Browsing ETDs: Virginia Tech Electronic Theses and Dissertations by Department "Agricultural and Extension Education"
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- Access to Discourse and Professional Identity Development of Doctoral Students in Communities of PracticeMckee, Katherine Elizabeth (Virginia Tech, 2011-02-17)This qualitative case study examined the development of doctoral students' professional identities through the negotiation of boundaries among communities of practice and through the social forces within a community of practice. The five doctoral students who participated in the study had been secondary agriculture teachers and were in their second and third years of a Teaching and Learning concentration of an Agricultural and Extension Education doctoral program at a Land Grant University. The participants had from four to seven years of teaching experience in secondary agriculture programs and were on full graduate assistantship with their academic department at the time of the study. The over arching theme was developed through analysis of interviews which were developed through a priori propositions, document analysis, and participant observations. This theme - Doctoral students must lose some legitimacy in their previous communities of practice to gain legitimacy with the faculty community of practice and access the faculty Discourse. Doctoral students' ability to define themselves as "good" and to have legitimacy reinforce each other and increase access which facilitates their professional identity development in relation to the faculty community of practice - emerged to describe the entire study and suggest influences that hinder or facilitate professional identity formation.
- Aligning Cultural Responsiveness in Evaluation and Evaluation Capacity Building: A Needs Assessment with Family Support ProgramsCook, Natalie E. (Virginia Tech, 2016-01-08)Family support programs serve vulnerable families by providing various forms of support, such as education, health services, financial assistance, and referrals to community resources. A major feature of evaluation involves assessing program effectiveness and learning from evaluation findings (Mertens and Wilson, 2012). Collaboration and cultural responsiveness are important topics in evaluation which remain largely distinct in the literature. However, evaluation capacity building provides a context for exploring possible intersections. Data about seven programs were collected via semi-structured interviews and document analysis. This study revealed that the program leaders feel that their programs are unique, complex, and misunderstood. The findings also suggest that program leaders believe that evaluation is important for program improvement and funding. Although participants did not anticipate evaluation capacity building and did not readily express a desire to develop their own evaluation skills, participants from all seven programs enthusiastically expressed interest in evaluation capacity building once explained. Although participants did not discuss cultural responsiveness as it relates to race, they expressed a need to overcome a community culture of reluctance to participate in programs and aversion to educational pursuits. Given the programs' shared population of interest, similar outcomes, and common challenges, evaluation capacity building in a group setting may give Roanoke family support program leaders the evaluation knowledge, skills, and peer support to engage in program evaluation that is both collaborative and culturally responsive.
- An Analysis of African American Farmer Participation in Virginia Cooperative Extension: An Emphasis on the Small Farm Outreach and Technical Assistance ProgramSmith, Maurice Devoe Jr. (Virginia Tech, 2013-01-25)This research study examined African American farmer participation in Virginia Cooperative Extension as a step toward fully understanding the role participation plays in supporting African American farmers as legitimate learners within the Cooperative Extension system. This study, therefore, focused on exploring participation in African American farmer programs through the single case of Virginia Cooperative Extension\'s Small Farm Outreach and Technical Assistance Program. This program, which is housed at Virginia State University, aims to support minority farmers who have limited access to benefits from USDA programs. Historically, limited resource farmers have been challenged to gain full access to programs offered by Cooperative Extension. Using a qualitative case study design, individual interviews were conducted with African American farmers, extension specialists, small farm agents, and the program administrators. Two focus groups were conducted with the Small Farm Program agents and another with African American farmers that participated in the program. A review of the findings indicated that the Small Farm Outreach and Technical Assistance at Virginia State University provide various educational opportunities to African American farmers. The program provides one-on-one technical assistance, distribution of information, USDA loan application assistance, workshops and conferences, and networking. Participants stated that agents being "hands on" was a great way to talk and effectively provide assistance to them. The findings for the study characterized barriers relaying from challenges in the program to communication between program and farmers. Family motivation, technology, and the USDA were other unknown barriers that were revealed in the study. The data suggest improvements for the program; first, the involvement of more farmers in the program planning of educational opportunities at Virginia State University would increase participation. Second, the current evaluation of strategies should be continued as a method of usage. However, a pre and post survey should be conducted to analyze and discover farmer's usage in modern to traditional communication systems. Third, providing additional technological advancement training to agents, specialists, and director to be more advance in the new age, and lastly at conferences and/or workshops, construct more engaging informative discussions on adult learning and farm family motivation factors.
