See more from this Session: General Resident Education: II
Tuesday, November 2, 2010: 1:00 PM
Long Beach Convention Center, Room 203C, Second Floor
Enrollment in agronomy at Kansas State has cycled dramatically over time. Since 2000, enrollment declined over 40% to levels not seen since the late 1980’s following the farm crisis, but significant increases have been observed the past three years. Perhaps not coincidently for Kansas, historical agronomy enrollment highs (1977, 2000) have occurred a few years after record high wheat prices. The recent commodity price peak may again be related, but to better evaluate the current trend, a survey of agronomy students was conducted to analyze factors that influenced major selection. The objectives of the study were to evaluate how prior experiences impacted major choice, identify significant human influencers, assess the impact of existing recruitment efforts, and guide future efforts. Survey response was 118/135 (87%). Agronomy majors are quite satisfied with their major and think it will help them find a good job and satisfying career, but nearly half agreed that if not for helping them reach career goals, they would have chosen another major. Prior experience in production agriculture was the strongest experience factor impacting major choice for farm background students, while high school science courses were most influential for urban students. Parents, family members, and role models were more important human influencers than high school contacts for rural students, but were not very important for urban students. K-State contacts were influential for all students. Scholarships were more important for new freshman than transfer students. Career opportunities and quality and reputation of the faculty and department were the highest rated personal perception factors. Over half attended events on-campus where they observed departmental recruitment activities, with Open House, FFA Convention, and Career Development Events most noted. Only one-third recalled seeing recruitment materials in publications or off-campus. Results suggest future recruitment efforts should maintain a strong career opportunity focus with personal contacts.