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Faculty Publish Research on Students in Ag Access Programs

Barbara Kirby
Susan Kirby
Dr. Travis Park
Travis Park
Wendy Warner

In collaboration with a colleague from Wake County Public Schools, Barbara Kirby (emeritus), Travis Park, and Wendy Warner recently co-authored an article on the experiences of community college students within a college of agriculture baccalaureate access program. The article appears in the journal NACTA.

The Community College Experiences Of Students In A Baccalaureate Access Program In A College Of Agriculture

Authors: Susan Jones, Barbara Kirby, Travis Park, Wendy J. Warner


Obtaining a baccalaureate degree is the goal of many students pursuing higher education; however, there are multiple avenues for degree obtainment. Rural students, who face disparities in terms of college preparation, often decide to begin their higher education career elsewhere. Proximity to home, low tuition, and open admission policies makes community colleges the institution of choice for many students. While numerous studies identify adjustment factors transfer students experience, little research has been conducted on access programs or freshman transfer students studying agriculture. This study includes data from a larger comprehensive study that provides insight to the experiences and challenges of freshman transfer students in a baccalaureate pathway program intended to provide access to rural students studying agriculture through Astin’s (1984) student involvement theory. A quantitative instrument identified the community college experiences of students prior to transitioning to the university setting. Findings described hours students spent working, preparing for courses, and on campus. In addition, data revealed positive perceptions of advising experiences, and found students visited campus and became aware of university expectations to aid their transition by speaking with peers. Findings can be used to inform other universities seeking to support rural students in providing access to higher education.