Here at the Association of Departments of English, we’re talking a lot about why fewer students are majoring in English and what we can do about it.
Here’s a very good playbook on how to improve your recruitment strategies by Emily Todd and Lina Insana. Download away! It’s really great.
Here’s what I’d add to all that great advice.
Use every communication method at your disposal to reach more students.
I realized that I’m lucky to have certain tools at my disposal.
- One is something called Banner Works, a pretty simple program that allows me to contact Ball State students by major or minor and send them an email. I use this a lot to communicate with my own majors, and I use it to send a message, say, to all the Theater majors to let them know that they might be interested in our new class on Shakespeare’s plays.
- The other is Ball State’s Comm Center, which allows me to send emails to segments of or to the entire campus community.
- (One thing that shocked me when I took my job as Assistant Chair was the dearth of communication options available to me. It’s surprisingly hard for a department to communicate effectively to their alums and to their students, let alone to non-majors.)
Here is a link to an email that I sent via the Ball State Comm Center in Fall 2015 to all undergraduate students and faculty. I sent it out right before registration was to begin, and I spent about two hours crafting this message of a mere 200 words.
Yes, it’s a listicle.
A few months later, I discovered that the number of minors in our department was up by about 25%.