Jump to navigation
The academic battle: Challenging deficit models of student veteran military skills
Santa Cruz, RafaelaPoplin, Mary
Drew, DavidTucker, Mark
The roles and responsibilities of colleges and universities in the education of student veterans are important to ensure students’ retention, success, and engagement on school campuses. There are a few existing studies on the skills and abilities soldiers gain while in the military, and even fewer studies on how student veterans can translate their acquired military skills into the academic realm. The purpose of this mixed methods study is to advance the research on student veterans in the community college and the perceptions of their college faculty and staff. Because the existing literature primarily focuses on student veterans’ needs, this study aims to challenge the existing deficit models and employ a strengths-based model to provide a new framework for veteran serving institutions. This study provides a new lens, for a deeper understanding of the skills veterans, possess and the ways in which those skills can be capitalized upon and transferred to the academic realm to ensure student veteran success. A closed voluntary and anonymous 55-item survey was distributed to student veterans who volunteered to participate in the study, using Qualtrics, to ensure confidentiality and anonymity. Also, student veterans, English faculty members, and Veteran Resource Center directors were given the opportunity to participate in a one-on-one approximate 30-minute interview with the researcher. The goal was to elicit candid responses about the skills and abilities these students possess, how they transfer them into the academic realm and their perceptions of faculty members’ and Veteran Resource Center Directors’ attitudes towards student veterans. Results of this study indicate that English faculty and Veteran Resource Center directors' perceptions about student veterans and their acquired skills and abilities are positive, yet, preconceived notions and stereotypes continue to cloud their understanding of student veterans. Findings also indicate that student veterans gained multiple skills in the military and currently use those skills and abilities to succeed academically. An examination of the quantitative and qualitative data suggests there is a great need for the implementation and use of a new model which employs a strengths-based perspective. The researcher proposes the Boots to Books Strengths Model, which uses a strength based lens that informs and impacts the incorporation of military experience and socialization of veterans and their military-acquired skills and abilities in the academic setting; resulting in student veterans’ overall academic success, self-efficacy, and sense of belonging.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University, 2017
© 2015 SDSU Library & Information Access. All Rights Reserved.