Assessing Factors that Influence the Recruitment of Majors from Introductory Geology Classes at Northern Arizona University

  • Hoisch T
  • Bowie J
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In order to guide the formulation of strategies for recruiting undergraduates into the geology program at Northern Arizona University, we surveyed 783 students in introductory geology classes and 23 geology majors in their junior and senior years. Our analysis shows that ∼7% of students in the introductory classes are possible candidates for recruitment. Influential factors that weigh in favor of majoring in geology include good employability, good salary potential, and opportunities for working outdoors, field work, observing nature, travel, and environmentally friendly employment. In addition, students view a career as a geologist as potentially the most fulfilling of the science occupations and among the more environmentally friendly. However, students perceive geology to be the least difficult of the sciences, and geology occupations to be low-paying and low in prestige relative to the other sciences. These negative perceptions are a problem for recruitment and may be countered by providing information to introductory students showing the salaries of geologists in comparison to other science occupations, and by communicating the rigorous nature of the more advanced geology classes.

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  • Thomas D. Hoisch

  • James I. Bowie

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