The Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication has seen enrollment numbers skyrocket the past three years. According to Greenlee School Director Michael Bugeja, undergraduate enrollment has increased from 550 to about 800 in only three academic years. In fall 2014, Greenlee had 840 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled.
Bugeja believes this increase is caused mostly by the transparency the school puts forth for its prospective and incoming students.
“We take great pains to recruit them,” Bugeja said. He stresses that faculty, staff and Greenlee Ambassadors focus their time and energy on students who have indicated strong interest in Greenlee.
Greenlee Ambassadors assist in introducing prospective students and their families to the school through tours of Hamilton Hall, sharing their personal experiences and answering questions.
Ambassador Maddy Arnold, junior in journalism and mass communication, tells her tour groups about the culture of the school. “The Greenlee School is centered on doing,” she explained. “Journalism students learn much more by doing than being lectured and taking exams.”
Arnold shares her experiences as a reporter and now managing editor at the “Iowa State Daily,” showcasing the opportunities Greenlee has to offer and how her classwork and experiences at the Daily help her feel prepared for her professional career.
The school’s new public relations major, which was launched in 2013, is another contributing factor in growing enrollment. Greenlee’s newest major is growing almost as quickly as the PR indsutry.
According to Barbara Iverson, ‘76, president of financial services at Weber Shandwick and vice chairwoman for the Greenlee School Advisory Council, the public relations industry has been growing for decades. During the past five or six years, the industry has experienced exponential growth. As of Sept. 10, 190 students were working towards a Bachelor of Arts in public relations.
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the number of public relations managers and specialists in the U.S. will increase 21 percent (more than 68,000 jobs) between 2010 and 2020.
“As social media platforms, digital approaches, search engine marketing and search engine optimization have become so important to marketing and communications campaigns, the profession has flourished,” Iverson says. “And as companies and organizations everywhere recognize that their reputation is their biggest asset, they turn to PR firms for counsel, planning, strategy and execution.”
Iverson advocated for the public relations major and in October, endowed the school’s student PR professional organization, now known as the Barbara Riedesel Iverson Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. Her gift will support the club’s future activities.
The next step for the PR major is certification through the PRSSA’s Certification in Education for Public Relations, or CEPR, program. “I think the bigger benefit of certification in general is that it holds us as faculty accountable for maintaining high standards,” said Erin Wilgenbusch, senior lecturer.
Greenlee does its best to keep prospective journalism, advertising and public relations students as informed as our current students. Updates on events, awards, programs, metrics of the school and much more are sent to prospects to make them feel a part of Greenlee. According to Bugeja, 1,271 high school students this year have indicated they want to learn more about Iowa State’s journalism program after receiving previous information.
“They feel that we care about them,” Bugeja said, adding that this is something Greenlee faculty and staff strive for on a daily basis.