An Explanation of Self-Trust Among Graduate Faculty at The University of Arizona
Author: Tyler Saiz • Advisor: Dr. Robert Torres
Within higher education, graduate advisors are seen as the most influential figures in the academic career of aspiring scholars. This study sought to explain selected factors and how they influence the level of trust between graduate faculty advisors and graduate students through a non-experimental, descriptive correlational research design. The theoretical framework used for this study was Steven Covey’s The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything (2006). In this framework, trust is comprised of four cores of Credibility, two for Character: Integrity and Intent, and two for competence: capabilities and results. After conducting a census through an electronic questionnaire, the demographics, level of self-trust, comparison by gender, and correlation with years of experience were assessed. The target population for this study was graduate faculty that can advise in CALS at the University of Arizona.
One Page Summary
Experiences of Recently Graduated Women School Based Agricultural Education Students in Arizona: A Critical Feminist Approach
Author: Angus Donaldson • Advisor: Dr. Rice
School based agricultural education (SBAE) consists of three integrated components: classroom/laboratory instruction, Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs, and student leadership development through the National FFA Organization. SBAE prepares students for successful careers in global agriculture, fiber, food, and natural resources at the middle and secondary school levels. While research on the experiences of women SBAE teachers, graduate students, and undergraduate students is considerable, there is a paucity of current research on women SBAE students’ experiences within the high school setting. While inequality and discrimination based on gender occurs in the agriculture industry, it is important to describe its presence and effects in high school level SBAE programs.
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Generation Z’s Philanthropic Engagement in the United States Agrofood Sector: Perceptions, Motivations, and Intentions
Author: Weslee Green • Advisor: Dr. Rice
This phenomenological study was conducted to ascertain Generation Z's attitudes and perspectives regarding agrofood philanthropy. To effectively engage the upcoming generation as philanthropists, it is necessary to determine how they define philanthropy, what motivates them to give, how they have already participated in philanthropic efforts, and their intentions towards future philanthropy. After interviewing participants, it was found that they were driven by a deep desire to connect with others. Donating time to agricultural, food-focused, or rural-serving organizations allowed them to fulfill that desire, resulting in deep organizational commitment and desire to donate time in the future as a means of community integration.
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The Influence of Gender Inequities Experienced on the Intended Career Pathways of Women Veterinary Students
Author: Natalie Kimble • Advisor: Dr. Mars
This study is focused on women veterinary medicine students and how misogyny and sexism have influenced their career pathways. The concept of rapid feminization of veterinary medicine was assessed as the effects can be seen industry-wide (e.g., downward trend in salaries, loss of large animal veterinarians, loss of rural veterinarians). Rapid feminization occurs when there is an influx of women in a field and a gender imbalance is created making that field disproportionately composed of women. There are persistent consequences to this swift change in the gender make-up of a field. The gender inequities that women veterinary medicine students face was explored to determine how and why these trends persist. A sample of 6 women students at Southwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine were interviewed and the findings revealed a double-sided coin of misogyny and sexism. Participants discussed their experiences not only in education but also in industry and how it has varied. On the surface, there is a supportive environment being created as the students continuously felt as though their gender did not play a role in their education, creating a seemingly agendered experience. This is relatively progressive in the veterinary medicine world as education and the industry is continuously creating environments where women are reminded of their gender with systemic inequities influencing their experiences, perspectives, and career choices. However, the School was replicating a misogynistic cycle of pushing a women-majority class into women-majority fields (i.e., small animal medicine or general medicine) through a disproportionate curriculum. This means that through their curriculum, the School is pushing for more general practice and small animal veterinarians and, whether consciously or not, are reinforcing the misogynistic cycle of tracking a majority-women class into majority-women fields.
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An Exploration of Innovation Adoption and Family Farming Dynamics Throughout Intergenerational Transition
Author: Sean Lally • Advisor: Dr. Mars
Family farming operations in the United States are the backbone of the American agricultural economy. Yet, these farms are continually threatened by corporate encroachment and sector wide intergenerational transition of ownership and the uncertainty of succession outcomes. The current study uses a set of theoretical constructs (centralization, formalization, interconnectedness, organizational slack, size) from Rogers’s (2003) Innovation Diffusion Model of Structural Characteristics and Organizational Innovativeness to guide a qualitative exploration of the implications of intergenerational family farming dynamics in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The findings revealed three phenomena - generational leadership positioning, formalization and centralization, and interconnectedness and ingenuity – that stand to inform more proactive approaches to the integration of innovation adoption with intergenerational family farming dynamics.
