July 16, 2012
Michael Bugeja, director,
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication,
Iowa State University of Science and Technology
Journalism programs have been battling rumors that our industry is dying rather than changing, and that has impacted our discipline in more ways than most of us realize. The downsizing media, which had been happening since 2006, accelerated during the recent recession, with layoffs at metro outlets duly reported. This occurred as many universities adopted a business-based budget model that rewarded academic units for majors and student credit hours. As accredited programs must keep skills classes small, or no more than 20, this also hurt us.
The way to adjust for these phenomena is to recruit and retain students. At the Greenlee School, much of my week is spent on these tasks. I work with our program coordinator, Kim McDonough, on sending out email blasts, updating our prospective student blog, meeting with prospective students and their parents, and hiring our own majors to serve as ambassadors.
Our efforts here have proved successful.
If yours have, too, you might want to do a news release as we did below so that your constituents, benefactors and higher-ups know that journalism and mass communication is changing, and new admits are excited about that.
Here’s the release, which we update each month from May through August:
According to July 1 data, incoming student enrollment in both undergraduate degree programs of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication is up significantly over this time last year—25% in journalism and 40% in advertising—for a combined total of 131 student accepts, tied with Psychology as the highest total in the largest college at Iowa State University.
The Greenlee School is one of four destination majors in the college that also recorded incoming accepts above 100. Psychology reported 131 accepts as of July 1; Biology, 128; and Computer Science, 122. These units are considered “destination” majors because more than 1 out of every 4 incoming students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has enrolled in the Greenlee School or these three other popular academic units.
The term “accepts” applies to students who have received an offer of admission to Iowa State University and have paid fees of $250 or more. Typically, the College captures 95% of those students who end up attending the institution.
Final enrollment figures won’t be available until August, but the trend continues to be encouraging. As of May 1, 2012, Greenlee School enrollment was at 118; since then, 13 more pre-majors have accepted offers.
In June, the School set a goal of recruiting an incoming class of 125 students in both undergraduate degree programs. Current enrollment in pre-journalism is 103 compared to 82 at this time last year; pre-advertising has 28 accepts compared to 20 at this time last year.
The College as a whole saw 19 academic units increase enrollment and 14 units lose enrollment over the same time period last year. As of July 1, total enrollment in the College is 1,849 as opposed to 1,821 in July 2011. The University’s total has risen with 6,952 incoming students as opposed to 6,541 at this time last year.
Director Michael Bugeja credited the award-winning faculty and staff for the higher totals. He and Program Coordinator Kim McDonough have been consulting with Mark Imerman, Director of College Relations and Student Recruiting, on recruitment and retention. Bugeja praised Imerman’s efforts and also credited academic advisers and student ambassadors for their work before and during orientation, as both interact with students and parents of prospective students.
To increase May 1 accept totals, which numbered 118 for both degree programs, Bugeja and McDonough sent email blasts, created blog posts and sent high school adviser letters. The goal of 125 new Greenlee students is close to reality and may even be surpassed by the 10th day of classes, Bugeja said. He asks alumni reading this enrollment update to continue encouraging potential journalists and practitioners to consider the Greenlee School.