Date of this Version
It is our pleasure to provide the Twelfth Annual Report for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR). We believe in the importance of reflecting on the accomplishments of our faculty, staff and students. The annual report offers the opportunity to review the year, and serves as an archive of accomplishments for our College. This report covers the period August 1, 2004 to July 31, 2005.
The college enjoyed another year of accomplishments and change. The students excelled, the faculty’s enthusiasm for the academic mission continued to thrive and campus programming expanded. Clearly, the most visible activity this year (internally and externally, nationally and internationally) has been our conversation about our image, the College name and enrollment challenges.
Preliminary results from the recent survey conducted are now available at http://casnr.unl.edu/facstaff/name.htm . They suggest that CASNR’s image is dominated by agriculture and farming, especially in the metropolitan areas where there are more high school students considering higher education. The survey results show that successful recruiting is heavily influenced by whether the student foresees potential majors and career opportunities within the college offerings. The College is trying to understand what its current name suggests to prospective students. Declining enrollment for the last eight years is a trend that cannot continue. We have to explore every possible cause and solution for this, including students’ perceptions of our name.
The College has been very progressive and innovative in its academic offerings. Our faculty continually review and update our offerings while maintaining our core curriculum. We have successfully reached out to transfer students by establishing agreements with state and community colleges. Furthermore, we host FFA and 4-H participants on campus, our UNL Extension Educators bring high school students from their area to campus and we have science teachers in Omaha and Lincoln who arrange for their students to meet with our faculty on campus for workshops. There is a demand for our graduates with 70% of them staying in Nebraska to contribute to our economy and communities. We have, also, increased our focus on marketing activities. Nevertheless, for the last eight years, CASNR enrollments have declined. It may be that once we analyze the results of our survey and the input we are receiving from others, we will find our name conveys all it should and will remain as is. It may be we will find some change is needed if we are going to attract the prospective students so important to us. Whether or not any change occurs, we think there is significant value in the conversation. The subcommittee of the Faculty Advisory Council presented its evaluation of the data and a set of recommendations at the August 18, 2005 faculty meeting.