- Applying a Cognitive Lens to the Exploration of Social Mobility for African American Men: A Phenomenological StudyWoods-Wells, Tinesha Marie (Virginia Tech, 2016-12-08)The American Dream which boasts equal opportunity, meritocracy, and prosperity in accordance with an individual's hard work and dedication continues to instill hope in upward social mobility. Understanding social mobility necessitates an examination of individuals' or groups' ability to move upward or downward in status based on wealth, occupation, education, or some other social variable ("Social mobility," n.d.). Accordingly, social mobility within a hierarchical status system like the United States parallels inequality and presents challenges for underrepresented populations. More specifically, there is a gap that exists in the perceptions, generalizations, and realizations of social mobility for Black men in America resulting in a dichotomous disparity that is perplexing and adds to some of the greatest challenges and barriers to social mobility facing Black men. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to employ a cognitive lens to examine factors affecting the social mobility experiences of Black men throughout their educational and occupational pursuits, and/or community involvement; ultimately giving voice to a traditionally marginalized group. Cognitive problem solving styles, decision making, performed behaviors, and diverse social interactions were explored within the context of negotiating overarching stereotypes, overcoming barriers, making good decisions, and persisting towards social mobility. The conceptual framework for the study took into account cognitive function, race, and resilience by way of Kirton's Adaption-Innovation Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Resilience Theory, respectively. The study findings offer counter-narratives to rebuff dominant ideology about Black men in society, facilitate an understanding of values and motivators, introduce characteristics that aid social mobility, and may inform strategies, policies, and programing that affect Black men. Recommendations for further research are also offered.
- A Case Study of a Beginner Gardening Program in North CarolinaVu, Amy (Virginia Tech, 2015-11-09)Food insecurity refers to the lack of reliable access to nutritious and affordable foods for people of all backgrounds (Meenar and Hoover, 2012) and is a problem faced by approximately 50 million Americans (Smith, 2011) and thirteen percent of North Carolina households. Food security and poverty have been directly linked and North Carolina's poverty rate (14.3%) is above the national level (13%) (Curtis, 2010). Community gardens have been recognized globally by many experts including health professionals, community organizers, environmental activists, and policymakers, as an "important contributor to economic development, food security, and environmental management"(Baker, 2004). Together, these professionals use gardens as a means to educate the public about food production and nutrition. Empirical research has documented many community garden benefits, however, the examination of educational programs associated with these gardens is limited. The purpose of this case study was to examine the development and implementation of a beginner gardening program and its influence on program participants in an area known to be food insecure within North Carolina. The researcher utilized multiple means of qualitative methods including: 1) semi-structured pre- and post- interviews with program coordinators and participants, 2) content analysis, 3) a reflection journal used to observe the program, and the facilitation of a 4) focus group with program participants. The findings revealed the challenges program coordinators encountered throughout the development and implementation, as well as the effects of the beginner gardening program on program participants.
- A Case Study of Integrative Agricultural Education: Integrating Mathematics to Develop Students Quantitative ReasoningRobinson, Kelly Denise (Virginia Tech, 2017-05-24)Preparing students to be life-long learners that are career and college ready is a goal of agricultural education. Changing expectations of education have pointed to agriculture educators as potential leaders in the STEM education movement. Literature related to STEM education in agricultural education is lacking in guidance for teachers, administrators, and curriculum developers in integrating academic content related to STEM content areas. A review of STEM education literature coupled with the framework of quantitative reasoning, lead to a conceptualization of a framework for integrative agricultural education. This framework was implemented through a case study to investigate collaborative efforts in curriculum development in agricultural education with a specific focus on integrating mathematics to develop students' quantitative reasoning skills. Teacher characteristics were identified that seemed to support the implementation of integrative agricultural education practices. Teaching and planning strategies were also identified in the case study. Recommendations suggest support of collaboration between agriculture and mathematics teachers would best support curriculum design and aid in the quality of instruction that follows.