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Teaching Core Subjects and Traditional Food Knowledge Through Farm-to-School (F2S) Curriculum: The Usability and Cultural Relevance of Garden Lessons Serving Diné Youth at an Off-Grid Charter School in Leupp, Arizona
Author: Jaclyn Rybin • Advisor: Dr. Franklin
The urgency for culturally relevant, decolonizing, and Indigenizing farm-to-school (F2S) educational offerings is prevalent in a Western-dominated educational system in the United States. This participant-oriented curriculum evaluation case study aimed to determine how primary school teachers at a primarily Diné (Navajo) serving charter school may incorporate and utilize the Service to All Relations (STAR) School Garden Lessons (SSGL) into their existing core subject curriculum and in teaching Diné culture, language, and traditions. The purpose of this study was to determine how elementary teachers at a Diné serving charter school may utilize and incorporate the SSGL into their existing curricula offerings teaching core subjects (i.e. Mathematics, Science, Diné/English Language, English Language Arts, and/or Social Studies) and Diné culture, traditions, and language around traditional foods. This qualitative case study aimed to gather teachers’ insights via an online survey instrument and optional follow-up interview(s) about the useability and cultural relevance of current F2S curriculum offerings via the SSGL. STAR school classroom teachers' beliefs and perceptions of current F2S curriculum offerings at the STAR school were collected to provide community-centered support and recommendations to enhance the usability of pre-existing SSGL offerings. Furthermore, the goal of this curriculum evaluation case study was to identify ways to improve F2S curriculum useability in teaching core subjects and to improve cultural relevance of SSGLs for teachers’ use in the classroom. The findings of this study were significant in identifying six (6) classroom teacher’s ideas for integration of core subjects and Diné culture, tradition, and language into SSGL, need for continuing cultural-competency training among non-Diné educators, and further work needed in decolonizing and Indigenizing current SSGL curriculum offerings. Future participant-led qualitative studies are recommended to help provide school administrators with more diverse feedback and insights from teachers on delivering culturally relevant F2S curriculum.
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Factors Influencing the Teaching of Livestock Production within Arizona School-Based Agricultural Education
Author: Montana Arnold • Advisor: Dr. Rice
The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that influence the teaching of production livestock agriculture content to high school students enrolled in secondary agriscience programs in Arizona. Arizona agricultural educators completed a questionnaire about decision making when incorporating livestock production into their yearly curriculums. This questionnaire was derived from the Arizona Agriscience Program Technical Content Standards (Arizona Department of Education, 2018) and Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) (Bandura, 1989).
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Scales of Impact in the Move Towards Urban Food Sovereignty
Author: Natasha Chhabra • Advisor: Dr. Mars
Individuals involved in organizations that are fighting for food sovereignty within marginalized communities, are experiencing barriers and limitations when it comes to making the impact that they are aiming to. This is due to the ways that neoliberalism frames the US corporate agriculture sector and maneuvers into local food movements, in order to limit food justice efforts. In this study, I worked with local non-profit and community-based organizations to identify specific limitations and challenges that activists and social entrepreneurs are facing in 2 neighborhoods within San Francisco and Oakland. I also explored the possibilities of scaling impact as a tool to increase the collaboration of organizations and further affect change. Data was collected through one-on-one interviews with informants from each organization. I relied on a community-based snowball approach for participant recruitment. I conducted 7 key informant interviews (n=7). Five key themes were found in these interviews, broadly characterized into mission rigidity, financial constraints, organizational adaptation and capacity, and perpetual inclusion. Initial findings support the further development and expansion of a community needs evaluation to understand better how impact made by activists and social entrepreneurs may be affecting and reaching the needs of marginalized individuals in San Francisco and Oakland.
The Influence of Participating in Livestock Projects on 4-H Developmental Outcomes Among Pima County Senior 4-H Members As Perceived by Their Parents
Author: Autumn Gilbert • Advisor: Dr. Torres
The purpose of this study was to describe the influence of participating in livestock projects on 4-H developmental outcomes among senior Pima county 4-H members in the last four years as perceived by the member’s parents. The study also sought out to, compare these outcomes among the different livestock species (Beef, Goat/Sheep and Swine. An electronic questionnaire was sent out and 54 respondents were analyzed to reach the findings. Participants were asked questions about the perceived developmental outcomes their children gained from their time in a 4-H livestock project using the Thriving Model to generate questions to gauge these outcomes. The data shared that there is little difference when looking at developmental outcomes comparing species, however all species were very influential on these developmental outcomes as perceived by participants parents. It is recommended to continue supporting these projects and making them widely accessible for all youth who wish to participate in them.
The Influence of Political Climate on Transborder Wildlife Conservation: A Case Study on the United States-Mexico Transborder Region
Author: Kari Hibbler • Advisor: Dr. Mars
Politics influences transborder conservation collaboration directly specific to wildlife projects. There is extensive research relating to transborder conservation as well as studies on the influence of governments and politics on conservation. However, research on the direct effects that government and/or politics have on transborder collaboration and conversation initiatives and interventions is scant. The need for understanding these influences and wildlife manager's' reactions to them is critical, as transborder collaboration is important to conserve and protect the wildlife that travels/inhabits the lands extending across border regions. The purpose of this study is twofold. The first goal is to understand the influence that politics has on transborder collaboration. The second goal is to determine how wildlife managers react to the political climate and its influence, as well as developing new insights to generate recommendations for future transborder collaborations and initiatives to occur effectively. This research focused directly on wildlife managers in the Arizona-Sonora region who conduct work specifically related on wildlife projects across the transborder region in direct collaboration with their neighboring country. I relied on political ecology theory as well as community-based collaboration as my conceptual framework to guide my study. The insights generated in this study provide future recommendations for transborder regions all across the globe.
