June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Military and Veterans
National studies indicate roughly half of the military veterans that start higher education pursuits using their earned GI Bill benefits will leave school without earning a degree. Veteran student graduation and retention rates in the College of Engineering & IT at Georgia Southern University are compared with national and statewide rates to support the need for a more effective approach to improving the number of veterans who will see a positive return on their earned benefits. The pedagogical concepts supporting the structure and implementation of a mentorship program designed to improve the retention and graduation rates of military veterans pursuing STEM are presented. Social support theory principles defining the structure of the mentorship effort which utilizes military veteran volunteers already serving on the college or university faculty and staff are presented and discussed. The Stress and Coping, Social Constructionist and Relationship perspectives of social support theory are evaluated for their ability to identify the principle issues producing the stress felt by the students and mitigate their impact. Cohen’s Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is used to measure perceived stress in the mentorship program and identify students in a state of high stress who may require intervention. Data collected from intake and exit surveys, Cohen’s PSS and personal interviews is presented and discussed.
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