Date of Award

12-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Higher Education Administration

Major Professor

Patrick Biddix

Committee Members

Karen Boyd, Melinda Gibbons, Terry Ishitani

Abstract

A theoretical perspective was used to suggest the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) program and a welcoming campus environment for student veterans are connected. The process, person, context, time/timing (PPCT) model of human ecology theory was used to explore the theoretical perspective through a student veteran lens. The researcher developed a questionnaire and incorporated survey research in a concurrent transformative mixed methods design to collect both quantitative and qualitative data from student veterans at a typical SOC program institution. The site selected for this study was a public land grant research institution where there was a sizable population of student veterans and where SOC program provisions were predetermined to meet or exceed SOC program standards of service to student veterans. Evidence drawn from the separate analysis of quantitative data and qualitative data was integrated, analyzed for convergence, and then compared for consistency with a theoretical perspective. This study offered a convergence of evidence to suggest there is a lack of SOC program awareness among student veterans. However, the study also offered evidence to suggest student veterans relate SOC program provisions to a welcoming campus environment even if they don’t recognize the provisions to be part of institutional efforts to operationalize SOC program principles and criteria. Finally, findings suggest student veterans relate three institutional conditions to a welcoming campus environment: having staff members who are both supportive of veterans and conscious of veterans’ issues in higher education; having SOC program related information available for student veterans; and, having counselors, advisors, faculty, and administrators who are sensitive to veteran perspectives of veterans’ issues in higher education.

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