One Page Summary Full Thesis
Bindii t'áá łį́ į́ ' bee na’nitin
Translates to: Let the Horse Teach You
Author: Kristy Kinlicheenie • Advisor: Dr. Rice
Capstone Project Introduction:
The curriculum was created with the intent to help alleviate the loss of cultural identity that a majority of Native American youth face. The creation of program curriculum for 4-H youth that encompasses content knowledge and passion for horses in conjunction with traditional stories and cultural significance of the Dine’ (Navajo) people may lead to future cultural retention. Along with adding in the cultural significance of the horse, the Dine’ language was also integrated throughout the curriculum.
The Influence of COVID-19 and Virtual Learning on the PCK Development of Arizona Preservice SBAE Teachers
Author: Alexandra Schoeffling • Advisor: Dr. Rice
The central research question that guided this study was: what is the influence of COVID-19 restrictions and modifications on the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) development of the UArizona school-based agricultural education (SBAE) preservice teachers in agriculture, food, and natural resources content? This research was conducted using a single case study design of one preservice teacher cohort over the spring 2021 semester. Semi-structured interviews were conducted for all five preservice teachers, two university instructors, one teaching assistant, and five supervising practitioners throughout the student teaching experience. There were seven major themes that emerged from the data: it was primarily a classroom teaching experience, student teachers were prepared well in curriculum development, a lack of experimentation and problem solving in teaching, a lack of relationship building with students and professionals, student teachers were more protected from failure due to the COVID-19 environment, this cohort exhibited resiliency, and overall student teachers are prepared to teach. These themes support future research on PCK development through online and hybrid modalities while still incorporating early field experiences (EFE)’s and student teaching in-person. Further exploration on this cohort while in their first job post student teaching can provide information on the development and application of their PCK outside of the context of COVID-19. Recommendations for practice include implementing multiple EFE’s with deep reflection and the creation of one semesters worth of curriculum prior to student teaching during teacher preparation. Additionally, it is recommended supervising practitioners and university instructors maintain a balance of constructive criticism and positive feedback throughout the student teaching process regardless of current circumstances. Keywords: COVID-19; virtual learning, PCK development, preservice teachers, school-based agricultural education
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Southwest Agriculture (SWAG) Series
Author: Tracey Waters • Advisor: Dr. Rice
Capstone Project Introduction:
The SWAG Series provides a multi lesson curriculum that helps in creating a student that has an increased awareness and understanding of Yuma agriculture and how it impacts their life. The lessons within the SWAG series will educate students on vital crops that are produced in Yuma and introduce them to their significance to the community. The SWAG Series is composed of engaging lecture, discussion, and various hands-on activities that are designed to ignite a student’s interest in learning about agriculture. This series will provide the SWAG program, operated out of the University of Arizona Yuma County Cooperative Extension, with a structured set of lessons that specifically convey agriculture in Yuma, Arizona.
The Comparison of Leadership Styles and Satisfaction of Student Athletes
Author: Bryce White • Advisor: Dr. Torres
This study investigates the relationship of leadership styles displayed by head coaches of colligate athletics and the ascendent satisfaction of the student-athlete experience. Electronic questionnaires were sent to 431 active student athletes from an American Division 1 University, 40 athletes completed the questionnaire. Student athletes were requested to respond to a modified version of the Athlete Satisfaction Questionnaire (ASQ). This instrument accurately collected data on athletes’ current satisfaction regarding the overall satisfaction of the perceived student-athlete experience. Participants were then asked what leadership style best represented their head coach (Democratic, Autocratic, Laissez-faire). Participating student athletes from the American D1 university completed questionnaires identifying democratic leadership as the predominant leadership style displayed by head coaches, followed by laissez-faire, and autocratic. Further, the democratic leadership style yielded a higher amount of athlete satisfaction across all 11 measured factors when compared to the other leadership styles.
The Influence of Written Composition on Audience Perceptions of Social Media Posts Surrounding the Wild Horse and Burro Controversy
Author: Jamie DeConcini • Advisor: Dr. Rice
The central research question that guided this study was: how does the composition of written educational content on Facebook influence public perception of information regarding the management of wild horses and burros? This research was conducted using content analysis to examine the Facebook posts of six organizations communicating about the wild horse and burro controversy and 8,295 comments made by individuals to the organization’s posts. There were five major themes that emerged from the data: organization’s posts, audience discussion of the issue, organization-audience interactions, commenter demographics, and misinformation concerns. These themes provide insight into how organizations and individuals are communicating about the wild horse and burro controversy using social media and illuminate opportunities for further research into social media communications. Recommendations for practice include: supplying necessary information to social media instead of relying on the audience to click links, keeping the perceived-cost and investment of requested audience participation low to encourage activism, and strategic planning regarding the frequency and types of post to maximize audience engagement.
