Title page for ETD etd-01202012-083443

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Bruchhaus, Allison Ann
URN etd-01202012-083443
Title Equipped To Serve Our Youth: A Phenomenological Study of 4-H Extension Youth Educators’ Perceptions of the Value of Mentoring
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kotrlik, Joe W. Committee Chair
Machtmes, Krisanna Committee Co-Chair
Fox, Janet Committee Member
Johnson, Earl C. Committee Member
Mitchell, Roland W. Dean's Representative
  • evaluation
  • assignment
  • training
  • selection
  • considerations
  • experiences
  • benefits
  • work environment
  • model
  • youth educators
  • 4-H
  • mentoring
Date of Defense 2011-12-05
Availability unrestricted
Challenging economic times and increasingly complex social contexts intensify the demand for organizations to focus on areas of human resource development that positively contribute to developmental relationships of employees. One such method is the implementation of a formal mentoring program.

Mentoring is especially important for 4-H youth educators. Youth educators are usually specialized in program development among other areas and plan, implement, and evaluate programs with the intent of bettering the quality of life for youth. The dynamics of working with today’s youth mandate effective professional development and developmental relationships for career enhancement.

This study was developed for the researcher to take an in-depth look into mentoring relationships for new 4-H youth educators. The following research questions were investigated: How do Extension educators perceive the value of mentoring Extension educators in Louisiana? How do Extension educators perceive the value of formal and informal mentoring programs in Louisiana?

Seven 4-H youth educators, hired within the past one to five years, participated in this study and were interviewed by the researcher. This communication and interaction provided details and explanations regarding the formal mentoring program and tendencies for new 4-H youth educators within the organization to find informal mentors. The participants shared personal and professional expectations, hopes, and needs as novice 4-H youth educators. Several components that contribute to successful, professional developmental relationships were found to be lacking with “formal” mentors among participants despite finding these elements in developmental relationships with “informal” mentors.

The findings of this study contributed to suggestions for an effective and efficient formal mentoring program for 4-H youth educators. In addition, the researcher concluded there are numerous implications that reinforce the need for the development and implementation of a revised formal mentoring program in the organization.

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