See more from this Session: Innovations In Soil Science Education: I
Monday, October 17, 2011: 8:50 AM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 206B, Concourse Level
As numerous national reports have indicated, enrollment in undergraduate degrees directly related to the profession of soil science has declined in recent years. Three years ago, the Department of Soil Science at North Carolina State University began a multifaceted approach to attract new students to our undergraduate academic programs. The approach uses a variety of mechanisms to introduce our department to existing on-campus students, high school age students in and surrounding North Carolina and science educators that can influence career choices being made by their students. On campus, we use strategically placed digital signage to share information about “who we are” and “what we do.” Placement of the sign exposes the department to more than one thousand existing NC State University students each week. Another approach to attract potential intra-University transfer is our annual “Meet the Department” cookout on the main courtyard of campus. To reach students not yet affiliated with the University, we use a direct recruitment approach working through the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service 4H program, the Canon Envirothon, and Future Farmers of America. In each case, when we make contact with a student, we collect as much detailed information about the student as possible so we can launch a highly customized email campaign that addresses each student uniquely. Our campaigns vary depending on the student’s age and their professional interests. To reach K12 educators, we have launched an Internet based continuing education program that provides science teachers the knowledge necessary incorporate soil science into their existing classroom. Lastly, through a Soil Ambassador program, we provide K12 educators a network of soil science professionals they can use for guest speaker appearances, field days and career events. At this point, the recruiting program is too young to measure effectiveness in the terms of increased enrollment.