Paper No. 8
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM
ATTRACTING MAJORS THROUGH RECRUITMENT TALKS IN INTRODUCTORY GEOSCIENCE CLASSES
Active recruitment of geoscience majors is essential to maintaining a strong program. Although many instructors encourage their students to consider geology or geography as a major, a more focused approach is necessary to realize substantial increases in the number of majors. Recruitment talks are one way to enhance recruitment of majors from introductory classes. The Department of Geology and Geography (DoGG) at Georgia Southern University offers a significant number of core curriculum courses including physical geology, environmental geology, oceanography, world regional geography, and physical geography. Most of the students in these courses are not science majors and many are in their first two years of college. These students have become the focus of our recruitment efforts. The DoGG began using recruitment talks as a way to actively recruit majors in Spring 2001. At that time, the Department had approximately 40 majors (combined geology and geography). In the Fall 2004 semester, the number of majors topped 100 for the first time. Since then, the DoGG has continued to grow, approaching our goal of having 1% of the ~16,000 undergraduates at Georgia Southern University as geology or geography majors. Much of this growth can be attributed to recruitment talks in introductory classes. Several DoGG faculty members present recruitment talks during regularly scheduled class times each semester. Talks are given by a faculty member other than the class instructor and are normally given just before registration for the next semester begins. A typical talk begins with a general discussion of how to choose a major, followed by an explanation of why majoring in geology or geography is a good career choice. Opportunities for international travel, field-related projects, and frequent field trips are highlighted with many images of our students in the field. Jobs in geoscience fields are discussed, stressing the opportunities is GIS and the oil and gas industry. Talks take ~30 minutes and literature about the DoGG's programs is provided at the end. Additionally, we encourage students to talk to any of our faculty about choosing a major, core curriculum courses, and strategies for success in their undergraduate careers. Our increase from 40 to over 100 majors in recent years attests to the efficacy of this recruitment strategy.