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Core Components of a Doctoral Program in Agricultural Communications: a National Delphi Study

Smith, Jennifer A.
The purpose of this study was to determine the core content and competencies needed in a doctoral program in agricultural communications. The Delphi technique was used to reach the objectives. Thirteen university faculty from around the United States served on the panel of experts. One hundred percent (n = 13) of the respondents completed all three rounds of the study. In Round One, Delphi panelists provided 112 core content items and 120 core competency items. From those original items, the researcher combined like items to create 60 core content items and 59 core competency items for presentation in Round Two of the study. Through the three-round modified Delphi method technique, the panel reached consensus of agreement on 50 core content items and 51 core competency items. The typical panelist held a Doctor of Philosophy degree, taught agricultural communications classes at his or her respective university, was located in the Southern Region of the American Association for Agricultural Education, and had been in academia for many years. The final core content and competency items provided by the panelists were broad and divided into categories by the researcher: Agricultural Knowledge and News; Communications Knowledge; Employability Skills; Media; Research; Teaching and Education; and Agricultural Writing. The ability to communicate with others and promote the discipline of agricultural communications was important to many of the panelists based on their answers to the instruments as was the ability to conduct effective research. This study should be repeated with another set of experts. Curriculum, if developed, should be revised annually. A needs assessment should be conducted to determine if a unique doctoral program in agricultural communications is needs. A doctoral program, if subsequently implemented, should be evaluated annually by evaluating competencies learned by students.