Professional development needs of agricultural communicators
Chesher, Lisa R.
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Professional development helps employees improve upon skills gained on the job. Professional development adds value to an employee's profile. Employees are willing to participate in professional development, on company or personal time. Agricultural communicators face many challenges in their careers. Agricultural communicators apply mass communication skills to agriculture. Andragogy, adult learning theory, and organizational learning were the concepts used to guide this study. Andragogy refers to the differences between child learning (pedagogy) and adult learning. Adult learning theory was derived from andragogy and focuses on how adults learn. Organizational learning pertains to the organizational climate and culture. Studies have identified skills employers want in recent college graduates but little research has been done regarding agricultural communicators' professional development needs. This study sought to identify and describe professional development needs of agricultural communicators. Both descriptive statistics and the Borich needs assessment model were utilized to identify professional development needs of agricultural communicators. Respondents utilized several types of professional development including conferences, readings, and webinars. Within planning and management items, respondents indicated their biggest training need dealt with strategic planning, which refers to foreseeing future trends and planning responses around those trends.. Personal planning, which deals with tasks such as time management, organization, and task completion, had the highest need within skill and task items, as indicated by respondents. The item requiring the most training overall was strategic planning.