UA Recruiting Efforts Yield Record Enrollments

By Megan Wilson:

The University of Arkansas broke multiple enrollment records during the 2018-2019 school year, according to enrollment data.

Preliminary enrollment shows 27,778 UA students, an increase of 220 from fall 2017, according to the UA website.

The freshman class includes 2,507 students from Arkansas, another record, making freshman enrollment 5,019, according to the website.

The university set a diversity record with 20 percent minority students, with African-American and Hispanic students comprising the two largest minorities, according to the website.

Lynn Mosesso, director of Graduate and International Recruitment and Admissions, reported 1,433 international students from 115 countries.

The Multicultural Center has “different activities to educate the campus community about specific cultural groups and [they] engage student learning through games, presentation and conversation” said Brande Flack, director of Retention Programs at the Multicultural Center.

Suzanne McCray, vice chancellor of Enrollment, said her department has been making efforts to reach and recruit students across the state. College recruiters want to go where the students are, McCray said, but some high schools don’t let recruiters visit classrooms.

“There are some schools in the state that don’t allow you to come in to the school. There we’ll do a coffee chat in the community,” she said.

She said the university wants to be the university for the entire state and to do that they have to meet people where they are and take them information about the school.

Providing access to the flagship institution to students across the state is “a very important part of our mission,” McCray said.

“Being out there, being in the schools, letting students know you care and that they’ll find community on our campus, I think that’s incredibly important,” McCray said.

Many students from the university are from small towns in Arkansas and they need to be able to feel like the UofA is a home away from home, McCray said.

“It’s a combination of bringing the information to them and the excitement of going to college and the possibility of them going to the university,” she said. “Then getting them on campus so they can see if this a good fit for them.”

There have been initiatives to bring underrepresented students to the university by offering scholarships.

“In order to diversify a Predominantly White Institution like the UofA, we must work actively to recruit and support students of racial minority status,” Flack said. “Providing scholarships is one way to assist with the college expenses while fully investing in the diversity we value on our campus.”



Fall Deadline Near for Undergrad Research Grants

Students in a variety of academic fields and are interested in a research grant should apply for an undergraduate research grant by Oct. 17.

Almost 200 UA students applied for the research grant tailored for undergraduates during the 2017-2018 school year. Of those applicants, 42 received what is called a SURF grant, or Student Undergraduate Research Fund.

SURF grant supports UA students who research projects in Arkansas. The grant offers undergraduate students up to $3,250 for a living stipend and travel money, said Jonathan Langley, assistant director of Enrollment Services.

The program is designed to allow sophomores, juniors and seniors to complete research projects in their major, Langley said.

“SURF grants are available for students in all majors, from architecture to zoology. Any eligible student performing undergraduate research is encouraged to apply,” Langley said.

With almost $4,000 paid by the university, students can use the money to go on one of the 40 to 50 faculty-led study abroad programs.

“From broadening my horizons about the world to making a ton of new friends, study abroad has positively influenced me and served as a highlight of my time in college,” said senior Amrit Kannan, who studied in Belize during the summer of 2018.

Study abroad and the SURF grant give students an in-depth learning experience, Kannan said.

“Studying in a classroom has its limits. Instead of looking at a picture in a textbook, study abroad allows you to live in that picture, and experience it for days on end,” Kannan said.

A recipient also could have higher chances of finding other scholarships or being accepted into graduate school, Langley said.

“Many students who received SURF funding at the University of Arkansas have gone on to win nationally competitive scholarships and gain acceptance to some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the world,” Langley said.

The total $4,000 SURF award comes from a combination of funding from the UofA and the state, according to the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards website.

Chancellor plans to cut costs

Cutting administrative costs will allow UA administrators to give back to students, faculty and staff support programs, the UA chancellor said in his annual State of the University address.


Reducing the amount spent on supplies for the more than 4,000 printers on campus, as well as other administrative costs, would result in money that could better serve students and faculty and staff, Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz said.


“For every $2 we identify in cost savings, we will return $1 to student support and $1 to faculty support,” Steinmetz said.


Another example of cost-cutting that would provide money for student and faculty support services is searching for efficient test-taking services used in classes with hundreds of students, Steinmetz said.


Upgrading the wireless network in Hillside Auditorium


Upgrading the wireless network in Hillside Auditorium allowed a professor who was forced to use an exam-proctoring service that cost $90,000 each semester to provide test proctoring for five tests each semester to switch to a better in-class option that cost less, Steinmetz said.


“Frankly, that’s $90,000 I’m glad we’re not paying anymore,” Steinmetz said.


Steinmetz also stressed the importance of creating more campus jobs for students. He thinks it would be less expensive than outsourcing the work.


“I know our students would appreciate the chance to earn some extra income,” Steinmetz said.


The UofA also reached records in freshman retention and graduation rate, Steinmetz said. These are two areas he has tried to improve as during his nearly three years as chancellor.


The UofA retained just under 84 percent of freshmen students from last year and the six-year graduation rate reached 65.5 percent, Steinmetz said.


Steinmetz thinks that retaining freshman can raise the graduation rate, he said.


“There is a ripple effect we see in the junior, sophomore and senior years,” Steinmetz said.


Increasing freshman retention has been a part of Steinmetz’s plan to level out UA enrollment at 30,000 students on campus, he said.