Published in the Journal of Agricultural Education in 2021.
DeConcini, Jamie. and Rice, Amber. H. (2021). The Influence of Social Media Content Framing on Audience Perceptions of the Wild Horse and Burro Controversy. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(4), 15-34. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.04015
One Page Summary Full Thesis Journal Article
Framing the Gap: An Examination of the Self-Efficacy, Public Outreach, and the Professional Development Needs of Wildlife Professionals
Author: Taylor Foerster • Advisor: Dr. Mars
Management and prevention of human-wildlife conflicts constitutes a substantial challenge for wildlife agencies. There has been vast amounts of research relating to risk perception, attitudes, beliefs, educational programs, and communication campaigns in regard to human-wildlife conflict. However, research focused on the public education and communication skills and techniques of wildlife professionals themselves is scant. The need for such skills and knowledge is critical, as wildlife professionals are often charged with the dissemination of important information pertaining to wildlife-human conflict prevention and management. The purpose of the study is twofold. The first goal is to develop new insights into the professional development needs of wildlife professionals specific to communicating with the public about human-wildlife conflict. The second goal is to use these insights to generate recommendations for future professional development initiatives and resources specific to public education and communication that are directly responsive to the perspectives and needs of wildlife professionals. This research focused on wildlife professionals in Arizona (AZ), Colorado (CO), New Mexico (NM), and Utah (UT) that conduct work relating to public education and communication within the context of human-wildlife conflict. Self-efficacy, which refers to the relationship between expected personal abilities and behavior (e.g., avoiding areas in which perceived ability is low), is the theoretical framework that guided the study (Bandura, 1977). A questionnaire based on the Borich (1980) needs assessment model was developed and disseminated to wildlife professionals across the four states (N = 27). Based on the self-efficacy patterns and themes specific to public education and communication revealed through the analysis of the resulting data, recommendations for professional development and future research are provided.
One Page Summary Full Thesis Journal Article
The Influence of 4-H Instructor Beliefs on Their Teaching of Animal Food Production to Youth Populations
Author: Shauni Jarvis • Advisor: Dr. Rice
Agricultural literacy education initiatives are more essential than ever to tackle emergent local, national, and global challenges related to agriculture and food production (Trexler, 2000). Current societal issues, both in and beyond agriculture, require individuals to develop a complex understanding of the agri-food system and the skills necessary to engage in critical conversations (Trexler, 2000). Despite the need for agriculturally literate youth, recent studies indicate that their knowledge of the agriculture industry is limited and underdeveloped (Hess & Trexler, 2011a; Kovar & Ball, 2013). The purpose of this study is to explore how the personal beliefs of 4-H instructors influence their teaching of animal food production to 4-H youth populations in the non-formal teaching setting within a specific southwestern state. The conceptual framework used to guide this study was derived from the work of Martin and Enns (2017) on agricultural ideologies. Martin and Enns (2017) highlight two specific ideologies within the agriculture industry that can be used to identify general beliefs about agriculture- agrarian populist and neo-agrarian. The theoretical framework that guided this study was derived from the work of Jones and Carter (2007) who developed the sociocultural model of embedded belief systems to explain how the belief systems of science teachers impacted their teaching of the subject. The previous agriculture ideologies from Martin and Enns (2017) can be used in conjunction with the sociocultural model of embedded belief systems to explain how the personal beliefs of 4-H instructors influences their teaching of animal food production to youth populations. I used in-depth, semi-structured participant interviews as the data source for my study. Interviews were chosen to allow participants to communicate their own lived experiences and to elicit the internal construct of beliefs (Moustakas, 1994). Five main themes emerged from the data that served as the basis for my findings including: (1) agricultural beliefs of 4-H instructors largely align with agrarian populist ideology, (2) lack of 4-H curriculum to teach animal food production, (3) beliefs of 4-H instructors served as a central driver in how content was taught and assessed, (4) context of the community impacted 4-H instructors strategies for teaching animal food production, and (5) animal food production ultimately taught as raising animals for fair projects. These five themes were closely related and interact with each other, ultimately guiding instructional decisions of 4-H instructors in the study. The underlying essence of the phenomenon was the fear and anxiety present in all aspects of teaching animal food production and the perceived consequences of how the content was being taught on the agricultural literacy of youth. Fear was driven by factors related to beliefs whether it was the participants own beliefs or other individuals’ beliefs that impacted instruction.
