Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

Major Professor

Bryan Q. Patterson

Committee Members

Michael D. Wilcox, Bruce E. Tonn


Clearly understanding and specifying Extension’s role in community resource and economic development (CRED) programming will allow Extension to more effectively serve the communities in which it operates and communicate a clear purpose to stakeholders. All levels of management might not know how CRED efforts are defined at the national/regional or state level, how much human and financial support is allocated, or what upper level administrators think might be some external/internal constraints. A valid image of national and regional organizational capacities in community resource and economic development will allow for clearer understanding and communication of this programmatic area to potential partners and sponsors. Identifying programming shortfalls, weaknesses and external constraints will allow for strategic planning to address organizational deficiencies. This study sought to inform this process by providing up to date data on CRED Extension programming from across the nation. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the attitudes and perceptions of Extension administrators and directors in regards to the perceived role, function and direction of CRED Extension programming as well as the social-environmental factors that could be affecting system resources.

The researcher e-mailed all 115 administrators and associate administrators of the Extension System due to their administrative responsibility. The study found limited regional overall variation among respondents regarding perceptions on the role of Extension in CRED. Consistent perceptions on programming and research priorities were identified. It was perceived that the CRED Extension programming and research being done was failing to meet the needs of the people they serve. Regional variation was found in human and financial resource allocations to CRED. Full-time-equivalents devoted to CRED programming and research was perceived as being insufficient. Resources were seen as primarily decreasing in all programmatic areas. Respondents perceived that increased external linkages and mass media could build support and awareness for all that Extension has to offer. The results of this study should prove to be useful in obtaining a better understanding of all that Extension has to offer and how the organization might improve its efforts in CRED research and programming.

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