Date of Graduation

8-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology

Advisor

K. Jill Rucker

Committee Member

Jefferson Miller

Second Committee Member

Don Edgar

Third Committee Member

Andrew McKenzie

Keywords

Agriculture, Occupational Aspirations, Storytelling

Abstract

The agricultural industry has been experiencing a shortage in qualified college graduates to fill its numerous open positions in recent years. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of visual storytelling on the occupational aspirations of non-agricultural undergraduate students. Social media channels, virtual storytelling and the higher education classroom provide a unique opportunity to convey information about and recruit students into the agricultural career field. The diffusion of innovation model provides the framework for the introduction of agricultural jobs in a non-agricultural business classroom while the social cognitive theory provides the understanding of the importance of self-efficacy in decision- making.

A posttest only, nonequivalent quasi-experimental study was conducted and used descriptive and independent sample t-tests for statistical analysis. Participants were randomly assigned to two groups, Group A and Group B, to determine who received treatment. Both groups were presented with written job descriptions. Job 1 described an entry-level grain merchandising position based out of a rural elevator. Job 2 described an entry-level analyst position in a grain division of an agricultural company located in an urban setting. Group B was presented with video presentations of job responsibilities for both positions. A total of 31 responses were collected, providing a 0.53% response rate.

Collected data showed students’ confidence increased with job duties and responsibilities they had cultivated previous experience within class. However, data did not show a significant relationship between presentation methods of the job descriptions. It is recommended that human resources professionals continue to utilize written job descriptions, especially when recruiting

non-agricultural students. Faculty members should actively demonstrate to students how the coursework they complete directly translates into job skills and capabilities.

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