Youth Leadership Development: An Ecological Exploration
Author: Christina Sims • Advisor: Dr. Mars
Organizational scholars have described the structure of contemporary organizations using several different models which previously have included industrial or economic frameworks. In this article, I utilized the concepts of an organizational ecosystem and Bourdieu's forms of capital to guide a case study of the formation of a 4-H Club in an urban setting: the Barrio Santa Cruz neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona. The processes involved in the accumulation and exchange of capital between community leaders, Cooperative Extension agents, 4-H parents, and 4-H volunteers are illustrated. Recommendations for establishing and building neighborhood partnerships include promoting exchange of capital, encouraging community driven efforts, and identifying and collaborating with community volunteers..
Western State FFA State Officer Selection Process: A Case Study Analysis
Author: Joshua Troub • Advisor: Dr. Rice
Leadership selection within Western State FFA was qualitatively researched through individual interviews and focus groups with state FFA nominating committees from 2017, 2018, and 2019. A document analysis of nominating committee documents was also completed. The main question addressed was how do Western State FFA nominating committees determine quality youth leadership? Secondary research questions included: (1) What attributes do Western State FFA nominating committees’ value for quality youth leadership? and (2) How do Western State FFA nominating committees determine if state officer candidates possess these attributes? The information gleaned from this study may potentially be used by future nominating committees, leaders, and state FFA staff to inform decisions related to the leadership selection of state officers. The findings from the document analysis, interviews, and focus groups were divided into the three following categories: Nominating Committees’ Overarching Priorities for Candidate Selection, Objectivity and Subjectivity of the Nominating Committee Process, and Nominating Committees’ Skepticism towards the Selection Process. The attributes sought by the nominating committees under study did not always align with the attributes listed in state officer selection documents and loosely matched current youth leadership models. Suggestions for changing the current nominating committee process to align with the findings of this study and youth leadership research are therefore also discussed.
Assessment of Arizona Agricultural Educators and Applications of Agricultural Mechanics
Author: Maya Wallace • Advisor: Dr. Franklin
The purpose of this study was to determine how Arizona secondary agricultural educators value agricultural mechanics examining their perceived importance of teaching the competencies from current agricultural mechanics courses offered at the University of Arizona. This study was conducted as a census of the 111 active Arizona secondary agricultural educators and collected descriptive individual data to determine the perceived importance of the competencies. An online questionnaire was developed and distributed to the study population via Qualtrics Survey Software. At the close of the questionnaire response period, the questionnaire yielded a final response rate of 78.4% (n=87). Of the 87 responses, with one response being a respondent who opted out, 43 responses (50.0%) came from female Arizona secondary agricultural educators and 43 responses (50.0%) from male Arizona secondary agricultural educators. Arizona secondary agricultural educators found the Laboratory and Woodworking and Project Construction as the most important constructs and Mechanized Power Technology as the least important construct.
Recidivism and the Wild Horse Inmate Program: A Case Study on the Inmates at the Florence, Arizona State Correctional Center
Author: Katherine Bernal • Advisor: Dr. Torres
In 2012, the Florence Correction Center began an equine-facilitated Prison Animal Program (PAP) called the Wild Horse Inmate Program (WHIP). This PAP sought to address both the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM's) problem of wild horse overpopulation and the prison system's problem of high rates of recidivism. To do this, the program utilized inmates to gentle and train wild horses for adoption. Few studies have been conducted to determine the relationship between equine-facilitated PAPs such as this one and inmate recidivism. This study sought to determine whether there is a relationship between participation in WHIP and reduced rates of recidivism. By creating a comparison group matched subject-to-subject on race, age at time of release, education level, and severity of felony convictions, WHIP participants were compared to like inmates who did not participate in WHIP. Results indicate that there is a strong correlation between participation in WHIP and reduced rates of recidivism. Although the sample size was small, results are strong enough to suggest that the programs are worth continued funding and expansion. Further research is needed to determine the optimal amount of time spent in WHIP and whether programs utilizing other species of animals can be just as effective.
The Influence of the CASE Curriculum on Agriculture Teachers' Use of Inquiry-Based Learning through Science Integration
Author: Taylor Bird • Advisor: Dr. Rice
The central research question that guided this study was: how does completion of the Southwestern Land Grant University CASE AFNR professional development institute influence behavior patterns of agriculture teachers for incorporating inquiry-based learning through science integration in high school classrooms? This research was conducted utilizing a multi-case study design where each teacher who participated served as an individual case. Nine currently certified CASE teachers were interviewed, observed, and had lesson plan documents analyzed to capture how they were utilizing the CASE curriculum and integrating inquiry-based methods into the classroom. There were five major themes that emerged from the data including: 1) barriers to CASE implementation that impacted teacher behavior, 2) experience in industry professions leads to increased teacher efficacy for inquiry-based strategies, 3) traditionally certified teachers more likely to fall back on didactic teaching orientations, 4) disconnect between student capacity and CASE expectations of inquiry-based methods, and 5) in state training and networking support system played a vital role in teachers’ perceptions of CASE institute. The major themes that emerged from this study highlighted various opportunities for further research and practice. For further research, there is a need for rigorous qualitative and quantitative research on how teachers are implementing this curriculum within their classroom with broader scopes to provide insight on how lead teachers, regions, or curriculum pathways can affect implementation of inquiry-based learning. Recommendations for practice include: increased collaboration among CASE certified teachers in each state, development of a state-wide online platform for all teachers, and increased opportunities for financial and resource support for currently certified CASE teachers and teachers who are interested in achieving CASE certification.
