Thesis Title

Perceived Educational Experiences and Employment Preparation of Agriculture Alumni

Date of Graduation

Fall 2007

Degree

Master of Natural and Applied Science in Agriculture

Department

College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Arbindra Rimal

Keywords

agricultural vs. non-agricultural industry, employability, alumni, program evaluation, questionnaire

Subject Categories

Agriculture

Abstract

Factors such as evolving business structures, consumer preferences, science and technology, and public policy and food system security have affected the market for graduates in the food, fiber, and renewable resources industry. In order for colleges of agriculture to keep up with the changes and meet the current demands of this industry, they must provide knowledgeable, resourceful, and productive graduates with a skill set acquired from the college curriculum. The present study examined postsecondary agriculture alumni perceptions of their educational experiences and employment preparation. Graduates of the Agricultural Department at Missouri State University (N=852; n=306) completed a questionnaire regarding their undergraduate degree programs' adequacy of course instruction and additional experiences, importance of education to subsequent employability in chosen career, and their perceived level of competency. Graduates generally received enough instruction of the course specific measure of competency. However, they indicated a need for more instruction in Natural Resource Management, Political Systems Affecting Agriculture, Environmental Issues, National and International Agriculture, Critical Issues Facing Agriculture and Natural Resources, Computer Utilization Procedures, Data Evaluation, and Summarization of Technical Information. Although respondents recognized the importance of general instruction to employability in their chosen career, they reported that their perceived level of competence in these areas of knowledge to be slightly less than adequate. In addition, graduates recognized the importance of additional experiences to employment. This is especially true of internships. It is imperative that agriculture program educators include current and relevant instructions and encourage students to participate in additional education experiences within and outside of the classroom.

Copyright

© Rebecca Lea Thomas

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Dissertation/Thesis

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