Mississippi State University
Swortzel, A. Kirk
Howell, R. Beverly
Date of Degree
Graduate Thesis - Open Access
Doctor of Philosophy
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
The purpose of this study was to explore the county-level professional staff?s perceptions of how diversity was being addressed in practice within the MSU-ES. The population consisted of 169 Mississippi State University Extension Service county-level professional staff with 128 or 75.7% completing the survey. Fifty percent of the respondents were female and 41% were males. The majority (70.3%) of the county-level professional staff were White with 23% being Black, 3% other, and 4% not indicating their ethnicity. The majority (75.7%) were at least 41 years of age. This study utilized descriptive survey research design. Means were used to determine how strongly the respondents agreed or disagreed with MSU-ES practices. Standard deviations helped in understanding of how the responses varied. Frequencies and percentages were used to determine the number and proportion of the respondents who agreed with MSU-ES practices. Findings of this study presented evidence that county-level professional staff?s perceptions of diversity of the Mississippi State University Extension Service were positive. County-level professional staff agreed with the manner in which MSU-ES publicly embraced diversity. However, findings revealed that there was a significant difference between respondents and non-respondents in their perception to the manner MSU-ES publicly embraced diversity. County-level professional staff also agreed that the MSU-ES was successful in recruiting and retaining diverse staff or volunteers and MSU-ES provided a level of intercultural communication that fostered mutual learning with people of different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. County-level professional staff perceived the MSU-ES was providing supportive climate for diversity that encouraged critical thinking and informed dialogue among members of a diverse community. County-level professional staff agreed or strongly agreed that the working environment within the MSU-ES was comfortable and secure and disagreed or strongly disagreed that the MSU-ES treated employees unfairly.
Smith-Russ, Kimberly R, "The perception of diversity held by county level professional staff of the Mississippi State University Extension Service" (2007). Theses and Dissertations. 4585.