Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, Department of


First Advisor

James T. Horner

Date of this Version

Winter 12-1971

Document Type



A dissertation presented to the faculty of the Graduate College in the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Adult Education Area

Under the supervision of Professor James T. Horner

Lincoln, Nebraska, December 1971


Copyright 1971, Ronald E. Stoller


Purpose of the Study The primary purpose of the study was to determine whether a common core of professional competancies for agricultural educators could be identified. The study was also designed to identify and differentiate professional competencies most important for individual respondent groups. Assumption It Was assumed that all agricultural educators were proficient in the necessary technical agricultural subject matter such as, agronomy, animal science, to perform their job. Only selected professional competencies as they relate to the pedagogy for teaching were studied, Procedure A study questiormaire containing 147 professional cOl'lpetencies was developed and tested with the aid of a national jury of experts, pilot interviews, local professors, and a small group of agricultural educators, The questionnaire was mailed to a randomly selected sample of 120 instructors of secondary vocational agriculture, 53 instructors of postsecondary vocational agriculture, and 120 county extension agents in Kansas and Nebraska. The sample also included 60 college professors and heads of departments in agricultural education and agricultural extension from the United States. A total of 357 questionnaires was mailed and there were 327 usable questionnaires returned. This was a 91.6 percent return. The responses from the college professors were used as a guide when making the analysis of each frequency table for assigning each competency to a group. The null hypothesis was tested to determine if significant differences existed between the groups. A theoretical model was developed and served as the framework for the stUdy. Categories within the model were: A. Analysis of the situation, B. Planning the education program, C,. Teaching methods and techniques, D. Evaluation, E. Reevaluation of local situation and F. Prerequisite personal characteristics. Selected Findings and Conclusions 1. There were 74 professional competencies identified and assigned to the central or common core of competencies essential for all respondent groups studied. These were competencies identified from all categories within the model. 2. Instructors of secondary vocational agriculture and county extension agents were in agreement that six additional competencies were essential. Among those considered essential were included: Working with connnunity groups, recognizing ethnic groups, leadership training, and the teaching of approved practices with youth to teach adults. 3. Instructors of secondary vocational agriculture selected four competencies essential especially for their group. The major emphasis suggested was a need to work with disadvantaged and handicapped and use of parliamentary procedure. 4. Instructors of secondary and postsecondary vocational agriculture responded to 21 professional competencies as essential for both groups. Most important among these included: use of testing, grading, discipline, shop demonstrations, occupational experience programs, classroom problem solving techniques, and knowledge of employment opportunities for their students. 5. The postsecondary instructors of vocational agriculture selected only two professional competencies. They were: use of standardized tests and making photo slide sets for teaching. 6. County extension agents selected 16 professional competencies with emphasis on: analysis of the community situation, the history and organization of extension service, relationship with all departments within the university, understanding the power structure, role and function of institutions and agencies in the community, translating research to the people, use of background material for planning groups, work with large groups, conducting field days, maintaining a news and information service and delegating authority to co-workers. It was evident that many professional competencies for agricultural educators, namely instructors of secondary and postsecondary vocational agriculture and county extension agents were similar; however, some differences were also identified. Therefore, differences in emphasis may be necessary in preservice and inservice programs to meet the needs for each specific group. The similarities noted in the central core appear to be items that can be included in preparation programs for all groups and the differences noted may be a guide to provide specialized preparation for each individual group.