Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Swortzel, Kirk

Committee Member

Morgan, Mariah

Committee Member

McCubbins, OP

Committee Member

Walker, Ryan

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Agricultural and Extension Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


School of Human Sciences


The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of CTE administrators in Alabama and Georgia on how agricultural education teachers were integrating STEM and employability skills. The population of this study consisted of CTE administrators in Alabama (N = 137) and Georgia (N = 178) with 315 surveys being distributed and 129, or 41%, completing the survey. This descriptive study utilized a static group comparison pre-experimental research design. Means were used to determine how strongly the respondents value employability skills and STEM skills. Standard deviations helped understand how responses varied. Frequencies and percentages were used to determine the number and proportion of the respondents. The demographics portion of this study found that the average CTE administrator in Alabama and Georgia was a white female with a specialist or doctoral degree and no educational background in CTE. In addition, the average CTE administrator was employed in a county school system that offered agricultural education and had less than 15,000 students. Furthermore, the average CTE administrator has 13.05 years of teaching experience and 23.25 years of total experience in education. On average, CTE encompassed the majority of their duties and they were not an administrator in a charter school. The findings of this study presented evidence that CTE administrators in Alabama and Georgia do value the integration of employability skills and STEM skills into agricultural education differently. Moreover, participating CTE administrators perceived all employability and STEM skill categories to be "very important" or "Extremely Important" based on a Likert-type scale of 1 = Not Important to 5 = Extremely Important. Furthermore, the most valued Employability Skills include Critical Thinking Skills, Personal Qualities, and Communication Skills. The STEM Pathways that CTE administrators valued the most include the Plant Systems Pathway, Animal Science Pathway, and the Food, Products, and Processing Pathway.