TITLE: Department as Student Recruiter
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: September 14, 2006 3:03 PM
Our second session
is on student recruitment. We've been thinking about
this a lot, but my thoughts during this session are
still at the level of a few key points:
I have more questions than answers at this point.
- Universities have staff that recruit students under
a corporate banner, but the faculty have a passion
for science, math, and technology. Given the state
of national enrollments in these disciplines, we
really have to make recruitment one of our central
from fundraising: increasingly, the responsibility for
recruitment is devolving from the university to the
departments and faculty.
- Trying to grow an academic department when the university
has a posture of decreasing enrollment, or at least
a public image of doing so, is difficult. When the
potential audience thinks you are trying to get
smaller, they don't take your recruitment efforts
- Faculty should be involved in developing relationships
with high school students -- and parents. Personal touch,
especially from the people who will be in the classroom
with students, is invaluable. When the target parent
is an alum, the effect is multiplied.
- How can a medium-sized, public, undergrad-oriented
university such as mine recruit effectively out of
state? Why should an Illinois high-schooler come
here? Almost every state has a school -- or ten --
like ours. What makes us attractive?
- Offering an especially strong program in a particular
area can draw some students, but only those who
already know what they want to study.
- An idea offered by someone else... Maybe we should
brand ourselves as what we are: "proudly educating
Iowans". Selling yourself as doing a well-defined
task well is sometimes attractive to people outside
the target, because they appreciate excellence.
- Another idea from someone else... Focus on in-state
students, which our bigger, R-I sister institutions
don't do. This is different than the previous idea,
which is about branding; here the university would
willingly cede out-of-state students.
- More and more students these days come to the
university undecided about their majors. (Our
advising staff has stopped calling these folks
"undecided majors"; they are now called "deciding".)
How do we take care of these students and maximize
the chance that these folks give CS and the sciences
a fair chance? The community colleges cater directly
to this audience and are pulling enrollment away from
our universities. How can we get them to come to the
university? UNI has an advantage over some 4-year
institutions. We have a common liberal arts core
that all students take, which gives students a couple
of years to decide -- while still making tangible
progress toward a degree.