Transcript for January 19, 2018

[ Inaudible Comment ]

>> So I'm [inaudible] if you don't know me.

>> [Inaudible] Foster.

>> [inaudible] Foster.

>> Right. And I'm Martin [inaudible]. Amy is a recent graduate of our post-secondary master's degree, okay, and also it's unfortunate that [inaudible]. And we're going to talk a little bit about [inaudible] veteran success, and this is part of Hailey's master's thesis work. Furthermore, she's going to be presenting, we'll be presenting, he'll be the lead presenter, at Military Connected NAPSA student conference in New Orleans next month. So this is a good opportunity to kind of do a little bit of advance work on that presentation and get feedback, so if you have comments, questions, those type of things, if you can pay particularly close attention, we could really use that to sort of shape our approach when we're in New Orleans. We should probably also acknowledge the other members of the committee who are a part [inaudible], Dr. Frank Harris, Dr. James [inaudible], and Dr. Lisa McAuley.

[ Inaudible Comment ]

>> Yeah [inaudible].

>> So my interest in [inaudible] and military programs actually began quite a long time ago. I was raised in a military family. My grandfather served in the Army Air Force before it was the Air Force in World War II. And he met my grandmother when he was stationed at an air base in Oklahoma, and she was working as a civilian on the base. I used to love hearing all of their military stories and meeting all of their friends that they had served with, and so I had always [inaudible] an appreciation in that respect for the military culture. So, and then I started working at [inaudible] about five years ago. I was eventually assigned to work with our fundraiser for our military programs, and I got to meet all of our staff and veterans that [inaudible] campus and learned about all the great work that they were doing [inaudible] veterans, a lot of programs that they have to offer. So when I began my graduate studies it seemed like a natural fit to study the student base life, the work that the veteran center was doing and what we do on campuses to support military students because it's one of the areas and one of the nontraditional populations of students that doesn't get as much attention as some of the others. So that's why this is a really good opportunity to fill the gap in the literature.

>> Yeah, I grew up in a military family like that that, we were Navy, and kind of lived in a variety of different places and so I experienced as a dependent that sort of lifestyle [inaudible] very informative years, you know, interesting and in addition to that, I've been involved in some research in program evaluation related to more of what military families, particularly military families with disability and other projects that involve that and also the [inaudible] faculty chair or department [inaudible] touches on that topic and just a couple of book chapters and presentations [inaudible] in the past, so I have a little bit of background on it but primarily through the disability [inaudible].

back to top

>> So the history of veterans in higher education really dates back to World War II and the Serviceman's Readjustment Act of Act of 1944, which is more commonly known as the first GI bill. And that bill has three [inaudible]. One was education and training, which is the most relevant, of course, to this. Although [inaudible] homes and businesses and unemployment pay, and legislators at the time were actually a little bit concerned that veterans were going to go for the unemployment paid position as opposed to the education and training but 49 percent of veterans actually ended up taking advantage of that benefit for that first [inaudible] of the GI bill was really successful. And so it was at this time that institutions really starting to consider their responsibility to student veterans and what it meant to survey students because this was a new population that, you know, they had never really seen before.

So that was when the research opportunity [inaudible] on campus really got started. There are a couple of kits, the first of course being, the first major one being in the Vietnam era. We saw lots of popular support for the war, and campuses were more focused on the protest [inaudible] things like that and not so much focused on the student veteran experience and it was also focused on [inaudible] research as well during this time. And then the Montgomery GI bill in the early 1980's, which was a shift in how the benefits were transmitted and offered to student veterans and then [inaudible] the post 9/11 GI bill, which was passed in 2009, and the Department of Veterans' Affairs considers this the most comprehensive benefits package that's been offered to veterans since that first GI bill back in 1944. This bill offers students tuition, which is paid directly to the school. They get a stiped for books and supplies, and they also get a housing allowance based on their zip code. So it's a really opportunity for these students to take advantage of, and over one million student veterans have attended institutions of higher education [inaudible].

So when we initially started thinking about what exactly we wanted to study in terms of military students, we of course started with the literature, as any good researcher does, and much of the research focuses on transition, primarily the transition from combat to college or the transition from the military into higher education. There's also some literature that focuses on the transition from campus to the civilian workforce after students graduate, but there's not a lot of research that focuses on what I tend to refer to as the middle piece or [inaudible] experience. So from the day students set foot on campus to the day they graduate, what is their experience like and what helps them be successful while they're here on campus. The literature also focuses on other nontraditional populations that are similar to student veterans which parallel their experience in a lot of ways, but those experiences aren't exactly the same, but it will pop up in a little bit, and we'll talk a little bit more about adult learners, which are students who are ages 25 and older and [inaudible] students [inaudible] student veterans. So [inaudible]to this study. The first is familiar probably to most of my colleagues in student affairs which is [inaudible] transition period. In [inaudible] an event or nonevent that results in changed relationships, routines [inaudible]. But for this study we relied primarily on [inaudible] 2006 adaptation of this theory, and she defines transitions as a series of three phases, the moving [inaudible], moving through and moving out. And when you think about the typical life of a college student, you can see how those phases are really applicable to various situations. And then we also looked [inaudible] adult learner success, again, kind of just parallel to the adult learner population, and she shared that institutions need to try to be more receptive to adult learners [inaudible] success [inaudible] practices.

So, basically, what she means by that is making services more friendly for adult learners, whether that means having more flexible processes, making sure that some offices have extended hours so that students who work during the day can still [inaudible] night and things like that. And so you can see a little bit how moving in aligns with access and then those moving through and moving out phases align with the success and retention.

back to top

>> So there's [inaudible] needs assessment focus to it, and it wasn't entirely a needs assessment [inaudible] evaluation as well, but [inaudible] go along that there's a fairly strong kind of needs assessment flavor to the study. Needs assessment is kind of a formative evaluation approach, meaning it typically doesn't necessarily assess the outcomes of the program but more like the needs that exist for which programs were developed to meet that type of thing. Often, they're used for kind of organizational planning efforts or strategic planning efforts [inaudible] that was the case [inaudible] particular study [inaudible] partner and partnering program on campus and provided information to them and just kind of help them with their planning and their strategic planning [inaudible] needs assessment [inaudible] applies to a lot of different [inaudible] really help you kind of narrow things down a whole lot. So we'll kind of show some examples of needs assessment in a minute and then kind of highlight the ones that have the most pronounced bearing on this particular study. [Inaudible] needs assessment questions that might get answered through needs assessment are explored are things like what the needs [inaudible] pretty direct, you know, or to what extent are the needs, are their needs, you know, to what extent are the needs currently met. Who has the needs, under what circumstances do they, you know, needs service.

