Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Taylor, Walter N.

Committee Member

Jones, James

Committee Member

Newman, Michael E.

Committee Member

White, Ronnie

Committee Member

McGrath, Vince

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Agricultural Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Agricultural Information Science and Education


As universities enhance their civic engagement and build connections between campus and communities across the state, the county extension office and local staff have an opportunity to broker resources between the two entities. The question is not ‘if’ this needs to happen, but specifically what role Extension should play. County Extension Coordinators in Alabama have differing opinions about the role of their office and the value of specific engagement activities to the community. These differing opinions may make it difficult to achieve uniformity in what faculty can expect of a county extension office. Three different opinion groups were identified in this study. One group of County Extension Coordinators felt that engagement activities should focus on issues affecting local economic impact. Another group chose activities that would avoid potential problems due to interagency conflict and local politics. The third group saw the civic engagement of their land-grant university as an opportunity to make Extension look good in their county. Group membership could be explained by tenure of the County Extension Coordinator and their subject matter expertise. Given the results of this study and engagement scholarship, strategic areas for Extension to explore include (1) the activities of the county extension office as influenced by local advisory groups, opinions of the County Extension Coordinator, and needs of the Land-Grant University; (2) the role of the County Extension Coordinator in facilitating university-wide outreach; and (3) the need for County Extension Coordinators to have extensive networks and networking skills in order to embrace the breadth of opportunities to facilitate the civic engagement of a Land-Grant University.