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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Contextual mentoring of student veterans: A communication perspective
by Buechner, Barton David, Ph.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2014, 302; 3615729
Abstract (Summary)

Nearly two million combat veterans are now in various stages of the process of returning from service and entering higher education using the post-9/11 GI Bill. Who is guiding and advising them in the process of this transition, and how are they doing it? To help answer this question, this qualitative phenomenological study examines the narratives of successful student veterans for ways that mentors played a role in their transition from military service to academia. The study was informed by an examination of relevant literature, including individual mentoring and group mentoring; medical and non-medical readjustment counseling for returning combat veterans; various branches of psychology, communication, social construction, and warrior mythology and storytelling. Narrative data were examined using a composite metatheoretical model drawing on domains of human experience (Shay, 2010), integral theory and the all quadrants, all levels (AQAL) model (Wilber, 2006), and the coordinated management of meaning theory of social construction in communication (Pearce, 2008). This analysis revealed patterns of multiple mentor interaction across various social worlds that helped them to make meaning from their experiences in transition, and bridge between different social contexts of home, military, and school. An unexpected but significant finding was the presence and role of traumatic experiences fitting the description of “moral injury” (Drescher et al., 2011) or “psychic wounding” (Malabou, 2012) as linked to the episodes of being mentored while making meaning of these experiences. This suggests the relationship of coordinated mentor communications to the phenomenon of posttraumatic growth, and the particular attunement of adult education (andragogy) as enabling context. Applying these findings to the composite four-quadrant model resulted in an integrated conceptual model of “contextual mentoring,” which provides a framework to consider the way coordinated mentor influences may act as mediating structures to support the development or transformation of returning veterans during their transition in higher education.

Keywords: veterans, mentoring, group mentoring, posttraumatic growth, moral injury, phenomenology, communication, coordinated management of meaning (CMM), social construction of reality, adult learning, andragogy, mediating structures.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Guilarte, Miguel
Commitee: Bentz, Valerie, Corley, Connie, Konvisser, Zieva, Mechling, Jay, Scott, Deborah
School: Fielding Graduate University
Department: Human and Organization Development
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Communication, Military studies
Keywords: Adult learning (andragogy), Coordinated management of meaning (cmm), Integral theory, Mentoring, Phenomenology, Social construction of reality
Publication Number: 3615729
ISBN: 978-1-303-81807-3
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