Those are kind of physical needs assessment questions, and this particular study will be focused on, you know, what supports were in place, what supports were being used, what additional supports were made, so what was still needed. And then in addition there's an element of looking at the extent to which student veterans attributed somebody [inaudible] to their successor students in that sort of moving through phase, you know. So just kind of a little bit of a background in terms of different types of needs assessment [inaudible] a lot of different things can be done, which is just kind of a [inaudible] of the way that needs assessment can be conducted. So [inaudible] analysis where you sort of try to estimate what's the existing need and what's the existing supply of services or supports that will meet that need and sort of look at the gap between the supply and demand. Or professional judgment [inaudible] higher or bring in experts in the field to come in to sort of tell you what their assessment is of the need, so kind of a connoisseurship model [inaudible] a lot about [inaudible] for you, population [inaudible] with this assessment, [inaudible] indicators of the populations that will be used [inaudible] or things like that, because the size of your population [inaudible] that [inaudible] size of the population. Or utilization demand sort of approach to needs assessment where you sort of look at what's the current demand for the service that's there [inaudible] called the wait list model type of approach.

Because if there's a lot of people on the wait list, that'll indicate that, you know, your demand is exceeding your supply by a considerable amount. Interactive demand, meaning you look at who's using other services that are typically associated or linked to your services or that might serve as a pipeline to your services or if you're seeing a lot of demand, you know, on a ladder that's sort of leading to you, then you can [inaudible] a lot of needs coming your way. [Inaudible] nothing in those [inaudible] nobody else on that ladder, then there may not be a lot of that need coming your way. The survey model where actually you reach out to identify the stakeholder groups and ask them whether their needs are. There are mixed models which incorporate, you know, elements of, you know, two or more of the models that I talked about before or models that we didn't even address. This particular study really kind of has the most pronounced aspect of the survey model where you sort of reach out to the stakeholder populations and sort of them ask them to talk about what their needs are.

This is a little bit [inaudible] model in here as well [inaudible]. So the survey model, needs assessment is typically one of the main things we look at. It's like who are the stakeholders [inaudible] reaching out [inaudible] what their needs are or what their impressions are [inaudible]. And so we sort of look at, okay, who would be the primary stakeholders, who would be the secondary stakeholders, and [inaudible] primary stakeholders being the folks who are most directly impacted or affected by a program and secondary stakeholders being folks who are a little bit more distant, so they still have an interest but maybe don't feel the impact of the program quite as directly. So, you know, we would conceptualize the primary stakeholders [inaudible] student veterans that are going to be the beneficiaries of the services and act to sort of utilize the services. [Inaudible] primary stakeholders [inaudible], folks who spend their days and work [inaudible] student veterans. And then the other population that we considered, or that we see as secondary stakeholders [inaudible] families of the student veterans [inaudible] they feel the impact of the partner in a little bit more different way.

Or funders of the program, obviously, they have an interest but they're not as impacted directly by the program. The university administrators, other faculty and staff at the university, employers of the university graduates [inaudible] some of the student veterans and the community at large. You can sort of take the secondary stakeholders out quite a way if you want. This particular setting really zeros in on primary stakeholders. So, with a pretty tight focus on the student body. That was the primary population that we reached out to and we gathered information from. And we didn't actually gather information from that other primary stakeholders group, the veterans on our staff, but we work in close association with them, so they were the recipients of the data that we gathered from the primary stakeholders [inaudible].

back to top

>> So in terms of the actual data collection, we went with a little bit of a mixed matched model, which is my favorite. And one of the reasons I like to see that is because I like to use both types of data to enhance the other, so other research I really appreciate qualitative research and I appreciate the [inaudible] getting to hear the personal stories [inaudible] things like that, and those are powerful ports to pull out and things like that. But for something like this, when we are trying to advocate for students and advocate for programmatic changes whether it's your advocating for more fun, getting more staffing, or big changes like that, usually administrators and funders are going to want the data, so they're going to want those numbers that really back up the stories that I like to share. So we choose to go with both quantitative and qualitative data for this study. So the quantitative data was collected through the survey, that is demographic information as well as feedback regarding programs and services offered by the veteran center. And [inaudible] of open-ended questions to top some more detailed suggestions to the respondents, we ask them a question about maybe [inaudible] that they would like to see that they have experienced any barriers to access [inaudible] to have eliminated those areas for them and things like that.

So since I couldn't interview every single student who responded, that [inaudible] the opportunity to provide a little bit more detailed feedback as they went along. And the survey gathered data from the entire military connected population [inaudible] students [inaudible] active duty students or reservists or dependents and our [inaudible] students. But for the services of this study, we separated out the data from the student veterans, and then the veterans [inaudible] data from all of the population. And then for the qualitative side for the interviews, those were one-on-one interviews with five students, which we'll talk a little bit more about later, and as I mentioned before, that really added some depth, I guess, to hear about their individual experiences and those interviews were conducted with students who were identified as veterans. So the primary research question for this study was type of support services are necessary to attain and ensure the success of student veterans during their time on campus [inaudible] some questions that [inaudible] that needs assessment [inaudible] that Mark was talking about earlier.

