Enrollment declines in natural resources programs across the nation since the mid-nineties have raised concerns about the future of natural resources education. Since its peak in 1998, enrollment in Penn State's School of Forest Resources has dropped from a record high of 535 to 315 in fall 2003. At the same time state and federal agencies seeking to maintain and diversify their workforce are facing unprecedented rates of retirement. To address this issue, the School of Forest Resources is continually evaluating its recruitment and retention efforts. Gone are the days of waiting for students to come to us. Current recruitment and retention strategies include: 1) marketing to the large pool of existing undecided Penn State students, 2) marketing to Penn State advisors in other programs and at other Penn State locations, 3) recruiting at other "feeder" institutions, 4) summer natural resources experience programs, 5) increased personal contact with potential students, 6) peer-to-peer recruiting, 7) increased scholarship funds, and 8) retooled marketing and materials and web presence. These strategies are under constant evaluation and unsuccessful efforts discarded so that new tactics may be tested. While we wait to discover the ultimate effectiveness of these new strategies, their very nature reflects an important and fundamental change in attitude toward student recruitment and retention at Penn State's School of Forest Resources.
"Undergraduate recruitment strategies at Penn State's School of Forest Resources,"
Natural Resources and Environmental Issues:
Vol. 12, Article 23.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/nrei/vol12/iss1/23