Trends in the perceptions of graduates of the Agricultural Mechanization program at Iowa State University and their employers
The purpose of this study was to determine trends in the characteristics and perceptions of graduates of the Agricultural Mechanization program at Iowa State University to provide guidance to the faculty for the improvement of the program;The study synthesized data from three previous follow-up studies and analyzed the data using trend study methodology. It also sought to determine trends in the perceptions of the graduates' employers of the graduates' training;The overall trend found was that of consistency. Few changes in the perceptions and characteristics of graduates and their employers were found for most of the variables examined;The major change found in the enrollment characteristics of graduates was that the faculty advisor played an increasingly important role in the graduates' decision to enroll in Agricultural Mechanization in the more recent groups. The most important factor remained the practicality of the program. Graduates tended to decide on the major during their freshman and sophomore year although self-employed graduates decided slightly earlier;Fewer of the most recent graduates were self-employed and engaged in farming and the more traditional agricultural mechanization employment areas and more were employed in areas of sales and service of agricultural products. Salaries of recent graduates had increased significantly and more graduates were seeking employment outside the state of Iowa;Generally graduates' perceptions of the quality and benefit of their education in Agricultural Mechanization at Iowa State University have consistently been average to good;The graduates' perception of their adequacy of training in the skill areas of communications, mathematics, power mechanics, construction and chemical and biological sciences has been average to good. Their perception of their training in management and public relations has been average. A decline in the perceptions of the adequacy of training in the areas of animal science and horticulture was noted. There were no differences in the perceptions of self-employed graduates and those employed by others for any of the variables;Most employers consistently rated the graduates as being in the upper 20 percent of entry level employees and the adequacy of training of graduates for all skill areas as average to good.