AECT faculty will research barriers for women in leadership positions in the agricultural industry

University relations

Kelly Chaney, President of the Women’s Giving Circle, presents a check to Casandra Cox (middle) and Hanna Estes (right), both AECT instructors, accepting funding from the Women’s Giving Circle to fund their project entitled “Navigating Leadership Paths: The Stories of Diversified and successful leaders. “

Three faculty members from the Department of Agricultural Education, Communication and Technology at the University of Alberta received a grant from the Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) to begin work on a project to assess experiences and obstacles of women leaders in agriculture.

Hanna Estes and Casandra Cox, both instructors in the department, as well as Jill Rucker, associate professor at AECT, are collaborating on the project entitled “Navigating Leadership Paths: The Stories of Diverse and Successful Leaders”.

The number of women in leadership positions is steadily increasing, which has provided a better understanding of the barriers and biases they face, according to Cox.

“Numerous studies have identified areas that present challenges for the advancement of women, including prejudice, stereotypes and lack of support,” Cox said. “What is not yet clear is how well these experiences compare to those of a different gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.”

Estes, project coordinator, said the project is designed to fill this research gap. The project committee plans to assess the experiences of women leaders in Fortune 500 companies, regardless of their personal characteristics such as race and gender.

“We have a list of women in the agriculture industry that we’re going to start sitting down and talking to to capture their stories,” Rucker said. “Then we’ll catapult ourselves into analyzing the stories we collect and start developing a program that cultivates critical conversations that we can have in the classroom and among student groups and organizations.”

Once the data is collected and analyzed, the project committee plans to work with the Career Development Center (CDC) of the University of the University of A. and the Center for Multicultural and Diverse Education (CMDE) at the University of As to create learning modules that support students’ career preparation.

“This project will focus on three main results. The first desired outcome is a successful mentoring experience between two graduate student mentors and three undergraduate researchers, ”said Cox. “Next, this project aims to extract a minimum of three case studies for use in agricultural leadership courses at the University of Alberta. “

The third outcome of the project is to create three professional development modules at your own pace, Cox said. These modules will be shared with young professionals through ongoing refresher courses, as well as the CDC and CMDE.

The Women’s Giving Circle provided a grant of $ 4,310 to carry out the project. Candidates had to go through three rounds of preliminary voting, which included an application, a video summary of the project, and a live presentation.

“The WGC is an organization that supports women and children in the State of Arkansas. It is typically made up of alumni, friends, faculty and staff from the University of Arkansas. “said Rucker. “Each year, the WGC sponsors a scholarship program where faculty members can choose project ideas. One of the group’s funding priorities is for the scholarship project to enrich the quality of life for women and children. “

Rucker said the Women’s Giving Circle seeks to fund projects that not only benefit women and children in the community, but that will be sustainable and impact the lives of others, even after the money is spent. the grant.

Students can be involved in this project in a number of ways, Estes said. The project committee wants to find graduate and undergraduate students to help with the research process.

“Students are our future leaders,” said Estes. “By engaging in the critical conversations and the learning materials to follow this study, students can become equipped to overcome potential barriers to advancement in the workplace.”


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