SPL is collaborating with SU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science and Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) on a series of multi-method veterans research projects that are providing novel, critical data on attitudes toward the post-secondary education of former military personnel—particularly in STEM fields—in order to leverage veterans’ skill sets and to help them remain productive citizens.
Veterans Affairs Research Products
By Rosalinda Maury, IVMF; Corri Zoli, ISPL; and Danny Fay, FSU
Presentation to the Student Veterans of America National Conference 2019
By Rosalinda Maury, IVMF, & Corri Zoli, ISPL
Presentation to the 2018 NYS Advisory Council on Military Education Annual Conference
By COL Mike McFadden, ISPL/Army War College Report
Many scholars in the field of civilian and military relations focus on a gap between senior civilian and military leadership. In this paper, I will focus on that gap as it pertains to the American population and the disconnect that exists with the people who serve in our Armed Forces.
Three significant factors are contributing to this disconnect; representation of the population in uniform, social and cultural gaps, and politics in military service. Narrowing the patterns we recruit affects the geographic and economic composition of our military members, distinguishing them from their civilian counterparts.
From a cultural perspective, the norms of the military are often at odds with those of the younger generation, the very audience the military needs to target to maintain a viable force. Along with an unbalanced representation, the growing role of politics and the uniform has the potential to widen an already existing gap in the civil military relations in our nation. Closing the gap will require a reconsideration of the all-volunteer force, who and how we recruit, and how we are re-connecting our service members with society.
By Corri Zoli, Rosalinda Maury, & Daniel Fay
Developed with generous support from a Google Global Impact Award and in dialogue with our partners—the Student Veterans of America (SVA), the Posse Foundation, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)—this summary report uses an interdisciplinary, data-driven approach to understand how today’s Post-9/11 military servicemembers are faring in their transition processes, especially in higher education.
The report prioritizes an evidence-based approach through targeted surveys, interviews, and focus groups and centers the perspectives of recent servicemembers (active-duty, reserves, National Guard, veterans, and their families) in its analyses.
Research findings are based on multi-method studies of servicemembers in their multiple roles: as warfighters, civilians, students, professionals, employees, and family members, among others. Research results are designed to elevate the public, academic, and policy discourse on Post- 9/11 servicemembers, to inform recommendations to improve post-service transition, and to form the foundation for a second study on best strategies for servicemembers in higher education and civilian careers.
By LTC Patricia Hagen, ISPL/Army War College Report
During a time of dwindling resources and competing requirements, the future of our veterans’ care and benefits remains uncertain. It is our obligation as a nation to establish a strategy to ensure support for those who defend our freedom and protect our way of life. It is also our fiduciary responsibility to the American public to ensure this strategy is manageable given a fiscally constrained environment.
This paper discusses issues of supporting an All Volunteer Force and also will provide a brief overview of the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system’s current practices and trends in benefit claims. It then recommends possible courses of action with respect to military retirement and benefits reform as well as VA disability benefits. Ultimately, this paper advocates that a national policy must be implemented to benefit the military and our society as a whole.
Building Awareness of ETETE Careers, Pathways, & Academic Preparation for Service Members: Recommendations for Navigating Opportunities & Challenges (2013)
By Corri Zoli & Laura Steinberg (Prepared for the National Science Foundation and American Society for Engineering Education)
See also: NSF Workshop 2013: Transitioning Veterans to Engineering-Related Careers (National Science Foundation/American Society for Engineering Education)
From Battlefield to Classroom: Finding Barriers & Pathways to Engineering for US Servicemembers (2011)
By Laura J. Steinberg, Nick Armstrong , & Corri Zoli (Prepared for the National Science Foundation)
Service to Student Survey
With support from IVMF, a Google Global Impact Award, and the National Science Foundation, researchers at ISPL, IVMF, and Student Veterans of America (SVA) have designed and implemented a national research project to study factors that influence military veterans’ post-secondary educational success.
The research builds entirely new national datasets that prioritize servicemembers’ perspectives. This research also reviews and identifies the limits of national datasets on veterans housed at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, census.gov, National Center for Education Statistics, and the US Department of Defense. By developing its own national datasets, the research team has augmented these existing federal data with original multi-method research, including structured and open surveys, interviews, and campus visits.
The research is divided into two studies. Study One focuses on servicemembers’ post-service life, experiences, and challenges within post-secondary education, while Study Two garners academic leaders’ perspectives from 451 institutions, asking schools how they manage programs and services for their military students.
Among the research innovations embedded in their study of veterans’ post-service transitions, the research team has targeted a population that has never before been broadly surveyed about its educational experience, and it has created one of the largest datasets on veterans’ experiences in education and a comprehensive, up-to-date database of veteran-focused educational programs.
“This work will help us inform the veterans’ community, academia, and others about how to best support veterans working toward educational success,” says PI Corri Zoli. “Ultimately, we hope that our data will help us identify pathways for success and share institutional best practices with colleges and training programs.”
National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Projects
As the veterans population increases with the end of US campaigns in Afghanistan and elsewhere, work under ISPL’s NSF grants rely on several critical working assumptions:
- The post-9/11 GI Bill is an opportunity not only for veterans but for universities, engineering and STEM sectors, and the US as a whole.
- Women and men of the US armed forces are a national resource in technical capacity, training, and leadership, and they have the potential to form the backbone of future US technical innovation.
- The US armed forces represent an unprecedented demographic that promises a talented and diverse pipeline for higher education.
- Taxpayer investment in the GI Bill can transform the US economy, much like the original 1944 GI Bill, not only by helping to train the nation’s workforce but also by enhancing higher education infrastructure and maximizing long-term collaboration among government, defense sectors, and STEM fields.
