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Spring 2005 - Friendships

Destination Purdue > Spring 2005 - Friendships

Course builds friendships, job skills

By AJ Pheasant

The first thing one notices after entering the classroom for AGEC 181 (Orientation to Agricultural Economics) is all the noise.

Gordon and McDaniel

Photo by AJ Pheasant

Andy Gordon (left) of Carmel, Ind., and Michael McDaniel of Middletown, Ind., share a laugh on Oct. 27. The freshmen agricultural economics majors are class teammates in AGEC 181 (Orientation to Agricultural Economics).

"The conversation is extraordinary compared to most freshman classes," said Frank Dooley, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. "The buzz is a good thing." Dooley said one benefit of the class is for individuals to become more familiar with other students in agricultural economics before their junior and senior years.

Dooley said students in his class learn to communicate with each other first as classmates, then as group members. By their fourth week of college they have established friendships. Zach Day, a freshman in agricultural economics from Brownsburg, Ind., said the course provides him with a group of people he will be able to rely on for the rest of his college career. It also gives him the tools he needs to successfully adapt to college.

One of Dooley's goals for this course is improving the freshman students' ability to work with other people. This skill is important because career recruiters look for effective team skills, said LeeAnn Williams, adviser in the Department of Agricultural Economics.

How not to get the job
By AJ Pheasant

According to Sharon Hope's COM 325 (Interviewing: Principles and Practice) course, here are some things to avoid during a job interview:

  • Showing a lack of awareness about the company or position.
  • Demonstrating little interest or enthusiasm.
  • Lying or telling the recruiter what you think they want to hear.
  • Using poor communication skills.
  • Being too money-oriented.
  • Indicating that this job is a stepping stone.
  • Stating unclear or unrealistic goals.
  • Arriving late for the interview.

To jumpstart teamwork, Dooley divided the students into teams the first day of class. In class, Dooley requires each team to sit together to promote interactive learning and effective team management. Employers recognize the quality of Purdue graduates, said Williams.

The course "starts them with the basis of career preparation," Williams said. This course is a retention effort designed to make the department feel like a home by getting students acclimated to each other, she said. "We have the number one agricultural business school in the world," said Dooley to his class. "But not every student wants to study the same areas."

Another course goal is to promote and explain the seven majors in the department and help students understand which major best fits their career path. Agricultural economics student retention has increased since Dooley began teaching the course. Williams attributes this increase primarily to the course's quality.