- A Case Study of Student Cognitive Responses to Learning with Computer-Assisted Modular CurriculumWaknine, Jessica (Virginia Tech, 2010-07-16)Little is known about how students learn when using computer-assisted modular curriculum, if such curriculum truly promotes self-regulated learning, or if the cognitive principles of teaching and learning are integrated throughout the design of the modules. The purpose of this study was to investigate the phenomenon of student cognitive responses to learning with computer-assisted modular curriculum, based on the Phases and Subprocesses of Self-Regulation. This triangulation mixed methods case study connected qualitative and quantitative data derived from curriculum content analysis, student course evaluations, participant observations, and interviews. Thirty-six middle school students enrolled in an agricultural education course designed with computer-assisted modules served as the case study group. Data were transcribed, coded, and analyzed, leading to the emergence of six common themes. Overall, the design and content of the computer-assisted modules lack integral principles of teaching and learning. Participants prefer a mix of traditional and computer-assisted instruction because of the variety of instruction, opportunities for social learning, and the hands-on activities. When integrated properly, computer-assisted modules do not inhibit interactions among the teacher and the students. The activities associated with the modules do not encourage self-regulatory processes. However, self-regulation is innate and students engage in self-regulation at different levels during the learning experience. Despite intrinsic interest or value for a particular topic, participants felt it was always important to pay attention in school. Thus, when learning with computer-assisted modules, students engage in social learning with their peers and desire hands-on learning experiences, with or without the modules.
- Catalyzing organizational learning: Social, environmental, and cognitive factors promoting effective change managementHanks, Sarah (Virginia Tech, 2018-12-21)Diversity in the workplace remains a priority for leaders and managers as the dynamic nature of the global marketplace necessitates that organizations develop and maintain a competitive advantage in their field. Learning has long been touted as the key to leveraging limited resources to gain a corner in the market. However, organizations continue to struggle with the management of diversity, as well as systems and processes that promote learning at an organizational level. This study sought to explore a theorized relationship between individual problem-solving style, an aspect of cognitive diversity, and organizational learning capability. Two Midwestern companies participated in this sequential explanatory mixed methods study that aimed to: (a) examine the influence of cognitive style on organizational learning; (b) explore the differences between more adaptive and more innovative individuals, with respect to their organization's cognitive climate, in terms of their development and modification of learning frameworks and shared mental models; (c) determine what role more adaptive and more innovative individuals play in catalyzing organizational learning, namely double-loop and deutero-learning; and (d) identify inhibitors of double-loop and deutero-learning, distinguishing differences for more adaptive and more innovative problem solvers. Findings indicate that there was no relationship between problem-solving style, measured by KAI total scores, and organizational learning capability total scores in one organization and a small correlation between the scales of a second organization. This finding supports Kirton's (2011) assertions that problem-solving style is independent of learning, but some organizations may have small relationships between individual's problem-solving style and organizational learning based on various organizational dynamics. Five themes emerged as cultural mediators of cognitive diversity in the context of catalyzing organizational learning: 1) corporate expectations that create a clear, concise shared mental model for employee behavior and decision making (produced and promoted via an organizational guidebook); 2) the use of agreed-upon structures and methodologies for solving problems; 3) the employment of former military officers (due to the specific skills and experiences needed to successfully fulfill specific roles); 4) the development and nurturing of healthy teams; and, 5) an expectation of boundary-less collaboration. These themes, collectively, assert the importance of a culture that puts culture first. In practice, leaders and managers may find that a clearly defined culture that supports and promotes the use of systems and procedures to collaboratively solve problems and extend learning from individual to organizational is essential to mitigating the challenges that may result from exploiting cognitive diversity in the workplace.