One Page Summary Full Thesis Journal ARticle
Retention and Attrition Patterns of Students Pursuing a Degree in Nutritional Sciences: A Critical Feminist Perspective
Author: Austin Derma • Advisor: Dr. Rice
Women’s college enrollment rates have increased dramatically in the last century, with more recent gains in the applied agricultural sciences. While statistical enrollment information exists, there have been few qualitative studies to explore this phenomenon. Using Acker’s (2012) theory of gendered organizations as the framework, the central research question that guided this study was: what experiences influence the retention and attrition of men and women students pursuing a degree in Nutritional Sciences within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona? This research was conducted using one-on-one semi-structured interviews with a total of seventeen participants. Eleven participants were currently majoring in the Nutritional Science degree program, while six of the participants had transferred from the NSC program to another major. Four major themes emerged from the data: gendered identities and power dynamics; the connection between NSC major and body image; positive relationships with advisors and professors and the desire for representative role models; and the culture of the student environment- competition, togetherness, and feminine energy. These themes support future research into gendered organizations and gender inequality in a woman dominated major.
One Page Summary Full Thesis
Exploring the University Support Networks of First-Generation Undergraduate Students
Author: Ericka Encinas • Advisor: Dr. Rice
The central research questions that guided this study were: how does the mentor/mentee relationship between academic advisors and first-generation college students develop within an academic success course; how does the mentor/mentee relationship between peer mentors and first-generation college students develop within an academic success course?This research was conducted utilizing a case-study approach with a single academic success course for students on academic probation serving as the case. Three academic advisors teaching the course, four peer mentors meeting with students outside of class, and three students taking the course were interviewed. The case was selected to explore in depth the complex system of support first generation college students receive at the university level. The two overarching themes that emerged from the data were: the process of developing an emotional connection to create a relationship and utilizing a holistic approach to support students. More specifically, finding common ground, being relatable to students, showing that you care for students as individuals, and fostering openness and informality in relationships were the components identified by participants to foster emotional connection. The data also revealed that peer mentors and advisors were initiating accountability with their students, making intentional referrals for students to other campus resources, and the underlying motivation to serve in these two roles came from an intrinsic desire to give back. Recommendations included directors of advising and student retention administrations defining the roles of advisors in regard to student emotional support, compensating them for their work, and increase training for all university staff and faculty on how to create these impactful relationships with students.
South Western Agriculture Teachers' Mathematical Content Knowledge
Author: Sarah McNall • Advisor: Dr. Rice
The purpose of this study was to determine South Western agriculture teacher’s mathematical content knowledge. Mathematics and science are both essential to the field of agriculture; however, while science curriculum is currently integrated in many high school agricultural education classrooms, mathematics coverage is limited (Stubbs & Myers, 2015). The opportunity for students to engage in real world applications of mathematical content through school-based agricultural education programs exists, but if teachers do not possess the content knowledge necessary to teach mathematics, students are then left at a disadvantage. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to describe agriculture teachers perceived mathematical content knowledge, actual mathematical content knowledge, and the relationship between perceived and actual mathematical content knowledge for South Western agriculture teachers. The Content Knowledge Framework was utilized in determining agriculture teacher’s content knowledge for the subject area of mathematics (Even, 1990). A quantitative analysis revealed South Western agriculture teachers perceived their average mathematical ability as being at a moderate level, while their average actual mathematical ability was 44%. The analysis also revealed a negative correlation to teachers’ perceived ability and years spent teaching and a positive correlation between teachers’ actual ability and years teaching. It is recommended that mathematics requirements at the agricultural teacher preparation level be reexamined. Additionally, professional development for South Western agriculture teachers in various mathematics content is encouraged.
Preservice Agriculture Teachers Development of Knowledge of Content and Students During Their Student Teaching Experience
Author: AJ Argueta • Advisor: Dr. Rice
The central research question that guided this study was: how does PCK develop in the area of KCS within the unit of plant growth and development among Arizona agriculture preservice teachers? This research was conducted using a multi-case study design where each preservice teacher served as an individual case. Five preservice teachers were interviewed, observed teaching a lesson and had lesson plans analyzed throughout the student teaching experience. There were 6 major themes that emerged from the data: evolving beliefs of agricultural education, underutilization of lesson plans, emphasis on hands-on “learning”, student motivation is primarily external, instruction shifts from teacher preferences to student needs, and college classes as the dominate source of content knowledge. These themes support future research on KCS development over the course of a teachers’ career including experienced teacher KCS development. Additionally, further exploration into the influence of hands-on education in agricultural education is needed. Recommendations for practice include: increased focus on knowledge of students in preservice education, clear instruction on how to break down content for high school students, and deep, consistent reflections to encourage belief development over the student teaching experience.
