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Tracking Montana's heritage


Amazing Member Tim Urbaniak


Meet Tim Urbaniak, MEA-MFT member at Montana State University-Billings in the College of Technology. Tim is a 17-year faculty member in the drafting and design program and a team leader in the business and industry department.


We caught up with him for this interview:


What I do: I teach primarily in the drafting and design curriculum. I also oversee the MSU Archeology Field Team and have been applying technology tools to archeological and historical research for years.


I am also involved in teaching multimedia field classes for four-year students so they can explore the tools as well. Having students and volunteers involved in this research is very important.


We have a strong working relationship with Custer National Forest. A lot of our research takes place in Eastern Montana in the Long Pines, the Ekalaka Hills, near Ashland, and in the Pryor and Beartooth Mountains.


We work on documentation of Montana historical sites and rock art (pictographs and petroglyphs) using digital cameras, digital video cameras, 3-D software, GIS and GPS systems, and state-of-the-art graphics software.


For example, if we're working on a homestead, we can recreate it through 3-D modeling, create working drawings, and make an animated "flyby" while documenting the site with digital imaging tools.


I'm also immersed in Montana digital landscape photography. I send out an e-mail subscription every Monday called Monday Montana Wallpaper with two images of landscapes somewhere in Montana.


Background: I'm from Forsyth. I'm a "heritage educator"- my father was a teacher in the Forsyth schools.


Best day on the job: Being out in the field with students who are not only interested in the technology tools but who get excited about where we live and our heritage. It's really neat to see the bridge between the classroom and the applied. That's where it's at.


Being a teacher is about working with the students. When that's going well and they're excited, it's a fabulous job. That's where we need to find our fun.


Why I belong to MEA-MFT: I came to education from industry, and at first I questioned why we needed a union. The longer I've been involved in the union, the more I have come to understand and believe in its need. It's sometimes the only voice faculty have.


Want to learn more?

Click here to learn more about Tim Urbaniak's work.


Read about other Amazing MEA-MFT members.