Monday, August 24, 2009

Data Analysis: Ways of Recruiting and Retaining Majors

I've done an examination of the many helpful suggestions that survey participants made in response to the question of how they recruit and retain majors. The full list of comments is available here, but what follows is (my admittedly amateur) content analysis of those responses.

In order to recruit and retain majors, here is what survey participants suggest (in order of frequency)

1. Create high-quality courses, especially introductory level courses (15)
2. Hold outside-of-class social events with students (10)
3. Ensure that students can double-major, combining philosophy with some other field (7)
4. Connect philosophy courses with the general education program (7)
5. Engage in advertising via majors fairs, high school visits, brochures, etc. (7)
6. Promote the value of a phil. major for law school or other (non-philosophy) grad programs (6)
7. Close faculty-student relationships (4)
8. Personally inviting students to major (4)
9. Be flexible with the major requirements (4)
10. Give public lectures on campus (4)

It seems that having a respectable number of philosophy majors (and minors) is particularly important for a number of reasons. More majors means more upper level courses which means (as will be discussed in a future post) the ability for faculty teaching in small departments to connect their resesarch with their teaching, and this is an oft-recommended way to get research done while teaching a heavy course load. Moreover, in an economic situation where administrations may be looking to cut those departments that have only a handful of majors, recruiting more majors may be necessary for the very existence of the department itself.

Have other folks found creative solutions to the problem of recruiting and retaining majors?

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