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Volume 72, Issue 137, Wednesday, April 25, 2007

News

UH recruiters employ varied tactics

From open houses to traveling abroad, 
each college has its own way of attracting graduate applicants

by KELSIE HAHN and GUILHERME CUNHA
The Daily Cougar

Graduate recruitment efforts usually involve traveling to information sessions and college fairs around the country, and talking to students about pursuing higher degrees at UH.

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, however, is taking a more pro active approach and working to entice minority students to UH through the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate program.

"There's all kinds of actual components to that program," Stuart Hall, associate dean for graduate studies and international programs said.

Christina Chan, AGEP director, said in addition to workshops about applying to graduate school and preparing graduate students to become professors, mentoring and a summer undergraduate research programs have been incorporated into the program.

"We encourage undergraduates to get research experience, which is usually a good precursor to going to graduate school," she said. "There are also graduate students that are involved, and we try to set up a mentoring relationship where we have faculty and graduate students mentoring undergrads."

AGEP's effect on graduate admissions for NSM is hard to gauge, Chan said, as the program is only entering its third summer at UH and there is no baseline data, though she said she is looking to improve mentoring and increase focus on retention rates.

Hall said overall NSM's graduate enrollment has remained stable in the 750 to 800 range, though a shift in the level of students has taken place.

"Now, we have more doctoral students than we used to have and fewer master's students," he said. "The mix has just changed."

AGEP is unusual as far as graduate recruitment at UH goes, as most recruiting is done at the department level, rather than collegewide.

"Most of the graduate recruitment in NSM is done at the department level. There's very little central recruiting done," Hall said.

Catherine Patterson, associate dean for graduate studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, said CLASS handles recruitment much the same way.

"As a college, we're more trying to make sure that students who come looking for this type of information can find it well and find it easily," she said, noting that many departments are looking to expand their efforts outside the immediate Houston area.

Such efforts, however, take money that isn't always available.

"Obviously funding is an issue," she said. "Some of (the departments) would have to be able to go out to these recruitment fairs that there are around the country. Some programs find those very useful to attend but again, you have to have the resources to send someone out there."

The College of Technology reaches out through open houses to local students and fairs as well as pursuing students internationally, Heidar Malki, associate dean for research and graduate studies, said.

"Recently, we have made trips to India, Finland and Vietnam to establish cooperative exchange programs," he said, noting that the college has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Delhi College of Engineering to work together.

The largest effect on acquiring new students, Malki said, has been the college's success in catering to workplace demand.

"Many of our alumni contact the College of Technology (to) hire our new graduates," he said. "The number of job posting requests the College of Technology receives continues to increase."

For undergraduates, the Honors College has also witnessed a decline in applications for the 2007 school year, though demand still exceeds open spots in the program. 

"Our current applications just topped 600. That puts us in line historically for this time of year with 2003, 2004. It puts us roughly 90 applications behind 2005, and 40 applications behind 2006," Executive Associate Dean for The Honors College Bill Monroe said.

Monroe said, however, that the numbers are not threatening because the college regularly accepts 350-400 students annually, and efforts to attract more freshmen continue.

"Our recruitment efforts have consisted of the open houses, the honors high school banquet, participation in the University's programming (UH nights, Cougar Preview and Cougar Fridays), as well as direct mailings to students who do well on standardized tests, and letters and phone calls to qualified University applicants to let them know about The Honors College and to encourage them to apply," Monroe said.

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