Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jerita Whaley


The demand for poultry science graduates to fill available positions in the poultry industry continues to increase. At the same time, there are not enough graduates to fill the positions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the implementation of the poultry curriculum in the 4-H program and student recruitment through the 4-H program into the Poultry Science Department. The targeted populations were 4-H leaders who implement the poultry curriculum and university students who were currently studying poultry. Career development theories suggest that previous experiences during adolescence can be a major influence in future vocation choice. A mixed methods formative evaluation design was used to gather data from 4-H leaders and university students. Data were collected through Likert-type surveys from 79 of the 158 4-H leaders across the state who indicated that they implement the poultry curriculum. A purposeful sampling technique was used to select 13 university students who are majoring in poultry science for structured interviews. The survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and the interview data were coded for emergent themes. Key findings from the survey indicated that 48% of the 4-H leaders considered their poultry curriculum training and implementation inadequate. The majority of university students chose to major in poultry science in response to prior experience. Positive social change for an increase of graduates in poultry science may be achieved through the professional development project career awareness training for 4-H leaders and the supportive follow-up training through the network of the professional learning community to improve student recruitment.