What programs and services currently offered are working well and beneficial to students and what programs and services were not working well and should maybe be amended or discontinued. What programs and services were not offered that should be, and then did any programs [inaudible] increased financial or staff support. So as for the actual survey approach, as mentioned previously, we distributed the surveys to the entire military [inaudible] population on campus consisted of the veterans, the dependents, and those other subgroups that I mentioned. And we also were able to distribute this survey to alumni as well to get their input from the programs and services. In order to enhance the response rate, we employed a few different strategies, the first one being multiple messaging. So before that actual survey was sent out, we sent it to the students to say in a few days you're going to be getting a survey, you know, if could take the time to look at it and fill it out, we'd really appreciate your feedback.

That was when they actually got the survey email they knew it was a legitimate request, you know, they weren't kind of surprised by it, they knew it was coming. So then there was the presurvey email, the survey email, and then we sent out two reminder emails, all just to make sure that everyone who was interested in participating had the opportunity to. And the email [inaudible] via enrollment services through the veterans on the email distribution list. So it was familiar to the students who were receiving it. It wasn't just mere remarks, you know, from a random email and just sending out an email to students, it was familiar and trustworthy for them [inaudible] click on it and open it. I made a couple of personal appeals to public student groups. I visited the student veterans' organization [inaudible] to tell them about the survey, to see if they had any questions about maybe how the data would be used or what kinds of things were on the survey, and I also visited students in one of the transitional courses [inaudible] to give them the same opportunity. The veterans center was generous enough to help us out with an incentive to try to get students to participate in the survey.

So they funded [inaudible] to the bookstore, which they were able to [inaudible] really great for students who participated in the survey, and there was a random drawing for [inaudible] bookstore [inaudible] so that was a really great incentive for them. And then they wanted to make sure that the students knew that their responses would be confidential because we wanted them to be able to provide honest feedback and not feel like their responses were going to be linked to their names or their email addresses or anything like that. So [inaudible] we received 506 responses from the entire military connected population, and then 307 participants were included in the study, and those were the ones who identified as veteran and/or retired military.

>> This is the beginning of that finding [inaudible] we asked them demographic questions at the beginning just to kind of know a little bit about our respondent, and this bar chart sort of illustrates the military affiliations that responded. So the checklist, so people could check more than one box, so we have a total number of responses here that exceeds the total number of people who responded to the survey. Everybody who was included in this analysis kind of moving forward would either [inaudible] identified [inaudible] or veteran or retired, and some people identified [inaudible] thing. And those were, you know, the most common by far, 294 of the 307 identified consulting veterans. The smaller number is retired or reservists, dependent spouse, national guard [inaudible], dependent child. These are all in the single digits here, ROTC Army, ROTC Navy or Marines, ROTC Air Force or other, and a lot of times the most [inaudible] something like if somebody indicated that they were [inaudible] the spouse, they were [inaudible] they were a veteran and they served, they were also married to a service member, so they were the dependent spouse [inaudible] was a combination of [inaudible].

back to top

>> Quick question.

>> Yeah.

>> So what's the difference between veteran and retiree?

>> Sure. So it's just kind of an interesting question and something that popped up in my research, and it tends to vary from person to person. Sometimes folks don't like to identify themselves as veterans if they didn't see combat, they wouldn't consider themselves a veteran, you know, in that sense, which is not true for everybody, but it's true for some. Some only consider themselves retired from the military if they served, you know, [inaudible] you know, they say reached a high rank, for instance, and then they retired, you know, at 50 or 60 as opposed to serving their four years, you know, and discharging. So a lot of men, a lot of [inaudible] can identify as both [inaudible] you know, that they're maybe one or the other depending on the length of service and the type of service [inaudible]. And then this just shows the branch of service of respondent. So, of course, predominantly Navy or [inaudible] so that makes sense. Also [inaudible] Marine Corp [inaudible] so we've had quite a few marines as well. And then Army was our next largest population, which makes sense because that population Army is the widest branch, so it makes sense that we had a good number of those. And then you can see as well as all the other options, the kind of diminishing numbers that the Navy was definitely the most predominant.

>> Also the age of the respondent, and we present this in two ways here, the blue, the blue bars are everybody including alumni and then we also [inaudible] alumni could have been around for quite some time [inaudible] so let's also take a look at the age of the current students, and the age of the current students is the reddish or orange, it's more red here, and the [inaudible] including alumni [inaudible] the current students. So the red bars are actually in the blue bars [inaudible] if that makes sense. So, I think kind of the key thing to look at here is, you know, if you look at the group as a whole including alumni, you know, 92.3 percent identifies themselves as being [inaudible] age or older, even if you look at current students only, that's 89.3 percent of them identify themselves as anything 26 or older. At age 25 they're generally sort of where you start to take a look at the dividing line for nontraditional students. A lot of people defined it that way. So our age categories didn't line up exactly the same, but you could still look at it as a group that is largely that of [inaudible] population of nontraditional student population by age.

>> And then for the gender identity of the respondents, only two percent identified as men and [inaudible] percent identified as women. And so this slide and the next slide I wanted to point out that the gender identities and the race and ethnicity descriptors were taken directly from the [inaudible] application, partially just so they would be familiar to students but also so we could make sure that we were as [inaudible] as possible in the options that [inaudible]. And the respondents in this population [inaudible] dominance of men in the military, which is 84.9 percent men and 15.1 percent women. But you can see that our population of women, our percentage of women is a little bit higher, and that's something to do with the fact that women tend to be more likely to pursue higher education than men, and on campus, the institutional population is 55 percent women and 45 percent men. So that little bit higher percentage of women makes a lot of sense. And one other note here is that the [inaudible] the military and at the university is only [inaudible] the gender identities with men and women but our study [inaudible].

>> We also looked at the race and ethnicity, how people identify themselves by race or ethnicity, and in the study of our respondents, it could be 7.3 percent identifies itself as white. Notably 16.9 percent of them identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino, pay attention to that because [inaudible]. Typically the definition of that is, like we said, that enrollment of 25 percent or more of [inaudible]. Just kind of as a point of reference at the institution, about 52 percent of students are minority students, but in the military, that unfortunately is smaller, you can figure somewhere, figure between 31 and 40 percent of the minority service members.

