This applied dissertation was designed to understand and explore the experiences of veteran military students at a public four-year higher education institution in the South Florida region. This study utilized a focus group case study design for data collection and analysis. A committee of experts in the field of higher education reviewed the interview protocol. The research study and data analysis were conducted in the fall semester of 2016. The researcher utilized open-ended interview protocol procedures, which included the participation of 30 military veteran students representing all five branches of the Armed Forces: Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy. Member checks were conducted for transcription accuracy, credibility, and trustworthiness. The data collected revealed 25 themes that helped the researcher better understand the specific support services needed by military veteran students in higher education settings. The focus groups facilitated exploration and understanding of the transitional experiences of the military veteran students’ population on a college campus environment.
The qualitative research study provided an awareness of the specific support services necessary for a better transition from military life to a student college/university environment. The researcher concluded that the differing experiences of the military veteran student population on campus varied among participants yet were congruent with the themes revealed during the data analysis. The top five themes that were identified as a priority by the focus group participants include: (a) a veteran resource center, hub, or location specifically for military veteran students, (b) an orientation specifically for veteran students, (c) a support group or organization specifically for veterans, (d) networking opportunities among veterans and the community, and (e) a veteran representative on each campus for a multi-campus institution. It is necessary for faculty, staff, and administrators in higher education settings to be cognizant of the specific needs and accommodations necessary to assist military veteran students with military to civilian transitional needs. Military cultural awareness is imperative to facilitate increased understanding of the silent cry for help made by veterans needing support to enable their success in their academic journeys. Recommendations for future research is provided in detail to support the needs of the military veteran student population on college and university campuses.
|Advisor:||Ross, David B.|
|School:||Nova Southeastern University|
|Department:||Higher Education Leadership|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Adult education, Higher education, Military studies|
|Keywords:||focus groups, military veteran students, qualitative research, support services, transitional experience|
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