A Military Recruiting Campaign would go toward the strategic plan component of recruiting new demographics in order to grow enrollment, Dr. Ed Serna, interim chancellor at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, told the UAFS Board of Visitors at their regular meeting Wednesday (Feb. 20).
“We have to continue to look at new ways and new programs to grow enrollment,” Serna said.
The campaign will be “a university initiative to promote three online programs that appeal to the active duty and veteran military community,” Serna’s presentation showed. Recruitment would encourage military personnel to pursue a bachelor’s in business administration degree, a bachelor of science’s in organizational leadership or an associate degree in unmanned aerial systems.
Goals of the program would be to develop a national brand, improve the local reputation of UAFS as a national brand and build the university’s online profile, Serna said.
The campaign idea grew after university officials learned that 91% of active duty military do not have a bachelor’s degree, Serna said.
“There is a lot of interest there. They want to maximize on their military experience and credentials in a way that will lead to high paying jobs,” he said.
Market opportunities are available to target “veterans and military personnel who wish to return to civilian life” with “programs that connect prior military experience with high demand fields,” Serna’s presentation stated. Plans call for developing a military recruiting video to geo-target areas with a large military presence and bases. The university will partner with Task & Purpose, a media company that focuses on military and veteran culture, and with Kombi Creative, a Fort Smith and Fayetteville-based company, to develop three high-quality videos highlighting the targeted programs, Serna said.
UAFS’s new UAS program director, David Pollman, has prior military experience, which makes him an invaluable asset who understands the market and how to network in it, Serna said. And, the university has a strong student veteran’s association, who will assist by answering inquiring students’ questions via email or telephone.
The university’s partnership with the Arkansas National Guard will also help the initiative immensely, Serna said. The university announced a partnership with the Air National Guard in regards to its UAS program in December. The partnership creates a “symbiotic recruiting relationship between the two,” the university said, allowing UAFS to use ranges and training areas at Fort Chaffee for students to fly unmanned aircraft, more commonly known as drones. In return, students will perform applied learning exercises that will provide data to Fort Chaffee to assist their environmental and natural resources program.
“We are proud to be moving forward on multiple fronts and making strategic investments and taking calculated to propel UAFS forward,” Serna said of the initiative. “The military recruitment campaign is a reflection of our dedication to reaching underserved and diverse populations in our region and across the nation.”