>> And then this slide [inaudible] a few points of information in terms of classes, transfer status, and [inaudible] students more than half of the respondents identified as upper classmen, which means that they completed 16 units or more, which is also consistent with the high percentage of those who identified as transfer students. A lot of our student veterans have completed some college before they attended four-year university, whether that was prior to general military or just having come from a community college. And then you can see here that just over 50 percent identified as first-generation students who knew that their parents did not enroll in post-secondary education, and similar to [inaudible] 62 percent of service members as opposed to 42 percent of civilians identify as first generation [inaudible] a little bit lower [inaudible] predominance of service members who identify as first generation.

back to top

>> So a number of the survey items, yeah, survey items, focused on the utilization of satisfaction with services that are provided to veterans, to the veteran center [inaudible] the veteran center. In addition, there are some questions about the [inaudible] services to their success during the moving through phase of their education experience, and so this is just an overall listing of the 14 different services, center services that we have [inaudible] later on when you see survey results, you'll see [inaudible] right from the top three, right from the bottom three, which affected things like satisfaction, utilization, or attribution or success.

>> So this slide shows you a quick snapshot of the most and the frequently used services. The most frequently used [inaudible] 67.6 percent, benefits application [inaudible] at 63.5 percent, [inaudible] 38.8 percent, and [inaudible] at 32.4 percent. And [inaudible] services, that makes a lot of sense [inaudible] is pretty essential to students as they're looking through [inaudible] so that [inaudible] a lot of students. Benefits application, of course, [inaudible] students the GI bill is how a lot of our student veterans are able to attend college, so it makes sense that use the veteran center for help with those benefits and for [inaudible] this benefit. [Inaudible] by all of our military affiliated students [inaudible] mention that they [inaudible] and then be [inaudible]. And as for the frequently used services, this will come up again a little bit later, but I wanted to mention here that the two most frequently cited reasons for not using services were I didn't need to use it or I didn't know about it. So we'll talk a little more later about what exactly that means, but it's important to note that some of the services [inaudible] some of the others [inaudible] seniors, the expected services, and some of these other services like the [inaudible]. Newer services means services that [inaudible] all of our students.

>> Another thing we did with the assessment student [inaudible] satisfaction, and these are current students, satisfaction with the different services. Now if somebody didn't use those services, they were dropped out, they didn't drag the average down if they didn't [inaudible] who used the service and then from who indicated the satisfaction rating with the different services. So all 14 of them are listed there. The way to read this is to use the five-point Leikert [phonetic] scale. One is at the far left, five is at the far right over here, and one was very dissatisfied and conservative [inaudible], you know, very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, [inaudible] satisfied, very satisfied. And so everything has ratings kind of I would say like 3.5 or higher going up to, you know, 4.3, 4.4. So one thing to sort of take away from this is generally for people who responded, they indicate fairly high levels of satisfaction with the different, with all of the services. That said, you know, our distinction between sort of the highest and lowest services that we were most satisfied with things like benefits of [inaudible] and newsletters, which you can draw [inaudible] utilization and have these previous [inaudible] utilize services. Areas where the levels of satisfaction were lower but still generally fairly high, it's kind of a [inaudible] way to say it, but it's kind of true, were things like the veteran's alumni organization transition course [inaudible].

>> So [inaudible] question I wanted to ask students about some of their perceptions about student success, but I wanted to make sure that they were all using a definition of student success, so this is a definition that we practiced, which is achievement or progress toward achievement [inaudible] goals, acquisition of desired knowledge, skills and [inaudible], and satisfaction with your overall experience [inaudible]. So this chart here shows the contribution success [inaudible] similar to [inaudible] on a scale of one to five why [inaudible] strongly disagree and five means strongly agree. We ask students to respond to the idea that this service has contributed to my success as a student. So benefits was the highest here, and that's 4.26, which makes them, since that's how a lot of the students are, you know, attending school, and [inaudible] is under that at 3.97, and then you can see here, a lot of the services are kind of clustered between about 3.4 and 3.5 [inaudible] here and then the lower scores here were the veterans alumni organization at 3.3 and social media at 3.3 as well.

Something important to note as Mark mentioned on the last slide is that, you know, that score of 3 is a relatively neutral score. It's not a negative score by any means. And most of the scores tend to be just a little bit above 3, so we like to think that, you know, they're tending to go just a little bit above neutral. And then now I want to talk a little bit about some [inaudible] and [inaudible]. So this is identified as veteran or retired military [inaudible] opportunity to participate in the interview, and 54 students indicated that they are interested in participating, and I really wish I could have interviewed all 54, but since I didn't have the time, I randomly selected six students, and I included data from five of those students in the interview. The one student who didn't make it into the [inaudible] study was an alum who graduated back in 2008, and so that was before almost all of these services were widely available, [inaudible] and so she had some really great thoughts about how [inaudible] services could have contributed to her experience but since she didn't actually get to experience them, we decided to not include her in the final study.

So we were able to get a mix of males and females, a mix of classrooms with one graduate student and one aluminum who participated, a mix of [inaudible] across the colleges, and then a few different branches of service as well. So we really got a better perspective from the students. And [inaudible] questions focused on three major sections of their experience, their time in the military prior to college, their transition from the military to college, and then primarily their experience as a student on campus, since that was really the focus of the study. So the questions that we used that focused on [inaudible] experiences were things like the programs and services that have supported them, their definition of student success, what kinds of interactions they had had, either positive or negative, the faculty, the classmates, their experience in the classroom and on campus generally [inaudible] faculty in supporting student veterans [inaudible] civilian students some interaction with student veterans and then their definition of what a veteran from the school meant to them. So all those questions really focused on that middle piece, their campus experience. So as for the actual interview process, and these were audio recorded and then transcribed by me. I assigned student names to the students so the names are not the same here [inaudible] and I ended up with about 48 pages of typed transcript to go through.

back to top

So another point [inaudible] to kind of grab those main [inaudible] so the first phase going line by line identifying [inaudible] and then those were eventually carried down [inaudible] which you can see here, military experience, transition from military to college, campus experiences, student success, academic experiences, veteran [inaudible] campuses, and credits in military. And I wanted to talk [inaudible] about some of the things that popped up here when I was talking with the students about their campus experiences, and a lot of them talked about their experiences with the veterans' center and how assistance from the center had been really critical to their success as students and how helpful the staff had been and things like that. And I also talked a lot about [inaudible] about interactions with faculty and support from their peers as things that helped them [inaudible]. And when they talked about student success, they [inaudible] more academic focus. In student affairs [inaudible] student success as being sort of a more well-rounded experience and not just experiences in the classroom but experiences outside the classroom, you know, with friends, with classmates, with organizations and offices on campus and things like that, but the student veterans that I spoke with tend to lean more toward the academic side, which is what a lot of the [inaudible] as well, but they tend to really focus kind of on that [inaudible].