Arizona Agriculture Teachers’ Perceived Self-Efficacy to Teach Science Content
Author: Hannah Parker • Advisor: Dr. Rice
The purpose of this study was to describe the relationship between sources of science content knowledge and the perceived self-efficacy to teach science content among practicing Arizona agriculture teachers. Bandura’s (1977) theory of self-efficacy was the theoretical framework that guided this study. Sources of science content knowledge were derived from Rice and Kitchel’s (2015) conceptual framework. On average, agriculture teachers were somewhat confident to teach science. A moderate bivariate correlation was found between teachers’ high school agriculture program experience as a youth, current teaching experience, experiences with agriculture jobs and internships, and their self-efficacy to teach science content. A simultaneous multiple regression was implemented; explaining 29% of agriculture teachers’ self-efficacy to teach science content from six of the seven sources of content knowledge. Teaching experience, SBAE, internet and other media, professional development, agriculture related jobs and internships, and years spent teaching contribute to R2. Further research recommendations include applying qualitative methods to explore unexplained variance and identify additional sources of knowledge. Recommendations for practice include exploring content specific professional development opportunities, such as CASE, and encouraging teacher preparation programs to re-evaluate curricula to include science specific PCK to enhance the preparation of preservice teachers.
21st Century Change Agents? A Description of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Proclivities of Arizona Extension Educators
Author: Ashley Jeffers-Sample • Advisor: Dr. Mars
The current knowledge-based economy demands a workforce equipped with the skills to advance innovation through entrepreneurial strategies (Powell & Snellman, 2004). Currently, Extension educators contribute to social and economic development in the sectors of agriculture, natural resource, consumer education, and youth development. Extension educators provide community members with the knowledge and skills needed to obtain a higher quality of life. The strategies of entrepreneurial leadership are relevant to the contemporary work of Extension educators and would provide the opportunity to increase Cooperative Extension’s program planning and implementation success. For the purpose of this study entrepreneurial leadership proclivity is measured through two constructs, innovation and entrepreneurial strategy, in those identified as Cooperative Extension Educators throughout Arizona. The data collected in this study illustrated the lack of entrepreneurial leadership in Extension educators in Arizona, as well as recommends educational possibilities to increase the presence of entrepreneurial leadership.
Published in the Journal of Extension in 2018.
Jeffers-Sample, A., Mars, M. M., Rice, A. H., & Torres, R. M. (2018). Examining the Entrepreneurial Leadership Propensities of Extension Educators. Journal of Extension, 56(6). Retrieved from https://archives.joe.org/joe/2018october/a4.php
How Do College Students Learn About Food Systems?: A Descriptive Analysis
Author: Cassandra Phillips • Advisor: Dr. Mars
Research specific to the agriculture literacy of adult learners and, more specifically, college students, is warranted (Kovar & Ball, 2013). In the current study, I analyze the sources of knowledge that are dispersed across formal, non-formal, and informal learning settings that college students rely on to understand the various components of food systems. More specifically, I ask here, "How do college students learn about food systems?" Data were collected using a convenience sample of undergraduate students at a large research-intensive university who responded to an authentic questionnaire developed specifically for this study. Findings indicate that there is little variation between the three learning settings with respect to food system knowledge. This indicates that education with respect to food system knowledge is lacking. Implications of the study include recommendations for the development and refinement of formal and non-formal food systems curricula specific to the needs, backgrounds, and experiences of undergraduate college students.
The Agriculture Taste Regime and College Student Interpretations of Agricultural Production Information
Author: Lindsey Rizer • Advisor: Dr. Torres
The introduction of taste regimes into the agriculture literacy and communications literature is explored and discussed in this study. I analyze how college students interpret taste regime indicators (interpretations, personal view alignment, personal action) influence their perceptions of agriculture food production information. More specifically, I look at how media information effects college students’ interpretations of these taste regime indicators. Data were collected from a convenience sample of undergraduate students at a large research-intensive university who responded to an electronic questionnaire developed specifically for this study. Findings indicate that the college students involved in this study have little to no defined opinion between large-scale and alternative agriculture. This indicates that the agriculture taste regime is not taking the general populations beliefs and preferences into consideration when developing campaigns. Recommendations for large-scale and alternative campaigns are to develop more objective campaigns and for the general population become change agents forcing the agriculture taste regime to take their beliefs and preferences into consideration.
