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AAMU’s Ag School Exceeds Recruitment/Retention Goals (1847 hits)


Members of the School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Recruitment and Retention Team (Courtesy of the School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)

Huntsville, Ala. ---- The School of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (SAES), faced with the urgent need to compete for and retain its academic talent, recently established a new Recruiting and Retention Unit (RRU), as well as strategies to increase new student enrollment, with a first-year goal of at least 30%.
Fall ’08 student enrollment data has shown that the SAES experienced a 33% increase (144) in freshmen enrollment from (101) 2007. In addition, there was a 4% increase in returning student enrollment in the School. This suggests that the new strategies of the SAES-Recruitment and Retention Unit, coordinated by Dr. Taylor Byrd, Jr., have been highly effective.
“Historically, agricultural career programs have been less attractive to potential candidates, because of limited career marketing and the stigma associated with the era of labor intensive farming and the perceived image that agriculture is farming,” states Byrd. With this in mind, the new recruiting approach utilizes state-of-the-art multi-media, face-to-face and personal telephone contacts, along with e-mail to inform its audiences that agriculture has changed drastically over the last 20 years. Agriculture is more than farming; it is a business and a science, Byrd maintains.

The Recruitment and Retention Team-RRT (pictured) consists of at least two scientists from each of the five departments within the SAES, and a representative from AAMU’s Office of Admissions. During scheduled outings, the RRT meets with parents, high school students, and/or counselors.

Emphasis is placed on the scientific, business, and high-tech, professional careers and job opportunities, which present a vast array of options from production agriculture, animal science, and governmental agencies, to bio-systems, forestry management, remote sensing, food safety, air and water quality, bio-fuels, community planning, nutrition, family studies, fashion design, hospitality management, plant pathology, food and environmental science, pre-veterinarian medicine, biotechnology, and other areas. Additionally, the Team underscores the fact that these areas also come with multi-level degree offerings, to include the B.S., M.S., M.Ed., and Ph.D. degrees.

Taylor says that although the more “traditional” job opportunities exist (e.g., governmental agencies, cooperative extension, real estate development, nonprofit organizations, community development corporations, and private industry), the RRT emphasizes preparing students to build communities through critical thinking, application of knowledge, effective communication, and to be productive functioning members of our global society.
Posted By: Jehan Bunch
Friday, November 21st 2008 at 12:32PM
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