Inside Iowa State
October 9, 1998
12 teams receive grants to improve student recruitment, retention
by Anne Dolan
Twelve proposals by teams of P&S employees received funding this year in an ongoing effort to recruit and retain students at Iowa State. The grant program, now in its fifth year, is funded by the President's Office and coordinated by a committee of the Professional and Scientific Council.
Employee teams submitted 22 proposals late this summer, requesting a total of $56,882. The 12 proposals received funding totaling $25,000; seven were fully funded and five received partial funding, ranging from 68 to 74 percent of the requests.
The peer selection committee looked for proposals that included cooperation among departments, matching funds or cost sharing, high numbers of students impacted and staff/students involved, expected outcomes and a clear procedure for measuring outcomes.
Following is a summary of the funded proposals:
- Develop an academic resource guide (hard copy and Web versions) that provides a campus-wide listing of places students can receive help with study and other academic difficulties. It will be distributed to more than 700 staff members (hall directors, academic advisers and others) and maintained by the Academic Success Center.
- Hold training receptions for alumni volunteers in Minneapolis and Chicago as part of student recruiting efforts in those key ISU markets.
- Develop a series of mini-workshops for adults thinking about beginning or returning to college. Workshops will be delivered via the Iowa Communications Network to Mason City, Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Sioux City.
- Follow up, via phone and personal letters, with 125 Iowans who responded to a summer 1998 radio campaign promoting Iowa State's seven off-campus master degree programs. Extended and continuing education is spearheading the effort aimed at encouraging these individuals to enroll in a program.
- Implement an early recruitment strategy for ninth and 10th grade students in northwest Iowa that also involves local alumni, county extension employees, students' guidance counselors and parents, and includes a spring visit to campus. The goals are to promote extension as a source for college information, particularly through its "Workforce Preparation" initiative, and encourage students to consider attending ISU.
- Supplement the experience of Iowa State's first cross- cultural learning community with funding that allows team members to attend four fall cultural events together. Follow- up sessions after the events are aimed at supporting connections among students and stimulating discussion about cultural similarities and differences.
- Set up a mentoring program between minority students in the colleges of Education and Family and Consumer Sciences and minority junior high and high school students. The plan includes at least monthly communication, a day-long visit to the high school students' schools and a "shadowing" day on campus in the spring. Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Sioux City, and East High School, Des Moines, are the schools being targeted for this pilot project.
- Identify activities and experiments that apply math and science principles to real-world situations and deliver to about a dozen high school classes via the Iowa Communications Network. Later, prospective students and their parents will be invited to informal "town meetings" about Iowa State at six locations and dates.
- Create a brochure and plan a cultural evening that promote the use of Spanish language skills and study opportunities in Mexico. The brochure would be distributed on campus and in Iowa high schools. Iowa State has a 14-year relationship with a university of technology in Monterrey.
- Coordinate presentations by professional women, on career and life issues, to students, faculty and staff in ISU's science and engineering departments. The goal is to develop a sense of community and improve the climate within departments. An on-line discussion network for participants also is planned.
- Conduct a fall survey of student alcohol use habits and, with that data, develop brochures (3) for incoming students, parents, and faculty and staff. The goal of the project is to correct student, staff and parents' misperceptions about "normal" college behavior as a beginning to changing students' abuse of alcohol.
- Coordinate events, activities and contests among the house floors in Wallace residence hall to enhance student satisfaction with residence hall life and encourage participation in community service and student leadership.
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