Program News - October 2019

Dear Colleagues,

Fall season has finally arrived, and all of us here in the Program of Mortuary Science are energized by the work that comes with the start of a new academic year.  Fall also means I once again have the opportunity to travel across Minnesota and participate in the annual MFDA District Meetings. It’s always great to meet with attendees, give a Program update presentation, and share materials that promote both a career in funeral service, and also our Program here at the U.  It is my hope that I will be able to see you at these important meetings as I travel the state over the next two months.

I am pleased to share with you news that we recently welcomed an incoming class of 28 students into our Program.  As is typically the case, the majority of our new students are from Minnesota (17). We also welcomed students from Wisconsin (4), Iowa (3), Michigan (2), South Dakota (1), and New Jersey (1).  With respect to enrollment by gender, the proportion of female students in our Program continues to increase: This year, 22 (79%) members of the incoming class are women. Of note, nationally approximately two-thirds of all new mortuary science students are women.  This trend will likely continue as more women pursue higher education, and fewer men enroll in funeral service education programs overall.

Speaking of the start of classes, we were very excited to have a special guest with us for New Student Orientation Day.  As you may have heard, the University has a new President: Joan Gabel. Program alumnus and University Regent Thomas Anderson extended an invitation to President Gabel to join us for orientation, and she graciously accepted the offer!  Significantly, President Gabel took time to speak with the incoming class about the importance of the work they will do in funeral service, sharing an example of how a funeral director (and Program alumnus) in her hometown recently cared for her family at their time of loss.  President Gabel also actively participated in a panel discussion in which professional colleagues answered students’ questions. The day ended with a trolley bus tour of campus and downtown Minneapolis, followed by an “after-glow” meet-and-greet at Surly Brewing company. A great time was had by all!

Another important piece of news I want to share with you concerns updates to our Program’s website, and new opportunities to post jobs and meet with students seeking employment.  We recently created an on-line job-posting form, so that employers can easily submit information for jobs they would like to have placed on our website. The formatting for postings is now standardized, allowing for greater ease both when submitting, and searching, information related to job opportunities. You can find more information here.

We continue to explore new ways of facilitating opportunities for employers and students to meet and discuss job opportunities.  Feedback from previous networking events indicated a desire for more of a “customized” meeting opportunity – one in which the goal is to connect employers with students who have similar work goals, and which takes into consideration students’ desired geographic work location following graduation.  In response to this feedback, we are now accepting reservations for on-campus employer – student meeting opportunities on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM in the Program’s Conference Room (A-275-4 Mayo Building).  Employers who would like to come to campus are invited to send us information about their job opportunity/ies, and schedule a visit.  In turn, we will make this information available to our students, who will be advised to contact the employer directly and schedule a meeting appointment.  Opportunities to schedule meetings remotely, via “teleconferencing,” (using Zoom meeting software technology) are also available.  For more information, please contact our Program office at 612-624-6464, or e-mail us at mortsci@umn.edu.

And in case you hadn’t heard, we recently created recruitment brochure racks that present information about exploring opportunities for a career in funeral service.  Many colleagues are now placing these racks in their funeral home foyer areas, and also bringing them to their local high school guidance counselors. We have received several calls from prospective students who tell us they learned about our Program when they picked up a brochure at a visitation / funeral service.

Remember:  The most common question we receive from prospective students when we attend career fairs is: “What is a funeral?” followed by “What is Mortuary Science?”

If we are to be successful in meeting our current and future workforce needs, we need all funeral directors to be as proactive as possible in promoting both our Program and the profession of funeral service to prospective future funeral directors.  Please contact our Program office for more information, and to request brochure racks. The brochure racks are available free of charge.

In closing, I wish you all a very happy Fall season, and invite you to contact me with any questions you may have.  We look forward to seeing you soon, and, as always: Go Gophers!
 

Sincerely,

Michael LuBrant
Program Director

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