Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Kay Bradford

Abstract

Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Extension faculty members are increasingly involved in offering couple and relationship education (CRE), but some have limited background in this format of family life education. This study used a phenomological approach to examine the experiences of Extension faculty members who offered CRE in their respective counties for their first time. Data were collected through face-to-face and telephone interviews. Four themes emerged from the interview data. First, considerations for offering this type of education included valuing CRE, having sufficient and specific knowledge about the needs of the county for CRE, and access to other forms of resources (mentors, previous training, or funding). Second, successes were discussed in terms of creating positive partnerships, successful recruitment strategies, and resources (utilization of funds and getting trained in CRE for the event). Third, faculty members described challenges including a lack of partnerships, limited resources, recruitment struggles, and lack of sufficient funds. Fourth, the reflections from the faculty members included plans and changes for future programming as faculty members reflected back on their actual experiences. These findings provide guidance for Extension faculty members with limited experience who are interested in offering CRE.