Understanding Veteran Students – Part I

Roger Thompson’s informative part I of an exploration of the intersection of experiences between military veterans in college and writing faculty/classrooms. Among his many insightful points: “Many of the symptoms of these injuries manifest ways that are hard to distinguish from other issues. Symptoms such as slow cognitive processing, difficulty organizing time, difficulty accessing resources, difficulty controlling emotions, and difficulty enacting solutions can be hard to identify, even for the sufferer. Many times, these are virtually invisible disabilities, but they are in fact disabilities. Our job is to recognize that they are, in fact, real injuries—as real as a missing limb—and to afford accommodations as needed.”

RhetComp @ Stony Brook

Roger Thompson

As writing instructors, we see a much wider swath of the student population than other faculty.  And, as writing instructors, we are likely confronted with personal histories in ways that faculty in other disciplines encounter.  Those ideas were at the heart of much of the research Alexis Hart (faculty at Allegheny College and a Navy veteran) and I have conducted in recent years.  I wanted to share some of our findings as a way to encourage our intellectual engagement with the diverse student population here.  That type of engagement often leads to concrete changes in how we do our work and, often, compelling dialogue in the classroom.  If you are interested in more detailed analysis and description of our work, please visit our CCCC White Paper site.

Some Assumptions that Underpin Our Research

1. Writing classes are different than many classes and because of standard practices like…

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