Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention Efforts

Go back to the beginning of this presentation, by Randall Richardson and Susan Beck of the University of Arizona, about the results of a national survey of geoscience departments.

This page is a summary of the responses to these survey questions:

  • Is undergraduate student recruitment/retention an issue for your department?
  • Is graduate student recruitment/retention an issue for your department?
  • Please describe departmental efforts in this area.

Common themes across institution type:

  • Retention was not a major issue.
  • Recruitment was an issue across institution type.

Some institution specific issues:

  • Two-year institutions tended to emphasize employment opportunities in recruitment.
  • Four-year institutions tended to better coordinate efforts with institutional recruitment offices.
  • Master's institutions commonly cited the importance of relationships with K12 and community colleges.
  • Doctoral institutions tended to more often hire staff to help with recruitment.

Common themes for recruiting efforts included:

  • Effective teaching of intro courses, with active recruitment of majors.
  • Early introduction to field experiences.
  • Working with the institutional recruitment offices.
  • 'Training' academic advisors about the geosciences.
  • Support for the undergraduate environment, including study space and student lounges.
  • Lots of contact, involving faculty, with recruited students.
  • Revising curricula to have societal relevance.
  • Building relationships with K12 and community colleges.
  • Support for student geology clubs.
  • Raising scholarship money for undergraduates.
  • Effective departmental websites and publications.

Some less common efforts that seem relevant/promising:

  • Using junior and senior students to assist in visiting high schools for recruitment.
  • Using federal funding (e.g., NSF GeoScope and OEDG) to recruit minority students and work with K12 teachers.
  • Releasing faculty time to focus on recruitment.
  • Adding honors sections to intro/general education courses to attract best students.
  • Offering 'hot topic' first year courses (e.g., Sumatra, Katrina) to attract students.
  • Raising alumni funds to send undergraduates to GSA.
  • Rewarding faculty successfully recruit new majors.

Representative quotes:

  • "We give recruitment talks in every introductory class semester"
  • "Ever-closer work with community college partners in transfer student recruitment"
  • "If it (recruitment) isn't an issue at all times, it becomes your problem"
  • "(We) provide departmental resources (student lounge / new computer lab) and support student organizations in the department."