Investigating Agricultural Communications Students’ Educational Experiences and Identity Development at a Co-Curricular Activity
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The purpose of this qualitative content analysis was to explore agricultural communications students’ educational experiences and identity development at a co-curricular activity. We analyzed reflection data using a qualitative content analysis. We conducted an analytic induction with Chickering and Reisser’s (1993) theory of education and identity serving as an analysis frame-work. Their theory outlined seven vectors of students’ psychosocial development supported by environmental influences (e.g., co-curricular activities). Although the conference facilitated development in all seven vectors, students’ development more closely aligned with developing competence, developing mature inter-personal relationships, and developing purpose. Attending the National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (NACT) Professional Development Conference (PDC) facilitated students’ movement toward becoming career-ready graduates as they sought to gain net-works, define their purpose and goals, and explore interests and opportunities. They used their PDC experience to connect their coursework, personal values, and sense-of-self—initiating development of their professional identity. PDC was an example of an education-ally-sound environment, which included structured and unstructured learning opportunities designed to promote students’ networking and skill development and prepare them for the workforce. Further research needs to be conducted to determine if students’ participation in professional development activities impacts their career success and achievement in the workforce.
author list (cited authors)
Prather, B., Leggette, H. R., & Rutherford, T.