Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day 2 - Recruiting in New Orleans

Today is the day we do what we came to do.

This is the day that we go to SUNO (Southern University of New Orleans) to talk with potential grad students. Most of these students are juniors or seniors who are looking for a graduate school to attend to develop their knowledge base and refine their skills. I must admit that I didn’t know what to expect. It was at SUNO so I was envisioning a large gymnasium or a large ballroom like we have in the UNI Student Union. I didn’t think of the devastation that SUNO has experienced. I didn’t realize that SUNO is now operating out of double-wide mobile classrooms. I guess I just didn’t think.

We were directed to building 42. This double-wide mobile classroom held about 15 tables, each with representatives from a different institution. The students began arriving about 9. They were excited about the opportunities that might lie ahead. Some of the students knew exactly what they wanted. There were a number of students who wanted to pursue their degrees in biology. I met a couple of students who had spent their summer studying fish populations and found a great decrease from another study 2 years before. It was inspiring to see the motivation that they exuded.

I spoke with a bunch of students who told me that they were majoring in history or biology or ?? As we talked, it turned out that they really wanted to teach K-12 or train in a corporate setting. MMM good!!! That’s where I came in. I am down here representing the College of Education. Before leaving UNI, I met with every department and asked them to provide/create info sheets about their programs. This meant that I had the materials prepared and ready to give the students as they talked. As I talked with the students, I naturally asked them about their interest in technology. Most of them used technology but few of them GEEKED technology. I mentioned our Instructional Technology/Performance and Training Technologies programs and I would say that there were about 10 who sounded interested.

One of the things that I found out about their program is that their teaching credential is offered as a 5th year of education. Much like the teaching program that I completed in California, the students complete a BA in 4 years and then take another year of schooling to earn their teaching credential. The unfortunate part is that SUNO doesn’t have their teaching credential program back yet.

One of the most important things that we did was have students fill out the grad school info sheets. This is where they listed contact, background and interest information. As a group, we collected over 50 of these sheets. Not bad for 3 hours of work. These sheets will be organized by the Grad College and then distributed accordingly.

We were treated to a wonderful lunch of catfish, gumbo, rice puddin’ and the like. It was a good opportunity to talk with faculty and students. As I sat there, I realized what a prime opportunity this could be to have my students connect with their students over the next few years. These students and faculty could have quit after being hit with Katrina, but they didn’t. They have set their goals and they are there to make them realities. Whether it has to do with getting an education or providing a rich environment for others to learn, these individuals are making it happen.

There are other things that I can share about what we saw going and coming to SUNO, but that is for another posting. This is a city that is rebirthing and it is exciting to see people with their eyes on the future.

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