Warner, L. A., Murphrey, T. P. L., D.E., Baker, M., & Lindner, J. R. (2014). Measuring Florida Extension Faculty's Agricultural Paradigmatic Preferences. Journal of Agricultural Education, 55(2), 120-135. doi: 10.5032/jae.2014.02120
The demand for sustainable agriculture has increased, and many institutions, including the University of Florida, have adopted agricultural sustainability as a major goal. Extension has been identified as a critical information source, important in disseminating sustainable agricultural growing techniques. However, research has demonstrated that an institution's goals may not be represented by the actions and beliefs of its staff members (Eveland, 1986; Minarovic & Mueller, 2000). While Extension faculty have been identified as change agents in the shift to a more sustainable agriculture, the literature contained little regarding Florida Extension agents' attitudes towards this topic. The study and its findings were framed by Mitzel's model of teaching and learning, and we sought to describe Florida Extension agents through an exploration of the presage variables associated with their teaching. This study utilized an updated Alternative and Conventional Agricultural Paradigm (ACAP) scale instrument to quantitatively measure Florida Extension agents' agricultural paradigms. The sample included 188 randomly selected Extension faculty working across all disciplines. Within a potential score range of 24 – 120, and higher values indicating stronger alignment with sustainable agriculture, the Sustainability Score mean for Florida Extension agents was 80.64. The study identified three paradigmatic groups: Conventionals, Moderates, and Sustainables. We documented elements of Florida Extension professionals' presage variables and determined that there is no disconnect between University of Florida Extension faculty and their organization's goals related to sustainable agriculture.