- Community Food Work as Critical Practice: A Faith-based PerspectiveLandis, Rebecca Danielle (Virginia Tech, 2015-08-31)Historically, many faith-based hunger relief efforts address food insecurity through the emergency food system, but they often do not challenge the systemic causes of the need, which according to some, are poverty and inequality. As a promising alternative, community food work is a radical approach to food system change that imbues values of justice, sustainability, and equity into the food system to reduce the pervasiveness of poverty and inequality in society. I used narrative inquiry as methodology in a faith-based context to explore the role of criticality in community food work. Additionally, I explored the treatment of hegemony in these practitioners' critically reflective practice. I engaged six practitioners in narrative-based interviews and subsequently asked them to read and analyze their own interview. I then gathered all participants for a collective reflection session where we reflected on excerpts from the interviews and used them as a foundation for further dialogue and reflection. Each practitioner used their faith to varying degrees in the performance of their work. I found significant notions of feeling called to serve, and bringing God's kingdom to earth, but an avoidance to use this work to evangelize. The narratives reflected community food work as a community development effort and extended beyond the context of food. Affirming, trusting relationships serve as a foundation to how this group of practitioners approach their work, and provide the space to interact with their work in radical ways and raise critical consciousness.
- Community-Based Education through a Paraprofessional Model: An Experiential Learning Perspective of Peer EducationSeibel, Megan M. (Virginia Tech, 2012-03-16)In community-based peer education models, it is necessary to understand the relationship between learning, context and paraprofessional identity construction. Social relations are important in community education program implementation (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007); impacting power structure within communities and organizations (Cervero & Wilson, 1994, 2006; Forester, 1989). This study explored the conceptual and practical role of experience in a paraprofessional educator model and focused on the situated, contextual experiences of paraprofessionals in the communities they work and live as unique, challenging, and potentially positive for learning outcomes. SchÃ¶n's narrative dialogue of reflection (1983) proved to be the essential missing piece in working with community educators toward successful development and autonomy. In-depth qualitative interviews with 19 paraprofessional community-based peer educators with a state level family nutrition program contributed to findings relevant to how social context, critical reflection, and identity development influence an understanding of experience and the ability to impact knowledge and behavior change in clients. Individual interviews and focus groups allowed narrative exploration of topics as they evolved throughout the study; giving voice to paraprofessional program assistants in a way not previously done. The findings of this study provide insight necessary for the assessment of new conceptualizations of practice for paraprofessional models in expanding community impact and highlight the need for assessment of contemporary program delivery in a way that fosters the continual development of lay educators through reflective practice. Recommendations are made for a reassessment of historically significant program models in order to embrace paraprofessionals as more broadly defined socially mediated and socially situated influential practitioners.
- Comparing Candidate and Clinical Faculty Cognitive Effect, Cognitive Affect, and Perceived Behaviors During Formal MentoringStacklin, Laura Rose (Virginia Tech, 2009-04-22)Many vital components of clinical practice including placement of candidate with clinical faculty remain unaddressed in current research. Missing from formal mentoring research is recognition of the best-quality way to pair mentors and protégés in order for both parties to receive the most benefits from the relationship. Mentoring has been shown to be foundational to the retention of career and technical education teachers making mentoring especially critical. The candidate population for the study included students enrolled in clinical practice during the spring of 2009 in agricultural education certification programs at 14 different universities. Findings using a matched pairs t-tests were conducted to reach the heart of the study, the dyadic mentoring relationships between candidate and clinical faculty. Cognitive effect, an indicator of problem solving style was not found to be a significant factor in the study. However, cognitive affect, an indicator of interpersonal orientation found many significant differences. Significance was found at the 0.05 level in the areas of candidate expressed inclusion and clinical faculty wanted inclusion (t=5.27), candidate expressed total and clinical faculty wanted total (t=3.88), candidate wanted control and clinical faculty expressed control (t=-2.97). Significance was also found at the 0.01 level of significance for candidate wanted total and clinical faculty expressed total (t=-2.37). In the area of behavior a matched pairs t-test determined perceived psychosocial support (t=-2.86) and perceived total support (t=-2.32) to be significant. Mentoring and clinical practice are extremely dynamic constructs as many different influences are present from personal preferences to the way people naturally and holistically function. When universities identify clinical faculty, attention should be paid to the matching of dyads in order to emulate an informal mentoring experience to the greatest extent possible. Although mentoring is extremely complex, the research indicates promise for agreement and promise for continued research to benefit not only individuals, but our entire profession.
