Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications

Major Professor

Christopher T. Stripling

Committee Members

Carrie A. Stephens, Andrew Griffith

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that influence FFA members to continue or discontinue with their FFA experience past high school. The specific objectives of this study were to determine the reasons why students discontinue with their FFA experience past high school, determine membership needs from the Collegiate and Alumni FFA Organization and ways to overcome membership attainment barriers.

Data collection methods included three sets of focus groups: (a) one for inactive FFA members, (b) one for current Collegiate FFA members, and (c) one for current and past State Officers. Data was analyzed using the thematic analysis method. This analysis allowed for the emergence of themes for each of the different focus groups.

Results of this study indicated areas of improvement for how to maintain and increase membership on the Collegiate and Alumni levels within the National FFA Organization. First, all sets of participants noted the lack of advertising from the National FFA during their high school experience, which could be an indicator to why 80% of FFA membership drops after high school. All sets of participants also noted that their advisor played an influential role in deciding whether or not to continue onward with their FFA experience. Participants expressed the FFA needed to put forth greater effort into career building opportunities for collegiate members as participants felt their chapter lacked these opportunities. Active FFA participants expressed there were different influences for continuing involvement such as the desire to give back to the FFA, safe environment, opportunities to learn about agriculture, and because of their “FFA Family”. State Officer participants gave additional insights to why they continued with their FFA experience including wanting to help FFA members overcome barriers in self-worth and confidence and wanting to serve others. Reasons why participants discontinued with their FFA experience included lack of career building opportunities, lack of time to commit to FFA, FFA burnout, and the priority of FFA in their life.

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