Research, veterans, and passion
My thesis from my Master's Program is on the transition veterans experience going from active duty to full-time student at a four-year institution. My husband inspired the original research, he was attending a local institution (ABC) for a degree in engineering. He had several years of experience from the Navy directly related to his new field and although this ABC refused to grant him very much credit for his experience and previous schooling, he was excited. He attended a few classes, always one at a time (he jokes he's on the 12 year plan), and we found various roadblocks and attitudes that kept him from enjoying his time on ABC's campus. One instructor's actions made me so mad I had to keep myself from calling him, his supervisor, and his supervisor's supervisor.
So, I started doing research, and found that there wasn't much research on how to help students who are veterans or military personnel. I did find a few organizations who wanted to help veterans, HE administrators and professionals, as well as instructors. I also found several news outlets that offered both good and bad information. Since finishing my research, and my program, I try to stay recent on research and articles concerning the veteran and military population in higher ed. I generally read InsideHigherEd.com as well as the Chronicle of Higher Education, and sometimes there is pertinent articles and information. These articles inspire me and make me hopeful that institutions are paying attention to this population.
There is good news, such as adjustments to the GI Bill: http://www.insidehighereducation.com/news/2011/07/26/fix_for_veterans_attending_private_schools_on_gi_bill
And then there are speculative reports that scare away veterans and administrators: End of a Military Full Ride? http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/08/17/possible_changes_coming_to_tuition_benefits_for_military
I think this population really needs special attention on campuses, in classrooms, and when building community in and around higher education institutions. This population is one of the reasons that I refuse to give up looking for an opportunity, any opportunity, to begin working on a college campus.