Collaborative Research Between Student Veterans and Faculty in Higher Education
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillNone
Jocelyn Chua is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Lacy Jo Evans is a graduate of the Peace, War, and Defense Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Executive Director of the United States Veterans Corps PNW.
A growing phenomenon of community writing groups, oral history projects, and college writing curricula with and for military veterans is predicated on the idea that writing and storytelling can have transformative potential. In this article, we extend these efforts in new directions by advocating for collaborative research between student veterans and academic faculty on college and university campuses. A civilian anthropologist faculty member and a then-undergraduate student and veteran of the US Marine Corps, the co-authors draw on our experiences working together on a 6-month exploratory ethnographic research project to detail the process and consider its implications, both scholarly and personal. We offer observations and reflections of the amplifying possibilities that may open up when faculty researchers share control over the research agenda, process, and actions with student veteran researchers. While the personal significance of collaboration for student veteran researchers may be varied and multiple – whether scholarly, social, political, therapeutic, or otherwise – these collaborations also have broader implications: namely, the inclusion of traditionally underrepresented military veterans in academic knowledge production about their experiences, priorities, and concerns. Knowledge produced may in turn have wider relevance to government agencies, policy planners, scholars, and educational and clinical practitioners, while also serving to proliferate and diversify representations of veteran experiences and voices within and beyond the academy.