IMPROVING THE PIPELINE FOR STUDENTS OF COLOR AT 1862 COLLEGES OF AGRICULTURE: A QUALITATIVE STUDY THAT EXAMINES ADMINISTRATORS’ PERCEPTIONS OF DIVERSITY, BARRIERS, AND STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS
Silas, Michael Antonio
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Due to an impending STEM shortage facing the United States, it is critically important that students of color are recruited to scientific disciplines. This STEM shortage affects agricultural fields, as many agricultural disciplines are scientifically based. There is currently a lack of students of color within agricultural disciplines when compared to the increasingly diverse make-up of the United States. This qualitative study utilizes the path-goal theory of leadership (House, 1971) and reasoned action theory (Fishbein and Azjen, 2010) to examine the perceptions of administrators regarding the barriers that students of color face within colleges of agriculture at 1862 land-grant institutions. Another important purpose of this study is to identify strategies that department heads, deans, and administrators within colleges of agriculture can use to increase the recruitment and retention of students of color. The study utilized phenomenology, as this method focuses on participants' subjective experiences and interpretations of the world. Eighteen participants at 17 institutions were interviewed about their perceptions of diversity, the barriers that students of color face within colleges of agriculture, and strategies for success. The findings of this study reveal that (1) diversity is a multifaceted and evolving concept that varies from individual-to-individual, (2) students of color face barriers to access, (3) successful recruitment and retention strategies for students of color require investments from administrators, and (4) data validates program success.
- Doctoral Dissertations