But there were a few students who talked a little bit about some of the personal enrichment as an indicator of success for them. So one of the students [inaudible] we talked he's [inaudible] the military bubble, and he talked about wanting to get a little bit more reintegrated into civilian life, wanting to make sure that she wasn't just hanging with her fellow student veterans, so that she was interacting with civilian students as well, that she was really getting a sense of campus life and campus experiences and things like that [inaudible] more rigid schedule that she had kept in the military, and, you know, this idea, that expectations [inaudible] and things like that. And then we also talked a lot about, you know, this idea [inaudible] campus and just [inaudible] of support and not just from the programs that were offered at the veteran center but support from faculty and staff, feeling like, you know, their military service was valued and feeling like they were, you know, receiving encouragement from everybody that they interacted [inaudible] with.

>> You know, and Tim said the veteran friendly campus where they also talk about student interactions, like the students [inaudible] the military.

>> Yeah. It was, you know, sort of a combination of having programs and services that were available to student veterans having kind of that peer support [inaudible] veterans were engaged in [inaudible] by quite a few things [inaudible] camaraderie with fellow service members, you know, while they're still on campus. And they also talked about just sort of the general feeling they got on campus, that [inaudible] it was sort of [inaudible] that some of them also mentioned, you know, not feeling like, or maybe faculty [inaudible] classmates that, you know, their military service was a bad thing, but sometimes, you know, [inaudible] military service and things can differ, but they talked about, you know, not having experience and hostility or anything like that from like these other classmates and faculty members and that kind of indicated [inaudible] for them [inaudible]. So after the survey [inaudible] we looked back to our original research question about what type of support services we thought were necessary [inaudible] ensure the success of student veterans on campus.

So we wanted to make sure that the services that we cited as necessary received high marks in the utilization, satisfaction, and contribution to success, and then we also supplemented this data with responses to getting that, you know, mixed methods data in there. So the first services is of course that admissions outreach [inaudible]. And even though that's not so much part of that middle piece, it's more part of the moving through process. If they're not admitted to the university, we can't talk about their success at all. So it's important that, you know, the first time they interact with someone on campus, you know, they have a positive experience, and that way they're able to access and enroll in the institution. So, we consider that pretty critical. Benefits application and certification is of course also critical. A lot of the students that I spoke with and a lot of the students on the survey mentioned that they wouldn't be here without the GI bill, they wouldn't be here without that financial support, and I remember a quote from one of our interview students where he said, you know, that I wouldn't be here without it. This is the one thing that made it possible for me to go back to school.

And so having that, having [inaudible] making sure that the benefits are being processed, making sure that the students know what they need to do [inaudible] study, keep those benefits coming is really important. Programs that connect students with each other is also something that came from both the survey and interview data, and it was really this concept of peer support and camaraderie of being able to interact with fellow student veterans, you know, just knowing that they had friend to go to, you know, friends who had experienced the same things that they had and being able to ask, you know, have you, what professor did you have for this class, or hey I don't know where this building on campus is, can you show me? And things like that. And the students, again, just really talked about that, that sense of camaraderie with their fellow veterans, we talked about was really important. And then academic support. This is also really critical, and that means a couple of different things.

We talked a little bit earlier about the support from the faculty, making sure that students feel like the faculty was supportive, that they're there to guide them, and [inaudible] one of my students talked about how he thought his favorite faculty members really provided him with good challenges, the challenges they thought they could handle. [Inaudible] some of the more negative experiences [inaudible] faculty maybe weren't as [inaudible], they didn't have consistent office hours, who challenged them a little too much and didn't provide enough support. So there's that kind of academic support and interaction to faculty, but there's also the academic support in the sense of getting proper academic advising and things like that, and that's really what came up in the open-ended questions on the survey data was that students really relied on academic advising as one of the other services [inaudible] make sure that they were successful. So in terms of the program that needs improvement, one of the things that we looked at, one of the things that we looked at to answer that question was about, you know, the utilization and the satisfaction [inaudible] that we mentioned earlier had relatively low utilization rate.

back to top

And I mentioned the two most cited reasons for not using [inaudible] were I didn't need to use it or I didn't know about it. So the satisfaction scores among the students who had used those programs were still relatively high, so that got me thinking maybe it's not necessarily the service that needs to be improved, it might need to be the outreach that needs to be improved or the marketing, making sure that you know exactly what all of these services are, making sure that they know when they're available, where they're available so that those [inaudible] that much about them could consider using them to add to their experience. And then as far as suggestions for community services, a dedicated academic advisor was something that came up essentially just a minute ago on the open-ended questions on the survey. That was the number one [inaudible] thing. [Inaudible] veterans came up as well, and some of the folks [inaudible] the survey said that the veterans [inaudible] a little bit of a boy's club. [Inaudible] that there were services [inaudible] to support them. So that is one of what we considered the subpopulations between the veterans would be [inaudible] so thinking about more tailored support options for those students.

