Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy

Academic Discipline

Community Psychology

First Advisor

Brad Olson

Second Advisor

Tiffeny Jimenez

Third Advisor

Suzette Fromm-Reed



This set of mixed-method studies evaluated factors impacting student veterans at a Midwestern community college, particularly their sense of community and how their perceptions and experiences relate to academic success. Research on student veterans indicates that many face challenges beyond physical and psychological injury, including difficulties in acclimating to an academic culture and navigating bureaucratic processes. The quantitative and qualitative studies also examined the impact of the academic setting, social climate, supportive services that relate to student veteran perceptions of their sense of community and other academic processes. In the quantitative study, relationships were found between sense of community, membership, connectedness, and academic persistence. Regression analyses indicated that a sense of connectedness was the strongest predictor of academic persistence. In the participatory qualitative study, observations, individual interviews and focus groups included student veterans, administrators, faculty members, family, and other community stakeholders (i.e., employers that regularly hire veterans). The findings suggested that student support services, such as veteran-concentrated classes and mentoring, seem to have a more beneficial impact when they emphasize components that enhance a sense of community and sense of purpose.