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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

November 4, 2005

Student recruitment strategies feature latest technologies

by Anne Krapfl

Iowa State will use podcasts to recruit high school graduates and first- and second-year ISU students into language programs. The proposal is one of 15 to receive a grant in a competitive program funded by the president's office and administered by a committee of the Professional and Scientific Council. Now in its 12th year, the program will award a total of $30,000 in grants for projects that more actively involve P&S staff in attracting and retaining students.

The projects that the committee chose to fund this year "are innovative and cutting-edge," said Mary Darrow, co-chair of the P&S recruitment and retention committee. "We're proud of what we get out of that small investment."

Podcasting is a means of distributing audio and video programs via the Internet, typically in the MP3 audio format. In this case, a podcast will be a 5- to 10-minute audio file. Undergraduate students will be hired to help develop podcasts that present interesting information about ISU's language programs. Staff in the Foreign Language Learning Resource Center will coordinate the project. Grant amount: $3,925.

Other proposals to receive funding are:

  • Road Less Traveled Project. Fifty middle school girls from Des Moines and Louisa counties will attend the April 2006 "Taking the Road Less Traveled" conference on campus to learn about careers in science, math, technology and engineering. $1,000.
  • Journey to Success. Workshops and small group meetings help raise the GPA and retention of students receiving financial aid whose GPA is less than 2.0. $2,275.
  • FIRST LEGO League (FLL). Iowa State will provide sponsorship funds and student coaches for four new FLL teams from Iowa communities with racially diverse populations or underfunded school technology programs and help them travel to the FLL tournament on campus Jan. 21. (FLL, for elementary and middle school students, combines robotics with team building, problem solving and creativity.) $2,925.
  • Beyond the B.S.: Engineering Your Graduate School Possibilities. At two workshops planned for February and March, sophomores and early-level juniors in the College of Engineering will learn about preparing for graduate school. The workshops will help students decide how to complete their undergraduate work to enhance career possibilities. $825.
  • Martin Hall Challenge. Activities and events (for example, "study bucks" and dean's list dinner) for Martin Hall residents that emphasize academics but include social or community service components, are intended to foster a community where students thrive. $925.
  • Why Opportunity Works: Youth and 4-H, ISU Academic Programs and Careers Make it Happen. An interactive exhibit (for use at next June's state 4-H conference) and video stories from ISU staff and alumni will show the connection between 4-H programs, academic majors at Iowa State and careers in Iowa. $2,425.
  • A Major Fair! Hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the February 2006 fair will offer a "one-stop shopping" opportunity for all ISU students to add, change or select a major or minor. Prospective transfer students also will be invited. $2,425.
  • National Society of Black Engineers 2nd Annual Middle School Science and Engineering Exposition. NSBE will host a daylong expo on campus in February 2006 to introduce students from Ames and Des Moines to engineering, chemistry, information technology and materials science through interactive demonstrations. $925.
  • Engineering Labs Video Tour. College of Engineering staff will create, for use on the college's student recruiting Web site, videos featuring interviews with students working in some of Engineering's labs. The intent is to highlight ISU facilities, show that undergraduate students get hands-on experience at ISU, and increase the applicant pool of engineering students. $1,675.
  • Wellbody Program. In a six-class series coordinated by staff at the Student Health Center and led primarily by their peers, ISU students will learn how healthy eating, physical activity and positive body image can help them be more successful students. $1,000.
  • Ingenieria con Acento (Engineering with an Accent) This is a proposed first phase in a long-term recruiting relationship with Hispanic communities in Iowa, Omaha and the Quad Cities. It may include mentoring and role model opportunities for industry representatives (alumni), ISU student members of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, faculty and staff and high school students. $1,425.
  • Construction Engineering Recruitment Project: Staying Power. The department of construction engineering will produce a recruitment CD, featuring their students and alumni, that will go to all Iowa high schools and community colleges. Undergraduate students will track recruitment efforts. $1,425.
  • Guaranteed 4.O Workshops. The focus is on retaining first-year and academically at-risk upper-class students of color. The multicultural liaison officers in all ISU colleges and the Student Support Services program will use the national "Guaranteed 4.0" workshops as part of their academic programming (550-600 students total). Guaranteed 4.0, based in Dallas, is a method for teaching students to "learn how to learn." $3,500.
  • This is Agriculture? Local activities for high school students led by ISU Extension staff, a field trip to campus hosted by the College of Agriculture, and visits to ag-related businesses are intended to expand prospective students' perceptions about agriculture and help them discover academic majors and careers in agriculture that match their interests. $3,325.


The largest grant is $3,925; the smallest is $825. Six of the projects build on proposals funded last year. Grant recipients will complete mid-year and end-of-year reports on the outcomes of their efforts.


"We're proud of what we get out of that small investment."

Mary Darrow