Connecting faculty from [inaudible]. As been mentioned previously, students really valued their interactions with faculty, especially the positive ones, and we're very fortunate on campus to have a great program called military ally, which is the cultural [inaudible] program to connect faculty to the military community, help them understand what the military community on campus is all about. They get the opportunity to actually interact with some of the students and think about some key studies about how they might interact with the students, and so that's really, that's really valuable for us [inaudible] but of course not all institutions have that. So this is about implementing that at other institutions, also thinking about other ways that faculty and students can connect outside the classroom. And then [inaudible] both in the [inaudible] and in the survey data. Again, just talking about that camaraderie, that opportunity to be able to connect with other students [inaudible] support and success.

>> So a quick question, so [inaudible] dedicated academic advisor, what does that mean [inaudible]?

>> Well, I think that what the idea was to have a general academic advisor who works in the veteran center so they don't have to go to the veterans' center, then off to the academic advising. It would make the veteran center a little bit more of a one-stop shop [inaudible] benefits and [inaudible] and all of the other services [inaudible] campus [inaudible] more representative, you know, working in the veteran center, and so a lot of them liked the idea of having an academic advisor [inaudible] in the center so they didn't have to go to two separate offices [inaudible]. Presents challenges in terms of staffing and funding and office space and things like that, but it was, because academic advising was the, kind of the upside service to a service that was not [inaudible] veteran center but was offered on campus that was really important to them. I thought it was important to note that that was something that they requested pretty frequently.

>> Yeah, because I was thinking, you know, was that kind of the focus of career services in some way [inaudible] you know, all the different programs have their own staff who can advise students on their academic, you know, course. I mean I was kind of just wondering how accounting conceptualized that or--you know, when I first saw this I kind of thought well don't the veteran's center kind of do that already in a sense, but because they're saying not [inaudible].

>> Yeah, I mean a little bit in terms of [inaudible] you know, when they get benefits verified, they have to come with their major plan, and they have to make sure that the courses, in order to get the GI bill benefits verified, they have to make sure that the courses that they're taking align with their plan of study. And so, you know, the veteran center can kind of check off and make sure that their statements, you know, align with their plan of study, but [inaudible] the benefits aren't considered academic advisor, so, you know, they can't provide [inaudible] oh I want to change my major, what should I do? Or, I don't know which elective course to take, which one should I take, you know, which one is the best, that kind of thing. So I think it's more on that side of advising as opposed to just saying yeah those courses align with your major.

>> Did you?

>> Um-hum.

>> Go ahead.

>> Yeah, I just wanted to comment on that so you know that I [inaudible] academic advisor in the [inaudible] office and sometimes in the general counseling office, and I think it is a huge benefit to the veterans when they have a dedicated academic advisor because there's a lot of rules about the GI bill and [inaudible] that you need to know when you're advising a student about rounding up and finishing up their semester, and you have to solidify their classes. So it really helps connect the veteran with their academic plan and the benefits. At city college they have now, this semester, put one of the general counsel 50 percent time in the veteran office. They had several counselors that were kind of labeled as veteran counselors because they were trained, but veterans could walk in and do drop in with anybody, and depending on who they got--

>> Right.

back to top

>> [Inaudible] the value for the amount of accurate information that they received. I get a lot of the veterans in the DFCS office, and I've referred a lot of veterans, you know, to myself through the DFCS office that I see in general counseling.

>> Yeah.

>> So I think it really is important and especially to know the difference between because some of them are on chapter 31, so rehab, which is different than 33, and it really is important for them to have somebody that knows all of them.

>> Yeah.

>> And then the military ally training, they are doing it now for community college. We've gone through it. I went through it. And then they came to our campus at city, so all of our DFCS counselors went through it. So I think that's really important too because even though I worked at the VA for three years and, I know, [inaudible] veterans, I still learned a lot of good information in that training. So that's a great training that they offered here.

>> That's great. That's really good feedback.

>> [Inaudible] yeah, it's really--

>> Yeah.

>> Yeah.

>> And then the guy from Almont or--

[ Inaudible Comments ]

Yeah that's right.

>> Um-hum. Yeah.

>> [Inaudible] great training.

>> Yeah.

>> And you get a little, you know, [inaudible] but you also get a sticker to put on your window or your desk so the veterans can visually recognize, and they look for that.

>> Yeah.

>> So I think those are two really good suggestions.

>> Yeah, thank you. That's really good feedback. So in terms of kind of the summary of our findings, the veteran center obviously [inaudible] it has a wide variety of programs and services to support it's students. This [inaudible] and benefits that we mentioned earlier, which was really [inaudible] utilization and satisfaction and contribution to success. And the fact is really committing to the success of these students and one of the ways [inaudible] to that is that they are now putting these findings to work and that's really all you can hope for as a researcher [inaudible] assessment is that, you know, your client or your institution that you're working with is willing to take your data and do something with it. It's really cool to [inaudible] in action and [inaudible] all the work and all the time and effort that you spent working on it and knowing that they're really interested in it and committed to doing something with it. So that's really positive. So by taking some of this information and research [inaudible] improve outreach and marketing for some of the programs, possibly considering implementing the program.

One good example of that is the transition point. So we got a lot of feedback from students who said that they didn't need the transition course because they didn't think it was for them. They thought, well, I've already transitioned out of the military and, you know, maybe I've gone to community college for a couple of years, now I'm coming here to SCSU. Why do I need transition? I don't need a course to come out of transition, right. But the transitional course was really designed to introduce students to SCSU as an institution and really designed to show them all the programs and services that available. We have introduced them to staff members from different departments, faculty members, and things like that, so they're considering changing the name from the transition course to something like introduction to SCSU. The students can really get a sense of what the course was meant to be about and who the students [inaudible] thought, oh, maybe this, you know, this isn't for me.

You know, my recent [inaudible] a little bit more about what it's about. And another good example of that is the women veteran success program. So that program was starting to be implemented before these findings were given to the staff, but the data from this study really kind of fueled their need for that program, hearing some of the stories from the students and even the data from the survey that really solidified the need for that program. So our first women's veterans' forum was held this past fall here on campus and was really successful. We had about 450 women who attended from all across [inaudible], and so it was really great to see that program in action and see that they're thinking about other ways to support the women veteran population on campus and just [inaudible] in general. And then, and also working with them to develop a climate survey to distribute hopefully every couple of years just to get a sense of the population and make sure that the programs and services that they have are still doing well, you know, everything is still running smoothly [inaudible] how does their experience feel like, you know, the veteran [inaudible] program to really contribute to their success and things like that.