The Influence of Peace Corps Service on the Entrepreneurial Leadership Proclivities of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers
Author: Sean Stone • Advisor: Dr. Torres
Peace Corps Volunteers spend 27 months working in developing countries around the world. They orchestrate and implement a myriad of projects in various fields, often entirely on their own. This paper aims to provide insights into how Peace Corps service affects volunteers' entrepreneurial leadership proclivities. To accomplish this a pre / post-test was administered to 74 Returned Peace Corps Volunteers participating in the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship program at the University of Arizona. Respondents were surveyed to determine their proclivity toward using entrepreneurial strategies and their proclivity to be innovative. Service in the Peace Corps increased the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers' ability to hone their entrepreneurial strategies and innovate. The results showed an increase in the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers' entrepreneurial leadership proclivities after they had completed their service.
Agritourism, Value Co-Creation, & Marketing Innovation in the Sonoita-Elgin Wine Industry
Author: Sonora Cubillas • Advisor: Dr. Mars
Customers play an essential role in the growth and success of any business. Wineries and other agricultural-based enterprises that actively engage and/or involve customers in production and other central processes do so for reasons that transcend simple marketing strategies. This qualitative study explores the strategic potential of customer inclusion in the operations of locally and/or regionally-based agricultural enterprises vis-Ã -vis on-site tourist models. This exploration relies on the theoretical principles of value co-creation to identify and illustrate how agritourism enterprises can more purposefully and strategically engage and embed consumers within their business operations. Atmosphere, compromise, and investment of consumers within the value creation process leads to the transition of such consumers; taking them passive recipients to active participants.
Wild greens knowledge and consumption: a qualitative exploration of human agency in the Southern Arizona food system
Author: Teresa De Koker • Advisor: Dr. Mars
This qualitative, single case study explores the influence of the dominant food system (DFS) on the knowledge and consumption of three wild greens (amaranth, lambquarters, purslane) by 24 Latinxs living in Tucson, Arizona (AZ), USA. The three greens are each considered to be traditional Latinx foods. In addition to the natural occurrence of the wild greens, Tucson was selected as the study site due to its rich and diverse food tradition and deep agricultural history. A pattern of decline in the knowledge and consumption of the wild greens is observed according to three overlapping themes: generational awareness, consumer demand and scarcity, and accessibility. The bureaucratic controls that bring calculability, efficiency, and predictability to the DFS are found to be influential in the decline in wild green knowledge and consumption by the study participants. The downward knowledge and consumption pattern is further considered in the context of participant agency within the DFS. Implications for practice include strategies for more purposefully leveraging community settings and alternative marketplaces to revitalize the knowledge and consumption of wild greens and other traditional foods. Recommendations are also provided for future research on the effects of rationalization within the DFS on human agency and traditional food consumption.
Published in Food, Culture & Society in 2018
De Koker, T., Mars, M. M., Torres, R. M., & Quist, T. M. (2018). Wild greens knowledge and consumption: a qualitative exploration of human agency in the Southern Arizona food system. Food, Culture & Society, 21(3), 331–349. https://doi.org/10.1080/15528014.2018.1451040
Arizona Agriculture Educator's Perceived Effectiveness of Recruitment Topics Targeting Urban Students
Author: McKinley Reed • Advisor: Dr. Torres
This descriptive survey research aimed to describe what agriculture educators found to be the most effective recruitment topics in urban programs in Arizona, as well as describe demographic data to provide educators with a baseline of information to evaluate their recruitment efforts. All urban agriculture teachers were given a web-based questionnaire and instructed to select the topics used during recruitment activities, then rank their effectiveness using a five-point Likert scale. Results indicate that a wide range of topics are utilized during recruitment and that McClelland's Acquired Needs serves as a strong framework for recruitment with all topics being ranked at moderately effective or higher. Achievement is perceived as more effective than power or affiliation. It is recommended that agriculture educators continue to use topics under all three needs, but be sure to emphasize achievement based topics.
Who am I versus who can I become? Exploring women’s science identities in STEM Ph.D. programs
Author: Katalin Szelényi • Advisor: Dr. Mars
This article explores the science identities of 21 women STEM Ph.D. students at three research universities in the United States. Following a narrative approach, the findings depict five salient science identities, including those of a) academic, b) entrepreneurial, c) industrial, and d) policy scientist and e) scientist as community educator. Our study links the five science identities to epistemological approaches in knowledge creation and application and describes the ways in which women STEM doctoral students verified their identities in reaction to various social structures. Conclusions relate the concepts of identity confirmation, suppression, and flexibility to implications for policy and practice.
Published in The Review of Higher Education in 2016.
Szelényi, K., Bresonis, K., & Mars, M. M. (2016). Who Am I versus Who Can I Become?: Exploring Women’s Science Identities in STEM Ph.D. Programs. The Review of Higher Education, 40(1), 1–31. https://doi.org/10.1353/rhe.2016.0036