UA administrators conducted a study of the campus and decided that 30,000 students is the ideal number for the UA campus at its current size, Steinmetz said.


In addition to increasing retention, the school has begun to intentionally limit the number of freshmen it enrolls each year, with just over 5,000 new freshman this year, Steinmetz said. This was an increase of approximately 250 students over last year’s enrollment.


UA administrators also try to balance 50 percent Arkansan students with 50 percent out-of-state students, Steinmetz said.


In the last year the UofA has been able to achieve that balance of in-state and out-of-state students within one percentage point, Steinmetz said.


To encourage Arkansan students to attend, 87 percent of scholarship money at the UofA is awarded to Arkansas students, Steinmetz said.


Steinmetz thinks that the mindset of UA students, faculty and staff, should be accepting to new ideas and willing to creatively tackle problems on campus, he said.


“When presented with a challenge or a new idea, let’s focus on saying ‘yes’ instead of defaulting to ‘no’,” Steinmetz said.

Career Development Offers Clear Path to Job Success

Students looking for career opportunities, resume reviews, and job search strategies can get advice from a counselor at the Career Development Center on the sixth floor in the Arkansas Union.
The center provides a variety of ways employers can connect with the diverse employment pool of hundreds of UA students.
“Students can meet with a career counselor and that counselor will help them update their [social media] profile and work with them on that,” said Rickey Lee Booker Jr., director of UA Career Programs.
“I also work for the Graduate School of International Education, but primarily I help students through appointments like resume reviews and walk-in interviews and career counseling,” said Cady Stebhen, Career Counselor and Graduate Assistant. “With the graduate school I do professional development and presentations and professional development blogs. I also supervise to student interns and assist them with their own professional development as well as their social media and public relations positions.”
Most of Stebhen’s graduate student presentations are tailored for careers after graduate school. Stebhen also said she presents on “social media and conferences and how to job search. Overall, it’s like through those presentations, and then anytime they come in here those resume reviews or job interviews tips or anything like that.”
Networking and having an online presence are key concepts that career counselors want students to capitalize on, Stebhen said.
“LinkedIn has a lot of great resources like the alumni search,” she said. “The alumni search is a way to connect with alums in the way of a job or position that a student is interested in. It’s just way to get their foot in the door.
“We also recommend that they have a really great and updated LinkedIn and Handshake profile because job positions are posted on there all the time. Your LinkedIn is a way to communicate more in all of your experiences versus a one-page resume if they are going into an industry job,” Stebhen said.
Booker also thinks that LinkedIn can help students with their job search.
“The key thing about LinkedIn which is huge, is recommendations,” Booker said. “People that you work with who are also on LinkedIn can also recommend you and you can see people and what they said about you and different projects that you’ve worked on.
“So, when you see 20 or 30 or 40 recommendations it really makes you think ‘wow that’s a lot of people who work with that student or person and they can really get a feel for who you are and so that’s how companies are now going and recruiting students with all these recommendations and skills on LinkedIn.
“Companies can just go in and see that and you won’t even have to submit anything,” Booker said. “You definitely want to get some students and some faculty and staff and other people you have worked with. Recommendations are a more prominent thing now more so than skills and endorsements.”

Erica Estes, the director of Employer Relations for Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences helps hundreds of students a year who are trying to find jobs after graduation.
Her advice?
“Students should be spending about 60 percent of their time connecting with professionals or with people that will help them; that could even be another student who has worked and done an internship with a company. And 30 percent is actual opportunities and then 10 percent is actually applying. And a lot of times I think that gets reversed,” Estes said.
Stebhen said that when she looks through students’ resumes reviews that students should rather highlight their accomplishments rather than duties they’ve performed.
“We see it all the time that students at any level will just list out what they do in their day-to-day and most of the time if you are applying for something within the same field or industry they already know what your position does,” Stebhen said. “So, because of that they don’t need to be told and we recommend to students that they should highlight accomplishments or ways that they’ve stood out or to scale with what they’ve done. To highlight transferable skills and to highlight how they’ve stood out and how they’ve learned something maybe different from other people.”


Lot 56 Bus Stop to be Replaced

Construction to replace a bus stop in the north end of Lot 56 is estimated to be finished this week, a UA official said.

Buses need thicker concrete at stops, and the concrete there was not sufficient and would deteriorate sooner, David Wilson, communications director of UA Transit and Parking, said in an email.

Construction began Sept. 19, and was estimated to be completed Oct. 4, Wilson said.

Once the new bus stop is completed, eastbound buses on West Carlson Drive can pull over to the right, Wilson said. Vehicles behind the bus will then can continue east on the street, rather than wait behind buses stopped for passengers.

Razorback Transit routes 11 and 13 were altered slightly to avoid the construction area. Those routes entered the west end of Lot 56 from Razorback Road at the parking lot entrance, south of West Ladyback Drive, according to a press release.

Six parking spaces temporarily were not in use because of the construction, Wilson said. Two are handicapped spaces and four are regular spaces.

“There really is no need to have alternative parking options for the six spaces during this project, because there are still many vacant spaces throughout Lot 56,” Wilson said in an email.

A temporary bus stop was opened just south of the construction site in the north part of Lot 56, Wilson said.

Completed construction means that eastbound and westbound routes on West Carlson will have a surface durable enough to withstand frequent bus-stop activity, Wilson said.

Oct. 15 was the first day the new bus stop in Lot 56 was in use