Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Health Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences


Donna Graham

Committee Member

K. Jill Rucker

Second Committee Member

Jefferson D. Miller

Third Committee Member

Lisa S. Wood


agricultural leadership;emotional intelligence;ethical decision making


Demand for ethical leaders in agriculture is high to meet 21st century goals, while ethics course offerings in land-grant institutions are limited. The purpose of this case study was to establish a baseline of current University of Arkansas Bumpers College of Agriculture, Food and Life Science (Bumpers College) agriculture and natural resource program students’ ethical decision making (EDM), as measured by the DIT-2, and emotional intelligence (EI), as measured by STEM-B and STEU-B, determine if EI mean scores predict EDM, and identify relationships between EDM or EI and demographic characteristics or lifespan experiences. An online survey design with probability sampling resulted in a 16% overall response rate. Postconventional and N2 scores were slightly below the average reported college student score for EDM. N2 scores indicated respondents were not able to distinguish and rate Postconventional over personal interest items. EI as measured by STEM-B and STEU-B mean scores indicated students could not select correct emotional management or understanding actions with proficiency. STEM-B was not a predictor of DIT-2 N2 scores, but STEU-B which indicated emotional understanding was a predictor of EDM. Only moderate or weak associations were found between demographic and lifespan experience variables and EI and EDM. Study implications and recommendations for EDM, EI and demographic and lifespan experiences are discussed.