Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level



Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology


Casandra Cox

Committee Member

K. Jill Rucker

Second Committee Member

Jefferson Miller


Agriculture Education, Career Preparedness, College Agriculture Students, Professional Development


A student’s undergraduate education is an imperative part of developing career skills that will prepare them to transition from academia to the professional world. Experience outside of the classroom and course material taught in a formal class experience are both important. Their experiences and classes, in college, allow them to develop skills and increase their chances of being successful in the workplace (Suvedi et al., 2016).

Chickering’s Seven Vectors of Student Development were used to help explain the process of student development. A quantitative survey was sent to DBCALFS faculty, staff, and administrators, and a different quantitative survey was sent to DBCAFLS students. A total of 188 usable surveys were returned for students.

The study found that faculty, staff, and administrators said that campus affiliated organizational clubs (RSOs), internships, and on campus jobs were offered at the college level in DBCAFLS, and campus affiliated organizational clubs (RSOs), school sponsored study abroad, on campus jobs, and career fairs/networking events were offered at the department level in DBCAFLS. Faculty, staff, and administrators also said that internships, on campus jobs, off campus jobs, and capstone courses where students connect with professionals, career fairs/networking events, and company visits (business site tours/presentations by employees) had contribution to student employability skills.

The study also looked at student perceptions involving importance of employability skills to their future careers, as well as their self-perceived level of competence of performing those skills. Student respondents ranked solving problems, identifying problems, meeting deadlines, listening attentively, working well with fellow employees, and adapting to situations as having the most importance to their future careers. Student respondents ranked their competence at performing certain employability skills as high including, working well with fellow employees, meeting deadlines, ability to work independently, empathizing with others, understanding the needs of others, and listening attentively. Students rated professional development opportunities in terms of their contribution to their employability skills. The highest-ranking professional development opportunities included campus affiliated organizations (RSOs), off campus jobs, academic courses that incorporate professional development curriculum, church/religious organizations, and social fraternities/sororities.