Assessment of recruiting methods to enhance poultry science undergraduate programs

TitleAssessment of recruiting methods to enhance poultry science undergraduate programs
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsWells, JBenoit
Date Published2019
UniversityMississippi State University
City/Place PublishedMS
Thesis TypeDoctoral

Recruitment efforts are important in a college setting. With only six remaining poultry science departments, they specifically need recruitment to help meet extreme demands for students by the industry. However, little is known about which recruitment efforts are effective or if poultry science majors prefer specific recruitment methods. Chapter II of this dissertation is an assessment of current recruitment practices and enrollment of the six poultry science departments in the U.S. Results revealed that all departments currently have recruitment programs and differences were observed within each. Some were in the budget, time spent recruiting, amount of faculty dedicated to recruitment efforts, and activities utilized in recruitment efforts. Chapter III of the dissertation was a comparison of recruitment programs with student numbers, graduation rates, and student satisfaction. This study was conducted in an attempt to understand which recruitment practices work for a given poultry science department and which department, if any, could benefit from a change. Departments with low enrollment counts had variations in recruitment practices when compared to other departments with higher enrollment counts, such as their perceived effectiveness of FFA national convention, direct mailing and brochures, and hosting 4-H and FFA poultry activities. In Chapter IV, a survey was conducted to determine the influence of factors on student choice among poultry science students. This study determined that conversations with a poultry faculty member or department representative, campus student activities, cost (consist of tuition, room, and board), scholarships, preparation for employment, job opportunities, and high school agriculture teachers were the most influential factors for poultry science students in the decision to major in poultry science. Collectively, these three studies reveal that conversations with prospective students, including campus tours where these conversations can occur, should be utilized. Scholarships, cost, and employment opportunities are also very important to students. Additionally, poultry science department personnel should target FFA events and/or 4-H programs as recruitment opportunities. Other efforts could be used to raise awareness about a poultry science department or poultry science as a major, in general, but might not be effective in recruiting students to a specific department.