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Teaching Veterans Studies: Bridging the Gap Between U.S. Civilians and Veterans through the College Classroom

Author:

Eric Hodges

University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, US
About Eric

Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

Assistant Professor

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Abstract

This paper discusses the development and instruction of an undergraduate class focused on increasing understanding of military veterans in American society. Since the institution of the all-volunteer force in 1974, the number of U.S. citizens with military service has been steadily decreasing. This reduction in military experience has led to a lack of understanding between American civilians and veterans. The literature suggests that many reintegration challenges faced by veterans (employment, health, education) are exacerbated by this knowledge gap. The intent of the course was to educate undergraduate students, mostly civilian, on what it is like to be a veteran in America, with the hopes that increasing awareness would aid veterans in their transition. Given that goal, the course also contained a significant service-learning component. Service-learning, when well-executed, has been found to impact learners in ways other forms of teaching may not. Relevant to the outcomes of this course, the pedagogy has been found to improve cultural competence (Einfield and Collins, 2008) and lead to stereotype reduction (Conner, 2010). In addition to improving learning outcomes, service-learning also provides a tangible benefit to the community. In this paper, I will discuss considerations for designing college classes focused on military veterans and service-learning projects that involve veterans.

How to Cite: Hodges, E., 2018. Teaching Veterans Studies: Bridging the Gap Between U.S. Civilians and Veterans through the College Classroom. Journal of Veterans Studies, 3(1), pp.89–105. DOI: http://doi.org/10.21061/jvs.7
Published on 07 Apr 2018.

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