Theses and Dissertations


Jamie Varner

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Downey, Laura Hall.

Committee Member

Swortzel, Kirk A.

Committee Member

Threadgill, Paula I.

Committee Member

Gallardo, Roberto.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Agricultural & Extension Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


A study was conducted to explore the current state of Extension advisory council development and maintenance from the perspective of advisory council members and county-based Extension professionals (agents). These two perspectives were explored within the Mississippi State University Extension Service through qualitative methods. Focus groups and telephone interviews were used to answer the research questions. The study found that agents recognized that advisory members have a certain purpose and roles, which was to strengthen Extension programs. This overall purpose of council members was achieved through specific roles, such as providing general advice and supporting the delivery of Extension programs. Next, Extension agents in the study recognized the importance of providing positive feedback to council members, which in turn makes for a more productive group of people and increases retention rates. Lastly, Extension agents expressed concern about training being provided to advisory members, and new agents. Members and agents both felt that training would be beneficial to Extension and their programs.