- Constructing Leadership Identities through Participation in a Leadership Living-Learning CommunityPriest, Kerry Louise (Virginia Tech, 2012-06-19)This case study conceptually illustrated how a leadership living-learning community provided an educational context well suited to enhance development of leaders within changing leadership and educational paradigms. Specifically, it highlighted how both leadership and learning have come to be viewed as sociocultural processes, and presented theoretical and applied descriptions of "communities of practice" and the identity formation process of "legitimate peripheral participation" (Lave & Wenger, 1991). The unit of analysis for this case study was a first-year, leadership-themed living-learning community at a four-year, land grant university in the Eastern United States. The purpose of the study was to explore how college students constructed leadership identities as they moved from first year members to second year peer leaders in the living-learning community. Nine sophomore students serving in peer leader roles and four faculty members serving as program instructors were the primary study participants. In-depth qualitative interviews with students and faculty, analysis of key program documents and students' written assignments, and a confirmatory student focus group contributed to the creation of eight primary themes and one overarching theme describing how students constructed leadership identities through community participation. The eight themes included access to experiences of membership, meanings of the first-year experience, beliefs about leadership, peer leader roles and practices, knowing in practice, meanings of multi-membership, and embodiment of the program mission. The overarching theme illustrated how peer leaders embody the mission-oriented program design as they move through—and ultimately out of—the community. Students' representations of their beliefs and practices enacted through community leadership roles emphasized college success strategies, foundational leadership knowledge and skill development, and preparation for future leadership roles. The findings of this study provided insight for educators who desire to design programs that foster college student leadership development. The findings revealed social and cultural implications related to higher education's call to enhance students' leadership capacity. There is a need to further explore leadership identity formation within other contexts, as well as the long-term impact of learning community experience on students' representations of leadership identity.
- A Critical Analysis of Participation and Empowerment in Community Development: An Ethnographic Case Study from Chiapas, MexicoMason, Garland Anne (Virginia Tech, 2016-02-19)Participatory approaches to international and community development have gained significant popularity, and are commonly held to be intrinsically empowering processes. In the context of development, both participation and empowerment were borne of radical claims and democratizing goals, but over time, both concepts have been confused and misappropriated. The popularity of the terms participation and empowerment, coupled with the ambiguity of their meanings, illustrates a symptom of their co-optation away from their radical and political roots. This ethnographic case study explored the mechanics of the participatory approach and claims of empowerment within the experience of a non-governmental organization based in Chiapas, Mexico. This study aimed to investigate the linkages between participation and empowerment, in their original radical and theoretical forms, as well as in practice—addressing questions of whether and how participation may lead to empowerment. The organization's endeavors to create space for participatory learning for critical consciousness and self-sufficiency, as understood through 30 semi-structured interviews and three months of participant observation, provided insight into these questions and their conceptual underpinnings. I analyzed data by drawing upon Freirean critical pedagogy, critical theory, and theories of participation and participatory learning. Findings examine the influence of clientelism, Catholic liberation theology, and the Zapatista uprising on the ways rural campesinos develop critical consciousness and organize to dismantle systems of oppression. Findings illustrate examples of interactive participation and self-mobilization. The study serves to demonstrate the importance of cultural and historical contexts, and of solidarity and downward accountability within the praxis of participation and empowerment.