And also, you know, solicit ideas for new programs, for new workshops and things like that, just to make sure that the students [inaudible] the support they need. So what we need to keep in mind here is that the findings [inaudible] can't necessarily be generalized to all institutions [inaudible] military students and student veterans, but it's important to note that, you know, they focus really well on these critical services to ensure they provided particularly in the area of benefit really good in processing and certification in that area of students who are really satisfied there. And then also giving the students an opportunity to connect with each other and to connect with faculty members was really important to students here, so thinking about those things at other institutions that are looking to support these things. And then in terms of future research, something that I would really like to see is concurrent assessments at multiple institutions just to get a sense of what some of the common themes are [inaudible] veterans.

back to top

So, you know, here at SCSU we obviously have a really robust program but not all institutions have that, so thinking about what common themes emerge from the population at institutions in various sizes and styles and things like that. I also think it's important to separate alumni from current students. We thought it would be a little more seamless than it was, and it presented a couple of challenges in wording some of the questions and then also looking to data, thinking, well some alumni may not have had access to this service because we don't when they graduated, so it's hard to say, you know, if they were satisfied with something or not, if they weren't sure if they used it, so things like that, you know, maybe having a separate survey for alumni or like an exit survey for alumni if they were [inaudible] experience, you know, upon graduation, things that were really helpful to them and, you know, suggestions that they might have. I'd also like to see some more research done on those new programs that we mentioned, especially the faculty connection, things that are outside of something like a military [inaudible] program, just ideas for faculty to connect with these students outside the classroom.

I think that could be really valuable, especially with the student veteran focus on academics and on really valuing the connections with faculty. Peer mentoring as well, that pops up [inaudible] data pretty frequently, so just getting a sense of what works best for these students, that they want a more formalized program or [inaudible] to gather is really all they need. And then of course, women veterans, which is kind of an emerging topic in the area, so I'm looking forward to seeing that explored a little bit more. And then kind of with that, also [inaudible] research to include the entire military connected population. So for the study, since we had, you know, some time limitations, we really only focused on student veterans, but I'd also like to see more research that's inclusive of the entire community, especially dependents and children. Our active duty members [inaudible] because they have different needs than our student veterans but it's important to consider that as we work to build these inclusive military communities on campus. And that's it. [inaudible] Questions?

>> Questions?

>> So one [inaudible] included the alumni was [inaudible] confusing.

>> Okay.

>> Just trying to like sort out that [inaudible].

>> Okay [inaudible].

>> In my mind. So a few more minutes.

>> Okay. [inaudible] Yeah, we did, we did find some challenges with including alumni. We wanted to get--

>> But is there a way to separate that [inaudible].

>> Yeah.

>> Yeah, I mean I think that would be--

>> Yeah, [inaudible].

>> Do you [inaudible] about how long ago there were alumni? Like you said [inaudible] included.

>> Yeah.

>> She wasn't, you know, [inaudible] have access to that.

>> No, that was one of my questions that of course we thought of afterwards, thinking, oh, I should have asked when they graduated because every graduate last year they had access to all of these services. If they graduated five years ago, they had access to about half of these services.

>> Right.

>> And years ago none of these services, and so I think in the future if we weren't [inaudible] alumni as well, it's important to know when they graduated so we have a sense of what they had access to.

>> And one other comment about the transition course, when they get out, you know, they get a ton of transition information, and it's just, you know, they're overwhelmed with it. And so I think when they hear the word transition course that they're like, I've already done that, but it doesn't mean that they don't continue to have a need for it.

>> Right.

back to top

>> Because even though it was presented to them when they got out, it doesn't necessarily mean that they got it. So some of the workshops that we do at [inaudible] college success field, things like that. You know, maybe that's the type of thing college success skills for veterans or university success skills for veterans.

>> Right, yeah, I like that, I like that wording a lot.

>> Yeah, because that's kind of information that they need to be success here at San Diego state--

>> Yeah.

>> Knowing how to jump through all those hoops and stay on top of their processing, you know, their graduation and their exams, you know, the English and the math all of that.

>> Yeah.

>> Like maybe a bit [inaudible] something like that, that would give them some incentive to go.

>> Yeah, I like that a lot. You know, yeah, because in my research I found that the task force was a transition assistance [inaudible]. They're different for every branch, and some of the students that [inaudible] some of them didn't. Some of them said, oh, it was a day long, some said it was a week long. And information is, you know, they said it was like drinking a water from a fire hydrant. I mean, if you have so much information on the line, it's so hard to process, you know, because you're talking about, you know, not just things like separation paperwork and things like medical benefits and everything, but, oh, you might want to go to school. You may need to interview for a job, you know, you can't cover all of that in a week. It's impossible.

>> Right. And depending on where they're at, like physically, emotionally, and mentally, they're, you know, if they're being med boarded out, they're focused on their physical or they're trying to get their disability rating. I mean and that's usually the focus when they get out, is to get their disability rating and then, and go to school while doing that. I mean those are two focuses, so it's hard for them to absorb all that other information until they're ready

>> Um-hum.

>> So I meant to ask you about this before you started, you know, what are your plans in terms of publication and you mentioned [inaudible] couple weeks.

>> Yeah.

>> Can you kind of talk about like what audience you're trying to reach when you think about a journal. Are thinking about a particular type of journal, a particular audience, you want them to be aware of this kind of research.