NSF PROJECT 1: From Battlefield to Classroom—Designing Pathways to Engineering for American GIs
Award #0948147 EEC (Engineering Education)
ISPL has partnered with SU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science to empirically understand veterans’ higher educational aspirations, particularly in the science, technological, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
ISPL’s dataset is one of the only—and certainly one of the most robust—national datasets examining what active duty service members and separated veterans hope to do academically and in their careers after their service to the nation. One critical challenge of war is to resettle veterans of the armed forces into productive civilian roles and professions. Such an obligation repays soldiers for their service and significant sacrifice.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill—the benefits of which begin Aug. 1, 2009—offers the most comprehensive education benefits package since the original GI Bill of 1944, providing a range of opportunities and services for veterans and dependents. It is believed that many GIs will emerge from their military experiences with skill sets pitched toward technical fields and will even favor engineering education. The opportunity exists for this group to be instrumental in our nation’s now urgent need for future scientists and engineers. In joining these trends at this critical juncture in time, it is imperative that planning and implementation for the influx of GIs into academia hinge upon projections about GIs’ goals, aspirations, and likely behavior that are informed by a sound evidentiary base.
NSF PROJECT 2: Battlefield Perceptions of Engineering—An Institutional Response to Absent Pathways and Missing Engineering Students
Award #1037777 EEC (Engineering Education)
For this initiative, ISPL in partnership with the SU College of Engineering and Computer Science, has tried to understand the implications of its empirical data: for bringing together higher-educational institutions, veterans advocacy organizations, and public and private sector partners to gain traction on veterans’ needs; develop recommendations for supports and services at universities; and design higher-education customized programs for veterans, among other initiatives.
World War II veterans formed the backbone of an era in which the US became a technological powerhouse and global superpower. As Edward Humes, author of Over Here: How the G.I. Bill Transformed the American Dream, notes 14 Nobel Prize winners, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors, and 450,000 engineers got their start with GI Bill benefits. Through that process the US reaped many benefits, including the democratization of universities, conversion to a nation of homeowners, and the expansion of the middle class from 10% to 30%. These developments required two linked mechanisms: the historic 1944 GI Bill, which educated nearly 8 million veterans, and the availability of meaningful educational and professional pathways for students.
This project aims to boost the second mechanism by developing programs that establish and strengthen meaningful pathways to engineering at Syracuse University, with implications for other universities and STEM programs for underrepresented populations
- NSF Program Officer: Alan Cheville
- Primary Investigator: Laura Steinberg, SU College of Engineering and Computer Science
- Co-Investigator: Corri Zoli, ISPL
A National Veterans Strategy
SU’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) and ISPL have developed a policy report that details what the authors describe as a “historic opportunity” related to the potential for public and private sector collaboration in support of veterans and their families. The report—“A National Veterans Strategy: The Economic, Social and Security Imperative”—brings together academic research with contributions from a broad cross-section of public and private sector stakeholders, to develop a logical and researched case for the social, economic and security-based interests served by a whole-of-the-nation National Veterans Strategy.
- A National Veterans Strategy: The Economic, Social, & Security Imperative. (White Paper.)
- National Veterans Strategy Press Release
- “A Call for a National Strategy on Veterans.” Mike Haynie & Nicholas Armstrong. The New York Times (March 6, 2013). (Op-Ed.)
- “Veterans programs should be overseen by one federal entity, report says.” By Steve Vogel. Washington Post. Feb 18. 2013.
- “National Veterans Strategy is Security and Societal Priority.” By Laura Davis. KMI Attention! Feb. 21, 2013.
Veterans Affairs Partnerships
ISPL partners with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF)—a national center in higher education focused on the social, economic, education, and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service—to conduct and disseminate research relevant to veterans and their families.
ISPL Founding Director William C. Banks is a Distinguished Fellow of the IVMF and ISPL Deputy Director Robert B. Murrett is a Board Member.
ISPL students have an opportunity to work with the Veterans Legal Clinic at SU College of Law, working with real clients on such matters as assisting with VA claims, representing clients in VA claim appeals, and helping veterans in upgrading discharges.
The clinic was created by two ISPL alums: Syracuse Law alumni Tom Caruso, L’14 (a 2014 graduate of ISPL’s Curricular Program in National Security and Counterterrorism Law) and Josh Keefe, L’14 (a 2014 recipient of ISPL’s Certificate of Advanced Study in Security Studies).
The CNY Veterans Higher Education Regional Consortium is a collaboration among higher education institutions and regional stakeholders dedicated to supporting veterans. The goal of the Consortium is to facilitate a coordinated response to veteran reintegration to Central New York. The Consortium is committed to advocacy, resource and information sharing, and veteran outreach.
In 2012, ISPL and the Syracuse Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center launched a new partnership to develop opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to collaborate and conduct public policy research on topics impacting the health care of veterans and military families in the VAMC’s catchment. ISPL leads a Masters of Public Administration Capstone Project for the VAMC to analyze local veteran demographic patterns, demand for health care services, and distributed health care delivery models.
(NSS) is a premier professional development program that offers executive education courses for senior civilian and military leaders who are responsible for the national security interests of their respective organizations. NSS was founded in 1996 and is headquartered at the top-ranked Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at SU.
Team Red White and Blue (RWB) aims to transform the way America supports its wounded veterans when they return from active duty, by creating a community of veterans, their families, and American citizens who can enjoy authentic social interaction and shared experiences through activities and events all across America. ISPL Research Fellow Nicholas J. Armstrong is a volunteer director of veterans outreach and athlete with the local Central New York chapter and serves on the Empire State Marathon race committee.
The Syracuse University Veterans Affinity Group’s mission is to create an engaging community and develop cross-campus partnerships in an effort to support the University’s military-connected employees and students: @SUVetsAffinity.