Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Agriculture

First Advisor

Lucas D Maxwell

Second Advisor

Jay K Solomonson


Teacher recruitment and retention have been deemed a national issue across all disciplines and grade-levels in education. School-based agricultural education (SBAE) has been no exception as it has also seen a substantial decline in individuals majoring in agricultural education, entering the teaching profession, and then choosing to remain a SBAE teacher until eligible for retirement. This has resulted in a shortage of qualified SBAE teachers across the country. While alternative licensure routes have existed to help fill these teaching vacancies, it has done little to solve the long-term problem of acquiring qualified, career SBAE teachers. Agricultural education stakeholder groups have been tasked with identifying potential individuals to fill this rapidly expanding employment gap. To accomplish this task, it has been necessary to recruit from non-traditional demographic groups, including those individuals who never experienced SBAE as a student. While the number of teachers that currently fit within that demographic are relatively small, the potential to recruit SBAE teachers from that population has shown promise. The purpose of this study was to examine factors that influenced current SBAE teachers, that never experienced SBAE as a student, to major in and pursue a career in agricultural education. Specific objectives included: (1) identify factors motivating former non-SBAE students to enter the agricultural education profession; (2) describe the advantages and disadvantages of not having participated in a SBAE program; and (3) identify strategies to recruit individuals that did not participate in a SBAE program.To investigate the research problem and specific objectives, a qualitative study was conducted. A phenomenological approach was used to examine the phenomenon of former non-SBAE students entering the agricultural education profession. Current Illinois SBAE teachers that never participated in a high school or middle school SBAE program were identified by Illinois agricultural education state staff. Ten individuals that met the criteria agreed to participate in semi-structured interviews conducted by the researcher. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Open coding was used to reveal themes based on the research objectives and interview questions. Common themes developed explaining reasons former non-SBAE students chose to enter the agricultural education profession. Themes revealed included possessing an agricultural background, taking agriculture coursework in college, growing up in a family of teachers, and having the career suggested to them by another. Having no pre-conceived notions of SBAE was identified as an advantage and the lack of FFA and SAE knowledge was identified as a disadvantage of not participating in a SBAE program. Further, a potential recruitment strategy identified included encouraging individuals in SBAE to be advocates of the profession. It is recommended future research is conducted on a larger scale and with other non-traditional demographic groups.


Imported from Offerman_ilstu_0092N_12270.pdf


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