- The Critical Need for Experiential Learning Programs in Animal AgricultureTussing, Jessica Lynn (Virginia Tech, 2014-06-17)Though experiential learning is a popular topic in higher education, a great deal of research in the field neglects to make ties between program outcomes and educational theory, creating a gap in knowledge regarding how participant students truly experience educational programs. Consequently, this study proposes an updated perspective of experiential education that considers the experiential and social aspects of these learning environments. While it is important to determine programmatic impacts, it is equally important to assess how learning has occurred, so programs can be modified accordingly. The Equine Studies Program at the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center began in 2010, with seven cohorts having completed the program since its inception. At this time, however, no study has been conducted to gain a thorough understanding of the program's purpose, nor assess if programmatic impacts align with its objectives. This study utilized qualitative interview methods to determine the program's objectives and impacts on participants. The findings provide insight on how experiential learning programs can be enhanced to better prepare students for the challenges of modern industry. Recommendations are made for continued research in this area to determine how the implementation of experiential learning programs may impact overall undergraduate curricula. Additional research should also be conducted to compare the impacts of varying types of experiential programs.
- Developing Active and Engaged Youth Citizens: An Examination of Ethical Factors, Demographics, and Problem-Solving DispositionBush, Sarah Ann (Virginia Tech, 2018-06-11)Thriving youth have the capacity to contribute to greater society and develop independence, mastery, generosity, and a sense of belonging. This development is frequently enhanced through youth programming as ability expansion rather than capacity for authority and community engagement. In Virginia 4-H teen-leadership initiatives infused with positive youth development provide opportunities to bolster active and engaged citizenship (AEC). The purpose of this study was to explain AEC through the examination of ethical factors, demographics, and problem-solving disposition of youth participating in leadership-development programs. This study utilized both person- and variable-centered analyses to develop youth profiles and determine the impact of ethical factors, demographics, and problem-solving disposition on AEC for participants in long-term 4-H teen-leadership programs and short-term 4-H leadership trainings. An ex post facto survey design was used to develop clusters of youth and explain the relationship between problem-solving disposition, demographics, ethical factors, and AEC. The findings indicated that both ethical factors and problem-solving disposition significantly explained AEC for both treatments. Additionally, findings indicated significant differences between clusters for AEC, civic duty, and civic skills. These differences were predominately observed through membership in long-term or short-term leadership programs as well as enrollment in honors/AP courses, gender, ethical views, and problem-solving disposition. Findings informed the incorporation of community problem-solving in the youth's AEC model. A conceptual model for Youth in Community Problem Solving (YCPS) was developed based on theory and findings. Sociocultural theory and reasoned actioned approach, situated within relational developmental systems metatheory, provided a foundation for the YCPS model. Additional literature on positive youth development, youth-leadership development, self-consciousness, sense of community, and problem-solving disposition was utilized in support of the model. Evidence for the inclusion of problem-solving disposition in the model was found through a recent study with youth in leadership programs. If youth are to engage in YCPS partnerships, both youth and adults should be equipped with the necessary tools and resources for equal partnership, so they can overcome power dynamics and inner team conflicts. Additionally, Youth leadership practitioners should consider avenues for infusing character and problem-solving development in gender inclusive program curriculum to increase likelihood for contribution.
- Eco-Leadership in Practice: A Mixed Methods Study of County 4-H ProgramsCletzer, David Adam (Virginia Tech, 2016-12-09)Our understanding of leaders and the role they play in organizations and society is changing. Four broad discourses of leadership have been identified as occurring during the past 100 years: controller, therapist, messiah, and eco-leader. The most recent, eco-leader discourse, is characterized by collective decision-making, collaboration, shared leadership, and grassroots organization. Eco-leadership is believed to be beneficial for organizations operating in a 21st century, knowledge-driven economy. A quintessential example of an ecological organization is the Extension Service's 4-H program, the organization which this study examines. However, in 4-H, as in many organizations, a majority of leadership development efforts focus on the individual, positional leader. Further, the vast majority of the literature devoted to eco-leadership is conceptual in nature; empirical studies linking leadership approaches to organizational outcomes are rare. This study uses an explanatory sequential mixed methods design to examine: (a) the nature of the relationship between county 4-H agents' leadership discourse preferences and programmatic success; (b) county 4-H association members' levels of systemic and hierarchical thinking and programmatic success; (c) the way in which county 4-H association members' perceive their leadership within their counties; and (d) the relationship between these volunteers' perceptions of their leadership and other variables associated with programmatic success. Findings indicate that the therapist discourse was the most preferred discourse among county 4-H agents, but that agents' discourse scores were unrelated to county 4-H program success. Associations' levels of hierarchical and systemic thinking were also not related to county 4-H program success. Additionally, county 4-H association members reported that: (a) agents play a central role in decision making and communication within the association; (b) association members rarely make decisions on programmatic matters; (c) associations are often not structured in accordance with 4-H's policy for associations; and (d) members are not provided opportunities for development in their roles as association members.
