Cummings, Gregory Aaron (2003-05). Defining the knowledge base of our profession: a look at agricultural and extension education in the 21st century. Master's Thesis.
The profession of agricultural and extension education has increased in
complexity in response to the demands of the changing field of agriculture and the need
for educators who are responsive to those demands. A standardization of the knowledge
base of the profession is seen as necessary in light of geographic mobility, the
nationwide emphasis on assessment, and the need for a public relations tool that clearly
articulates the concepts forming the framework of agricultural and extension education.
In this study a panel of experts consisting of agricultural and extension education
leaders nationwide, responded to open-ended and Likert-type surveys online as part of a
Delphi technique to establish the knowledge base for agricultural and extension
education. Three rounds of the Delphi technique were used. A minimum of 13 of the 24
panel members were required to respond to each round. Ninety-five statements were
initially generated by 16 panel members in response to an open-ended statement in
Round I which asked the participants ??What are the articulated understandings, skills,
and judgments that serve as the foundation of knowledge (??the body??) for professionals
in agricultural and extension education??? These statements were presented to the panel
members in Round II. Two-thirds of the panelists had to ??Strongly Agree?? or ??Agree??
with each item for it to be retained for Round III. Based on the responses of 14
panelists in Round II, 67 items were retained for Round III, and one item was added
based on panel input. After Round III, three items were eliminated due to lack of twothirds
achievement of ??Strongly Agree?? and ??Agree?? ratings by 17 respondents. Thus,
65 statements established the knowledge base of agricultural and extension education in
this study. Among the knowledge base are concepts related to traits of effective
educators; management issues; environmental impacts on instruction; curriculum
development; learner-based contextual, applied pedagogical strategies; leadership
development; communications; assessment strategies; community and collegial
connections; integration of technology; critical thinking and problem solving; and
teaching as a changing process grounded in sound theory.