Presentation Title

Nontraditional Student Veterans: Support Services in Higher Education

Session Format

Poster Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Education & Learning - Curriculum & Instruction

Abstract

With the implementation of the GI Bill, under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (P.L. 78-346), student veterans are a growing population on college campuses across the United States (Murray, 2008). Veterans Affairs reported more than 900,000 veterans and military service members received educational benefits between years: 2000‰ÛÒ2012 (NCSL, 2014). With such an influx of student veterans on US college campuses it becomes a priority for college and university leaders to ensure support services for these students. While many campuses have increased the level of support and availability of services for their student veterans (Cook & Kim, 2009; Griffin & Gilbert, 2015; McBain, Kim, Cook, & Snead, 2012), there is a distinct lack of literature surrounding the lived experience of nontraditional student veterans with support services.

The purpose of this study is to elucidate the nontraditional student veteran experience with support services as they progress toward degree completion. As such, the guiding research question is: How do nontraditional student veterans describe their experiences with support services in higher education as they progress toward degree completion? This study will draw upon the assumptions of Adult Learning Theory, in particular that of Knowles (1980) regarding andragogy. Nontraditional student veterans are adult learners, often self-directed and intrinsically motivated in the pursuit of their educational goals. In addition veterans enter college without an institutional sense of belonging and familial culture, which is cultivated and experienced as military members. Students integrate the normative values and behaviors of the college with their family of origin values; those that leave college are unable to do this effectively (as cited in Kuh, Kinzie, Buckley, Bridges, & Hayek, 2006). Research shows that academic and social integration promote student persistence in higher education and influence the student experience (Kuh et al., 2006; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). With is in mind, Tinto’s theory of student integration, specifically the concepts of academic and social integration may provide another lens for understanding the nontraditional student veteran experience in higher education for this study.

Using Narrative Inquiry I will gather the stories of participants through semi-structured interviews. I will draw upon 10-12 voluntary nontraditional student veterans in US higher education institutions to interview in-person or by Skype; lasting no more than 1 hour. Interviews will be transcribed and open coded using an inductive comparative strategy to identify emerging categories, themes, and patterns using a thematic approach. Participant stories will be deconstructed to create a collective narrative. Recommendations of Ollernshaw and Cresswell (2002) to identify the characters, settings, problems, actions, and resolutions will be used in deconstructing the individual stories (Cresswell, 2000). A cross comparison of these elements with consideration for the interaction, continuity, and situational influences (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) will further add insight in using narrative analysis.

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-16-2016 2:45 PM

End Date

4-16-2016 4:00 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 16th, 2:45 PM Apr 16th, 4:00 PM

Nontraditional Student Veterans: Support Services in Higher Education

With the implementation of the GI Bill, under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (P.L. 78-346), student veterans are a growing population on college campuses across the United States (Murray, 2008). Veterans Affairs reported more than 900,000 veterans and military service members received educational benefits between years: 2000‰ÛÒ2012 (NCSL, 2014). With such an influx of student veterans on US college campuses it becomes a priority for college and university leaders to ensure support services for these students. While many campuses have increased the level of support and availability of services for their student veterans (Cook & Kim, 2009; Griffin & Gilbert, 2015; McBain, Kim, Cook, & Snead, 2012), there is a distinct lack of literature surrounding the lived experience of nontraditional student veterans with support services.

The purpose of this study is to elucidate the nontraditional student veteran experience with support services as they progress toward degree completion. As such, the guiding research question is: How do nontraditional student veterans describe their experiences with support services in higher education as they progress toward degree completion? This study will draw upon the assumptions of Adult Learning Theory, in particular that of Knowles (1980) regarding andragogy. Nontraditional student veterans are adult learners, often self-directed and intrinsically motivated in the pursuit of their educational goals. In addition veterans enter college without an institutional sense of belonging and familial culture, which is cultivated and experienced as military members. Students integrate the normative values and behaviors of the college with their family of origin values; those that leave college are unable to do this effectively (as cited in Kuh, Kinzie, Buckley, Bridges, & Hayek, 2006). Research shows that academic and social integration promote student persistence in higher education and influence the student experience (Kuh et al., 2006; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). With is in mind, Tinto’s theory of student integration, specifically the concepts of academic and social integration may provide another lens for understanding the nontraditional student veteran experience in higher education for this study.

Using Narrative Inquiry I will gather the stories of participants through semi-structured interviews. I will draw upon 10-12 voluntary nontraditional student veterans in US higher education institutions to interview in-person or by Skype; lasting no more than 1 hour. Interviews will be transcribed and open coded using an inductive comparative strategy to identify emerging categories, themes, and patterns using a thematic approach. Participant stories will be deconstructed to create a collective narrative. Recommendations of Ollernshaw and Cresswell (2002) to identify the characters, settings, problems, actions, and resolutions will be used in deconstructing the individual stories (Cresswell, 2000). A cross comparison of these elements with consideration for the interaction, continuity, and situational influences (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) will further add insight in using narrative analysis.