- The Effects of Leader–member Exchange and Cognitive Style on Student Achievement: A Mixed Methods Case Study of Teacher–student DyadsMosley, Chaney Wayne (Virginia Tech, 2012-03-23)The purpose of this embedded sequential explanatory case study with a quantitative→qualitative two-strand design of inquiry was to explain how the quality of teacher-student relationships and the gap of cognitive styles between teachers and students impact student achievement. The population for the quantitative strand of research was comprised of 11 career and technical education (CTE) teachers and 210 CTE students, representing six disciplines within CTE. The study occurred in a suburban high school in western North Carolina. Leader-member Exchange (LMX) theory and Adaption-innovation theory guided the research. In the quantitative strand, the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory was used to measure the cognitive style of teachers and students, a researcher developed survey was used to measure dyadic intensity, the Leader-Member Excellence—Shared-Leadership Exchange instrument was used to measure the perceived quality of dyadic relationships between teachers and students, and the North Carolina CTE end of course tests were used to measure student achievement in CTE classes. Additionally, demographic information was collected from teacher and student participants. In the qualitative strand, four teachers and eight students were interviewed. The purpose of the qualitative strand was to investigate how teachers and students describe their dyadic relationships. Data from both the quantitative and qualitative strands were mixed to allow for a stronger interpretation and explanation of the quantitative and qualitative results. Statistically significant relationships were identified among the various dimensions of teacher-student relationships. There was a weak, positive relationship between dyadic intensity and student GPA. A weak, positive relationship was found between dyadic intensity and teacher LMX. There was a weak, positive relationship between dyadic intensity and student LMX. There was a weak, positive relationship between student GPA and teacher LMX. A moderate, positive relationship was found between student GPA and student LMX. A moderate, positive relationship was found between student GPA and student achievement. Additionally, there was a moderate, positive relationship between teacher LMX and student LMX. A path analysis of quantitative data indicated that student GPA had a significant effect on teacher LMX. Teacher LMX and student GPA had a significant effect on student LMX. Lastly, student GPA had a significant effect on student achievement. Qualitative data validated the quantitative findings. Further, five themes surfaced from the qualitative data providing support for additional findings. The researcher recommended future investigation of the impacts of leader-member exchange and cognitive style on student achievement using alternative indicators of student achievement, an exploration of how involvement in a career and technical student organization (CTSO) interacts with teacher-student relationships and student achievement through the lens of leader-member exchange, and an examination of the impacts of leader-member exchange and cognitive style on student achievement outside of the context of CTE. The quality of teacher-student relationships from both the teacher's perspective and the student's perspective are affected by a student's grade point average. Student grade point average has a significant effect on student achievement. Much remains unknown about the antecedents of teacher-student relationships and how the relationships between teachers and students may interact with student achievement.
