Exploring Graduate Students’ Experiences in a College of Agriculture


  • Shayne White Texas Tech University
  • Dr. Courtney Meyers
  • Dr. Christy Bratcher




graduate students, validation theory, communication, experiences, resources


The past two decades have seen an overall increase in the number of students pursuing a graduate degree in the United States. Gaining a more nuanced understanding of how graduate students navigate the academic, personal, and professional challenges of post baccalaureate education will help programs better support them and ensure student success. With validation theory serving as the theoretical framework, the purpose of this study was to explore the graduate student experience within a college of agriculture at a southwestern university. This study focused on three aspects: resources students use, challenges they have experienced, and additional needs for support. Data for this phenomenological study were collected using focus groups with 24 students. Analysis of the data found students utilized a variety of resources including online content and peers. Another emergent theme recognized the significant role communication plays between faculty members and students. The final theme focused on solutions to support better communication and collaboration efforts. Several specific recommendations are provided to improve how validated graduate students feel in their academic pursuits. Future research should gather faculty perspectives to help shape professional development opportunities that would create enhanced graduate student mentoring.


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How to Cite

Shayne White, Meyers, C. ., & Bratcher, C. . . (2024). Exploring Graduate Students’ Experiences in a College of Agriculture . NACTA Journal, 68(1). https://doi.org/10.56103/nactaj.v68i1.163