Murray State Theses and Dissertations


Higher education is changing, and more community colleges find themselves helping to increase the number of students who receive a bachelor’s credential from a 4-year post-secondary institution. This qualitative study was designed to determine the effectiveness of the online two plus two Agriscience Education program at a university in North Carolina. Twelve current and former students provided feedback about their perspectives and lived experiences through semi-structured interviews.

Preliminary findings suggest that both current and former students find the two plus two program very cost-affordable, flexible, and convenient for transferring two years’ worth of credit and courses to earn a bachelor’s degree. While participants see the two plus two programs as a great avenue for bachelor’s degree attainment, they highlighted the following five tenets that characterize the effectiveness of the program: 1) program format and convenience, 2) instructional quality, 3) program engagement, 4) career and job readiness, and 5) personal fulfillment and satisfaction. Added, five themes emerged relative to the participants’ responses about their lived experiences throughout the program.

Due to the program’s favorability and high demand, further work should focus building a taskforce to assess the feasibility of expanding this model to other disciplines and at other 1890 land-grant institutions. From the feedback provided, future research should look at incorporating an assessment to see how online learners adapt to the varied online learning interfaces, establishment of a mentoring program, and have formal reflections from faculty on the critical factors for student success in an online program.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

agriculture education, online learning, articulation and transfer pathways, persistence, student success

Dissertation Committee Chair

Alyx Shultz

Committee Chair

Alyx Shultz

Committee Member

Kristie Guffey

Committee Member

David Whaley

Document Type