- The Effects of Storytelling on Worldview and Attitudes toward Sustainable AgricultureGrace, Patricia Elizabeth (Virginia Tech, 2011-04-29)There is evidence that the American agrifood system is a significant contributor to environmental, economic, social, and ethical-animal welfare damage to the earth and to society and is unsustainable, yet the worldview of a substantial percentage of the population conflicts with this assessment. A significant number of researchers, non-governmental organizations, and government entities assert that the detrimental effects of industrial agriculture must be addressed without delay and sustainable agricultural practices implemented. The transition from industrial to sustainable agriculture will not be a simple one. Attempting to change a worldview is not an easy task. A growing body of research in other disciplinary areas suggests that storytelling can serve as an effective method of fostering change. This mixed-methods study examines the role of storytelling in effecting positive change in worldview and attitudes toward sustainable agriculture. A review of the related literature revealed that no instrument was available to measure attitudes toward sustainable agriculture with consideration of economic, environmental, social, and ethical-animal welfare dimensions. The first objective of the study, therefore, was to design such an instrument. The instrument is called The Sustainable Agriculture Paradigm Scale and is used as a pre and post-test in the study. A number of open-ended questions were added to the post-test to solicit qualitative data. The study explores the effects of Story-based, that is, a told story and a read story, versus Information-based treatments, that is, a lecture and a read factsheet, on effecting positive change in attitudes toward sustainable agriculture. The qualitative data provides a secondary, supportive role exploring what characteristics of a story are associated with change. The hypothesis of the study is that Story-based treatments will be more effective in promoting positive change than will Information-based treatments. The findings of the study provide evidence supporting this hypothesis. The story characteristics found to be associated with positive change included: first-hand personal view, vivid description, and identification with the narrator.
- The Effects of the Student Teaching Experience on Cooperating Teachers in Secondary Agricultural Education Programs: A Case StudyEdwards, Stephen Wyatt (Virginia Tech, 2012-07-24)The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the effects of the student teaching experience on secondary agricultural education teachers. Eight of the thirteen participants in this study served as a cooperating teacher during the 2012 spring semester for pre-service teachers in agricultural education from a land-grant institution. Three of the participants had served as a cooperating teacher during either the 2010 or 2011 spring semester but had reported a negative student teaching experience with their last student teacher. Two of the participants had served as pilot interviews for the study, but they were added as participants during the analysis of the study. The participants provided interviews, opportunities for professional observations, and teaching documents for analysis. Four major themes emerged in the study 1) The professional identities of secondary agricultural education teachers are affected by their membership in the pre-service teacher community. 2) Secondary agricultural education teachers volunteer as cooperating teachers to help others and themselves professionally. 3) Secondary agricultural education teachers empower themselves and other members of their communities through their leadership due to their strong sense of political efficacy. 4) The professional practices of agriculture teachers are influenced by their service as a cooperating teacher.
- Establishing Nourishing Food Networks in an Era of Global-local Tensions: An Interdisciplinary Ethnography in TurkeyKennedy, Rachael Eve (Virginia Tech, 2017-05-08)This dissertation ethnographically explores the social concerns related to the global, agro-industrial system's impact on many communities' potential for livelihood and health. At the core of this study is the desire to understand the complex and dynamic ways that communities strive to develop, and make sense of, networks that address these wicked problems and to understand how these strategies might aggregate to promote community resiliency. An investigation of alternative food networks (AFNs) was contextualized in one province in Western Turkey. The AFNs were articulated by an ethnographic design that utilized tools from different fields of study. Integrating actor-network theory, new social movements theory, and the nourishing networks framework allowed for robust triangulation of data. I conclude that AFNs in this province are nascent and remain fragmented. At present, AFNs have not been leveraged for community resiliency efforts. However, they hold the seeds of what may become a food sovereignty social movement. This ethnography reveals that the province has assets, including numerous affinity groups, and a durable connection to heritage with strong reverberations of a nature-culture. I illuminate the broad spectrum of submerged and visible actants and actors that prime the AFNs' development. The wide variance creates diffuse and contradictory cultural implications. Actors report they constantly negotiate cultural aspects related to AFNs. They conceptualize this work as a polymorphous phenomenon of fragmented communities and a culture of dependency; but they show fortitude by negotiating multi-phasic actions and multi-vocal resistance messaging. By way of this study I illustrate that their cultural politics take place where economy and identity interface. Actors seek legitimization. They speak of infusing heritage-based ideals into projects. They are firm that agricultural modernization must come from Turkish values. And, they are formulating and strengthening ideological-based discourses. I further clarify their development strategies by showing how AFNs are experimenting with new governance strategies and focusing on social embedding. Promotion of niche markets has begun. However, public and private resources are limited, which hinders the momentum of AFNs. Additional research is needed to better understand the processes for high functioning AFNs in Turkey.