This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Training Needs of a Regional Extension Agent




Weldon, Tyler

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Based on the research by Reid in 1997, the needs of the County Extension Agents in the agriculture/natural resources/forestry, family consumer sciences, and youth programs were addressed. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) has since expanded their educational efforts into fourteen program-specific areas. Along with expanding the education programs and content of the Cooperative Extension System, Regional Extension Agents were created. Differing from a traditional County Extension Agent, this agent would cover multiple states and focus on a specific educational program area. Due to the change in the type of extension agent and the expansion of the program areas, a concern exists between the appropriateness of training needs of a County Extension Agent and the training needs of a Regional Extension Agent. This study examined and answered those training needs. In the area of Agriculture/Forestry/Natural Resources, the highest rated areas of training were integrated pest management (M = 4.19) and production agriculture (M =4.00). In the area of Urban Extension, the highest rated training area was in the area of health and wellness (M = 5.0). In the area of Alabama 4-H, the highest rated training area was workforce preparation (M = 4.45). In the areas of Agriculture/Natural Resources/Forestry, significant differences based on location were found in production agriculture (p=0.02) and seafood production (p = 0.04). In the areas of Human Sciences and Urban Extension, no significant differences were found in the types of training needs based on location. In the area of Alabama 4-H, significant differences based on location were found in Violence Prevention (p = 0.07), Problem Solving (p = 0.01), Forestry (p =0.04), and Wildlife (p =0.04). Regional agents rated technology updates (M = 4.19) as the highest area of training needs. A significant difference was found in the topic of using new program delivery methods (p = 0.01). Agriculture/Natural Resource/Forestry and Alabama 4-H agents rated this topic as either important or very important. A significant difference based on responsibility was also found in the training topics of leadership and volunteerism (p = 0.01) and conflict resolution in the workplace (p = 0.03). No significant differences were found between Regional Extension Agents and administration. While there were no significant differences, the highest rated training topic by Alabama Extension administrators was programming for impact (M = 4.25). No differences were found between Regional Extension Agents and County Extension Coordinators.