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CAHE hits the road to attract more Aggies

The efforts to keep students enrolled - and find new ones - are paying off in the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, which saw increases in first-time freshmen, continuing undergraduates and a huge jump in distance education enrollment in the fall 2006 semester.

"The increase in freshmen came from a concerted effort to be present at every event possible at high schools in order to reach students at the junior and senior level," said Dean Lowell Catlett. "The faculty and staff have done a tremendous job and this is the result of their hard work."

First-time freshmen enrollment went up almost 28 percent this semester from fall 2005 and the number of continuing undergraduates increased more than two percent. Catlett said the success can also be attributed to something special from the college.

"There is no substitute for that personal touch," he said. "We're letting them know in person that we want them at NMSU and at the college. We show them that we care and we're sincere, it's not just a front."

Catlett added that the college has done extra mentoring and reinforced the need for advisors to follow up with students in order to keep students enrolled.

"Since the students can do so much online now, we had to really focus on maintaining strong communication with them," he explained. "We had to go the extra mile to speak to that student and do everything we can to make sure they succeed and continue with their education."

The dean said distance education course hours more than doubled, the result of a move toward making more classes available online.

"(The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management) has really done a tremendous job, making quite a few of their classes available through distance education," he said. "We know we have to get online and every department has to understand that we have to do it. We need to be aware of what subjects are more amenable in this way."

The fall semester featured the second-largest class of first-time freshmen enrollment at the main NMSU campus in the last 20 years and a more than two percent enrollment increase systemwide.

Victor Venegas
October 11, 2006