Thanks for adding this thread, Graham. Military-connected students are an underrepresented segment of higher education who may face unique challenges in the pursuit of a post-military degree, program, or certification. I look forward to exchanging ideas. Moreover, if there are institutions that are looking to explore this phenomenon and develop a specially tailored military-connected student support framework, I encourage them to reach out to me.
Thanks for opening this up, at YSJU we’re looking closely at this as I have been made aware of and supported a number of veteran students with their studies. Thanks Mike for your guidance much appreciated
Military-connected students face identity challenges when moving into higher education where they may experience amplified social isolation as a result of their, simultaneous, mature-student status. Furthermore, the heterogeneity of this population may contribute to additional integration challenges. While higher education is an individual pursuit of a goal, the social aspect of campus-life significantly contributes to student well-being. I wonder how institutions are addressing this aspect of military-connected student support?
This is a good point Darryl. Moreover, in the current COVID climate, this might be a huge concern for the wider student body in any HE (or pan-educational) environment, and particularly the veterans/reservist community who are, or were, enculturated into a highly socialised form of life and work.
The current situation will have fast-forwarded the evolving ‘flipped classroom’ move (there must be swathes of research on this already, if not in development), so this has to be a focus.
Yesterday, Graham started a social media discussion on Veteran ID cards and the connection they form with those who left service. We know that cross-cultural challenges exist when moving from the service, and we know that those moving to higher education may feel more isolated. When investigating the development of a military/uniform-connected campus consider the idea of empowering military-connected students to form their own on-campus club/association. A shift in identify is challenging and having access to this type of peer support may lead to more positive outcomes and a better learning experience.
My experience (and research more broadly) would lead me to agree with you Darryl. Based on experience and research, peer support in terms of enhancing the educational experience can be crucial (interesting given the sudden C19-linked distance learning explosion). Add in that personal connection, support and camaraderie etc is a pivotal aspect of military life and work, then it would seem that the two combined must be considered as a potent success and support factor in the educational sphere.
Mike Almond has also made the point about using campuses as sites for veterans to meet, irrespective of whether they are studying at the host institution.