Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



NACTA Journal • September 2007


Declining enrollment in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources fueled discussions about changing the name of the college as a means of reversing the trend. In spring 2005, a comprehensive study was launched to assess the perceptions of key college populations. This study relates to one of those four populationsresident, college-bound high school seniors. A survey developed by Kansas State University was a starting point for the development of a mailed survey to evaluate the college's image, the influence of the college's name, the level of awareness of program offerings and career opportunities, and to identify actionable changes. A sample (4,500) stratified by county classification yielded 479 responses (10.6%). High school seniors were generally unaware about the college and the opportunities it offered to students, and were unsure if they would recommend the college to prospective students. Rural students were more likely to consider attending a community college and then transferring than were micropolitan or metropolitan students. Changes in university and college marketing strategies were recommended, and it was concluded that insufficient evidence existed to warrant changing the name of the college at this time. Replication of the study in three to five years was recommended. have staff from the Food Processing Center at UNL with market assessment expertise lead the development of survey instruments and conduct the surveys. The faculty subcommittee was charged with overseeing the survey process and presenting the results and recommendations toCASNRfaculty. In the resulting study, this team surveyed sample populations within four basic categories: collegebound Nebraska high school students, current UNL students, current UNL faculty, and CASNR stakeholders. This paper presents results from the survey of college-bound Nebraska high school students. While all the populations provided useful feedback, the survey of college-bound Nebraska high school students was of greatest interest since it provided the most direct information on impacts for recruiting students intoCASNR.