Natural resources college uses interactive web to recruit

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 5, 2003 – Leading off the college-wide seminars for the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech, Richard Oderwald, associate professor of forestry and head of enrollment services and academic programs for undergraduates, projected that the Web would be the wave of the future for recruiting students and leveraging undergraduate programs.

Oderwald talked to faculty and graduate students from the college about the role of the academic office for the undergraduate program, recruiting efforts, and changes faculty should expect in the way classes are instructed.

"My office keeps students on track with their courses and accommodates their needs," he explains, "but recruiting students is also a top priority for us. PowerPoint presentations about various topics and current issues on natural resources will be added to our website to create an interactive setting for prospective and current students. We believe the website will be our best source for reaching the most people with the least cost."

In the near future, changes in teaching will take place, and professors will instruct more courses that include interactive computer-base components. Oderwald says the current structure cannot handle the number of students it needs to. Interaction has been the missing key. "Right now students watch professors from a video lecture on television," explains Oderwald. "We need more opportunities for students to get the information, with interaction between them and teacher and between them and the computer."

Oderwald emphasizes that recruiting becomes part of education, which then becomes part of recruiting. It is not a linear flow; it is a cycle. Educating and recruiting go hand in hand.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech is consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.

For more information about the undergraduate programs contact Dr. Richard Oderwald at or (540) 231-5297.

Written by Meredith Long, Public Affairs Intern