Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Agriculture and Extension Education

Major Professor

Bryan Q. Patterson

Committee Members

Carrie Ann Stephens, H. Dwight Loveday

Abstract

The purpose of this descriptive study was to conduct a state-wide needs assessment of Tennessee 4-H Youth Development Extension Agents to determine the perception in working with 4-H Volunteer Leaders and the knowledge level of volunteer management. This study also determined the need for a formalized 4-H Volunteer Leader management system. Targeted participants were University of Tennessee (UT) Extension Agents and Tennessee State University (TSU) Extension Agents with 4-H job responsibility. Participants were asked to complete a four part questionnaire instrument. Components one through three of the instrument were used to determine the need for a formalized 4-H Volunteer Leader management system, the knowledge level in managing and the perception of working with 4-H Volunteer Leaders. The final component was used to collect demographic information. After completion of a pilot study, 161 Extension Agents were targeted to participate in the study. The questionnaire was administered on web-based data collection system known as Survey Monkey. Results indicated 90% of Extension Agents agreed there is a need for readily available, web-based materials. Results also indicated a need (66% agreeing) for a comprehensive 4-H Volunteer Leader management system. Also, results found high proficiencies, up to 97%, in both knowledge levels of managing 4-H Volunteer Leaders and perceptions of working with 4-H Volunteer Leaders. Demographic information was correlated among measures of knowledge, perception and the need for a formalized 4-H Volunteer Leader management system. Significant correlations were found between risk management of 4-H Volunteer Leaders and Extension tenure, also between Extension tenure and the perception of 4-H Volunteer Leaders being welcome within the school system. Significant correlations were also between recruiting volunteers and outside of Extension volunteer/employee management; between outside of Extension volunteer/employee management and removing 4-H Volunteer Leaders. Implications indicate a need for additional resources to provide training and information for both agents and 4-H Volunteer Leaders. Findings also indicate materials should be web-based for easy access for both agent and 4-H Volunteer Leader use. Data responses show there is a need for a formalized 4-H Volunteer Leader management system that would encompass all aspects from recruitment to retention of 4-H Volunteer Leaders.

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