>> Yeah, so [inaudible] military connected to the symposium in New Orleans, so [inaudible] and it's [inaudible] military connected students and programs, and so I think that I can [inaudible]. It was really great just to be surrounded by so many people who are interested in supporting this population of students. And one of the comments last year was that they were really looking for more presentations that were research based and research focused, and so that was something when they did the call for program [inaudible] looking for, you know, research, and Mark and I said we have that. You know, so that was a really cool opportunity, and we submitted and we were [inaudible] really exciting. And so definitely I think at least for me as, you know, a future student, [inaudible] getting this information out into the student [inaudible] this is important because not all those students were military students necessarily [inaudible] practitioners. And it depends on the university and it depends on, you know, which department they fall under.

So, for example, here, at SCSU veteran services falls under academic affairs and enrollment services. So they may not necessarily consider themselves student affairs practitioners, but, you know, when you frame as, you know, the work that all of you are doing is, you know, what makes our students successful and what, you know, keeps our students here, and [inaudible] that's pretty cool [inaudible] you know, so it's not necessarily just about, you know, processing benefits [inaudible] it's really about enhancing, you know, and supporting the successes of these students. So I think kind of framing working with these students as, you know, a student affairs thing is really cool and something that not all folks consider.

>> Just kind generally when you go to the student affairs here.

>> I think so [inaudible].

back to top

>> How many manuscripts do you think you can get from [inaudible]? Because you have a lot [inaudible].

>> That's a Mark question [inaudible].

>> [Inaudible] you may not be happy to hear this, right, so--to me it seems kind of like I think the success picture paints us a holistic picture, but it may be one, you know--

[ Inaudible Comment ]

To sort of try to address it in that kind of fashion.

[ Inaudible Comment ]

Yeah, yeah there may be a way that we could parcel it out, you know, but I'd like, you know, I'd like the way that you can kind of take it in [inaudible] like that. Just, I guess, bring something on you. I don't know where it's going to go, but [inaudible] I think [inaudible] I've got something scheduled at another time, but one of the things you might think about doing is approaching the Center for Teaching and Learning at SBSU [inaudible] might be another way to educate, people who typically come to that are mostly faculty and occasionally staff show up. It's very [inaudible] mostly faculty that show up [inaudible] so there might be, I think, some stuff in here that would be particularly applicable to them, and the one thing I would say [inaudible] if we're going to approach that, I think we maybe ought to think about including Todd, you know--

>> Yeah.

>> In that, giving him an opportunity to [inaudible] and Todd was really involved in all [inaudible].

>> Yeah, it was great.

>> Yeah, I think, so that might be something for us to consider too is to try to do a little bit more. Now the campus has already got a pretty good veteran center. I'm just going to speak for the, I mean it's kind of been on a new faculty track for four years, and nobody has really talked to us about veterans, I mean, anyway, and so that might be an opportunity, even though there is a presence on campus, an identity on campus, unless you're [inaudible] faculty, and that's typically because [inaudible]. So that might be another way to--

>> Right. I know. I like that especially since, you know, that they are really suggesting [inaudible] for making sure that the faculty are connected [inaudible] population and I presented this kind of a brief, you know, 10-minute version of this, if you can imagine it, at the [inaudible] college meeting last spring so that a lot of folks on campus from all talks, you know, admissions, student [inaudible] services, career services, our ROTC commanders, and of course our veteran center staff, our alumni center staff, and it was just really, it was just really cool to see that, that campus-wide investment in this population, and they really appreciated that, you know, [inaudible] making sure that, you know, the things that they're doing for our students are the things that our students want them to be doing. So I think getting [inaudible] on campus as possible is really important.

[ Inaudible Comment ]

>> Do you have any thoughts about [inaudible] that career services was [inaudible].

>> Yeah, yeah.

>> [Inaudible] yeah.

>> So that was the, so the [inaudible] services for about a year or so, the veteran center had a dedicated career and employment services special instruction [inaudible] half time in the veteran center and then half time in career services. And so because this position was only here for such a short time, not a lot of students knew about it or utilized it, and so I think now [inaudible] this position was a donor-funded position, and so it wasn't, you know, available for a longer period of time. So now they're working with career services to determine what that partnership looks like looking forward, but no [inaudible] really, really interested in [inaudible] really invested in this and wanted to make sure that the partnership [inaudible] really strong. So we followed that. We were making sure that, you know, these students, you know, were getting placed in internships and jobs and things like that.

>> [Inaudible] struggle with that transition from school to work and understanding how to change their military experience into a language that transitions into [inaudible]. They assume--

>> Right.

>> That every employer out there is going to want them because they were in the military. They don't understand that this [inaudible] employers--

>> Yeah, it's being able to take those skills that they have form the military and kind of translate it into, you know, [inaudible] language.

back to top

[ Inaudible Comment ]

Yeah, very cool.

>> They're so focused on school when they're here, they don't even think about [inaudible].

>> Kind of that next step.

>> Yeah.

>> Yeah.

>> Which is like many students.

>> Oh yeah, absolutely.

[ Inaudible Comments ]

>> I also see a big disconnect between the veterans and the DFCS services. Like they're so many veterans on campus that don't access DFCS services that would benefit from it. I'm not sure why that disconnect is going on, other than when they say service connected it's one thing, but when they say disability services, they envision the wheelchairs and, you know, amputees, and they have other disabilities, and they're like, no, that's not me.

>> Right.

>> So it's really, I think, something else that needs to be [inaudible] trying to make us more of a connection. I don't know about [inaudible] issue, but [inaudible] college. We're struggling trying to make a liaison with that office, the veteran office, [inaudible] getting our counselor. We have one veteran counselor that's trying to make a connection over there and, you know, join in on their different meetings and stuff, and it's been a struggle.

>> Yeah, it is.

>> It's a struggle.

>> And I think it's not just limited to student veterans. I think students in general, we see that a lot in student affairs, sort of the stigma surrounding that office, and I think for veterans especially it's, informally it's maybe hard to admit that that's a service that they could use where they don't, you know, they don't [inaudible].

>> They [inaudible] know about the services--

>> Or what they are--

>> Yeah.

>> Or can do. Yeah, it's that outreach thing. Yeah.

>> Thanks you guys!

>> Thank you. Thank you for being here.

>> Yeah, good study.

>> Thank you.

back to top