Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Agricultural & Extension Education

Committee Chair

Deborah A Boone

Committee Co-Chair

Harry N Boone

Committee Member

Jean M Woloshuk


One of the Cooperative Extension Services main objectives is to be a non-formal education provider to the public. In order for agents to fulfill this goal, they need to be competent in many areas, some of which may be out of their area of expertise. The purpose for this study was to identify challenges perceived by West Virginia Extension Agents. A three stage Delphi technique was used to determine what Extension Agents viewed as challenges. The study found agents identified 35 challenges of being an Extension Agent in West Virginia. These challenges were separated into five constructs. The top challenges in the construct, training and support, were disconnect between needs of county and expectations of state office, prioritizing what is important, and meeting programming expectations. The top challenges in the construct funding and resources; were: lack of funding, space for storage, and limited available resources other than funding. The third construct was personal issues, which was the highest rated area and included finding time for all programs, balancing family and work obligations, and overextending on commitments. The fourth area, volunteers and community involvement, impact policies have on volunteers was the most challenging, followed closely by finding leadership in programs, community's perceptions of an agent's responsibilities, and recruiting volunteers. The challenges identified related to the last construct of organizational factors included, unclear guidelines and standards, inconsistent or nonexistent administrative policies, and employee pay and promotion.