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ERIC Number: ED562954
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 276
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3034-8258-8
Changing Roles of a University Cooperative Extension Service in Response to Social Change
Barnes, Thelma C.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Walden University
Researchers have acknowledged that cooperative extension organizations should rethink dominant agricultural foci and be more inclusive of nontraditional audiences. An extension organization in the southeastern United States has experienced declining workshop participation, requests for technical assistance, and local office visits. These declines were due to organizational roles that were irrelevant to the needs of clients in local communities. Limited research is available on roles extension agents should assume in a changing society. The purpose of this study was to gather perceptions of county level cooperative extension employees regarding suitable roles for today's clientele. Transformational learning was the theoretical framework that guided this project study. The research questions addressed organizational roles, program accessibility, and geographical and agricultural foci. A qualitative, descriptive research design was used to collect data using an open-ended, electronic survey and semi structured follow-up interviews. Twenty-four employees, representing all types of county-level positions, participated in the study. Data were coded according to the conceptual framework and six roles emerged. Results indicated that agents who assume these roles and apply learned skills in marketing organizational programs could improve program relevancy for their clientele. A series of professional development workshops was designed as a project to prepare agents to market programs via traditional methods and using social media. Providing relevant programs and marketing them might create positive social change through enhancement of cooperative extension client learning. This enhancement could result in increased support for extension organizations, both locally and nationally. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A