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The University of Montana's main hall. 

Curry Health Center at the University of Montana has partnered with UM’s department of Health and Human Performance to offer the first certificate program in the state for health coaching.

The Health Behavior Coach Certificate will be offered starting this fall.

Building on the success of the Optimal Bear health coaching program, now known as Health Coaching at Curry Health Center, the certificate program provides students with real-world experience to accompany their academic studies under guidance from both faculty and Curry Health Center professionals.

Students will complete courses taught by health and human performance professors Annie Sondag and Laura Dybdal. In addition to classroom instruction, students in the program will log a minimum of 80 hours of face-to-face time with clients, ranging from UM students to community members seeking health coaching at medical offices in the Missoula area.

The unique, real-world experience students gain with clients sets the program apart from others like it across the nation. Previous participants in the Health Coaching at Curry Health Center program have had success finding employment in the health care industry. Julius said the Health Behavior Coach Certificate will build on this success.

According the Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, health and wellness coaches are one of the largest growing job trends. The report reveals that health and wellness coaching has been in the top 20 trends since 2010 and jumped to No. 13 in the most recent survey.

Students interested in earning a Health Behavior Coach Certificate can call Sondag at 243-5215 or visit For more information on health coaching at Curry Health Center, students can call Curry Health Center Wellness at 243-6719 or email

Groundbreaking UM climate change research topic of new book

The groundbreaking climate change adaptation research of UM faculty member L. Scott Mills is the focus of a new book by acclaimed young-adult author Sneed Collard III.

The book, “Hopping Ahead of Climate Change: Snowshoe Hares, Science and Survival,” describes Mills’s 18 years of research on snowshoe hares, seasonal coat color change and the potential for animals to adapt to climate change. It is intended for ages 10 and older.

Mills began the research while a wildlife biology professor at UM from 1995 to 2013. In 2013, he was recruited to North Carolina State University as a chancellor’s faculty excellence hire to coordinate university-wide research in global environmental change and human well-being. Mills returned to UM on Aug. 1 to assume the role of associate vice president of research for global change and sustainability and to continue his research.

The research project by Mills’ team described in “Hopping Ahead of Climate Change” focuses on his studies of snowshoe hares and other species worldwide that change their coat colors to match the seasons.

Mills has found that the seasonal color molt is driven by day length, so shorter winters under climate change could make animals in their white winter coats on brown snowless ground be “mismatched” and more vulnerable to predators. However, Mills also points out that adaptation is possible under the right conditions, offering hope and guidance for the future.

In addition to his work on hares and seasonal coat color change, Mills also conducts research on tigers and other species in Bhutan, elephants in India, cougars and elk in Wyoming, and Arctic foxes in Sweden.

For more information about the book and its fall release, visit

UM launches ‘UMontana’ Mobile App

UM released its first mobile app last week.

The app was designed in-house by UM’s Information Technology department and offers users easy access to commonly searched for information, integration with UM academic tools and the ability to conduct University business from your phone, tablet or a web browser.

Application functions include a listing of available degrees and majors offered at UM, hours of operation for various campus facilities, a listing of current campus events, access to library services, an interactive campus map, a listing of student groups, the daily Food Zoo menu and the UDash bus schedule.

Users will see personalized content by identifying themselves as a visitor, alum, student or prospective student. For example, students can access their class schedules and grades through the app.

It can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store or the Apple iTunes App Store by searching for University of Montana.

The app was built in response to the changing nature of student connectivity, and the number of features available in the app will increase over time.

UM’s IT department aims to add additional functionality – such as giving the campus community access to CyberBear, which students use to access to their accounts – and access to Moodle, which is a classroom portal. They will continuously develop and improve the app in order to better serve students’ needs.

For more information or to download, visit

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