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“What I am Working on Today” Blog

A Prospective Student Blog

May 3, 2011

Michael Bugeja, director,
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication,
Iowa State University of Science and Technology

The Greenlee School was one of the first accredited programs to streamline curricula. We shared our methods in many venues, including AEJMC, under the title “The Economics of Curricular Convergence” and in The Chronicle of Higher Education, under the title “The Elephant in the Room: Curricular Glut.”

A new article about surviving Academic Year 12 budget cuts, forthcoming in The Chronicle, also references our curricular streamlining.

We ended emphases, banned non-majors from skills classes, reduced pre-requisites and more.

We put the curricular savings back into the School, adding sections of the few core courses needed for graduation, including “Reporting and Writing for the Mass Media”—a basic reporting class.

At one time we only had two sections of reporting. Now we have five.

While our prospective student numbers kept increasing, our major enrollment kept decreasing—to the tune of 100 students.

Where did they go?

To commencement.

An unintended consequence of a streamlined curriculum is quicker graduation rates. Our state Board of Regents applauds this idea, noting in this report that one of its goals is to increase the four-year graduation rate.

But there are no incentives to do so. ISU’s budget model rewards the number of majors, and our program had been among the largest in the institution, closing in on 800 (with graduate students).

To maintain our student credit hours, we had to step up our recruitment efforts to make up for the lost cohort. One of our ideas was to create a prospective student blog showcasing alumni, faculty, students and prospects themselves.

You can visit the blog by clicking here.

I’ll be posting other articles about this blog because it shows all the signs of success, from the multimedia format to its top-viewed pages, “The Greenlee Promise,” “Internship Spotlight,” “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!” and “News About You.”

We listed the site on Google Analytics, so we even know where hits on coming from in the United States and abroad. We send that information weekly to Admissions so that our recruiters can follow up in those states.

The blog has not replaced our Website, of course, which also has a prospective student section. But the venues are different. You can compare the two by clicking here.

We have been surprised at the enthusiastic response to the blog. Enrollment is up by 14 percent in journalism and 11 percent in advertising.

Does your program have a blog for prospective students? If so, share the link.

We’d be happy to hear from you!

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