from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education.
“I'm very excited to have the recommendation to be the permanent dean and CEO of Helena College. I love this community, I love this college and I think we have a lot of great initiatives in the works and I’m excited to be able to provide that continuity so that work can continue to move forward,” said Bauman.
The ultimate decision will be up to the Board of Regents in November, but the Commissioner's blessing carries significant weight.
Prior to her appointment in May, Bauman served as the college’s Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Modern Language from MSU-Bozeman; her Master’s degree in Public Relations from MSU-Billings; and her Doctorate in Adult and Higher Education from MSU-Bozeman. Her dissertation was on student success and retention of 2-year college students.
Bauman has also been overseeing the college during an unprecedented time, with the college making significant changes to adapt to the pandemic.
COVID has had a relatively small presence on campus with only a couple cases reported during the fall semester.
“We’re proud of that, we’re really happy with that,” said Bauman. “We were very intentional with our protocols to make sure we’re keeping people at least six feet apart with the masks, and minimizing the contact that people have. So with the few cases we have had we’ve been very lucky that there was no community spread.”
Bauman credits a lot of the success to education and administrative staff fostering a culture of staying home when sick at the college, and providing good resources and techniques for students to participate in class while remote learning.
“We’ve found ways to be very flexible in our delivery and that’s very friendly for adult learners. There are some things that I think will be artifacts of the changes we’ve made that will continue to have positive effects in the future,” said Bauman.
Helena College is already making plans for what’s next, including a digital winter session this year for students interested in taking some general courses during the winter break.
Bauman says they’re also working on expansion plans for programs at Helena College, as well as expanded partnerships with the high schools.
More information about enrollment for the winter session and other other education opportunities offered through the college can be found here.
Helena College hopes to have more information soon once more details are finalized.