Dr. Ashish Joshi, Professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, Ms Chioma Amadi, a doctoral student and colleagues examined the use of data to inform decision making in recruitment of prospective public health students. The findings were published in Research in Higher Education Journal.
The objective of this study was to compare recruitment methods for prospective students to the public health programs at the CUNY School of Public Health. Recruitment data on prospective Masters and Doctoral Public Health students were gathered during the period of July 2014 to July 2015, using 4 recruitment methods: Schools of Public Health Application Service
(SOPHAS) virtual chats, CUNY SPH virtual chats, CUNY SPH website, and face to face information sessions. Data gathered included: recruitment event dates, student registration for recruitment events, attendance status, student engagement with recruiter, recruitment outcomes, and frequently asked questions. Secondary data analysis was conducted during December 2015, using SAS v9.4. Results showed that 152 recruitment sessions were held including: SOPHAS virtual chat sessions (n=5), CUNY SPH virtual chat sessions (n=115), and face to face information sessions (n=32). The fourth method consisted of an electronic form made available on the CUNY SPH website (n=516).
Overall, there were 298 applicants to various programs across these recruitment methods. Majority of the applicants (n=144) were prospective students who were engaged with a recruiter (n=597) in the sessions. The number of students admitted compared to the number of students enrolled across the CUNY SPH recruitment methods included: Info sessions (n=50 vs.33), SOPHAS virtual chats (n=49 vs. 13), CUNY SPH website (n=67 vs 30) and CUNY SPH virtual chat (n=34 vs. 9).
This study identified the gaps in aggregating standardized data across different sources in other to facilitate optimal data driven practices. Recruitment of students is dependent on a combination of several factors such as student’s choice to pursue higher education, the information available to them in the course of their search, satisfaction derived from choices made among others. Successful recruitment strategies need to be multi-faceted, employing a variety of tools that target these various determinants.