The College of Education at Kansas State University is committed to preparing our students and faculty to provide quality and relevant education for military personnel, veterans and their families. Issues related to military-connected learners are being addressed daily by the faculty of the College of Education who educate teachers, principals, superintendents, adult educators, school counselors, special educators, and postsecondary advising and student personnel services staff.
College-wide Military-connected Learner Initiative
The college is making a significant contribution to the education of military-connected students and veterans and is impacting the education of our undergraduate and graduate students in their knowledge of and appropriate pedagogy and practice for veterans, members of the military and their families. Thanks to a University $6,000 Academic Excellence Fund Award, the College of Education developed a college-wide Military and Veterans Educational Initiative to organize the various military-related activities across the college and to plan for a holistic and sustainable approach to working with our students. The goal of the initiative is to build capacity in the K-State College of Education to:
- Prepare pre-service and in-service school personnel to serve military-connected students and families;
- Meet the needs of our military-connected COE undergraduate and graduate students;
- Contribute to the knowledge base about education and military-connected students and families; and
- Collaborate with other military/veteran initiatives across campus.
This college-wide initiative was built on a strong foundation of decades of involvement with military-connected graduate students by the Adult Education program at Ft. Leavenworth and with USD 475 Geary County schools on Fort Riley, a close neighbor of K-State. The initiative is unique because it represents a college-wide approach that involves faculty, staff and our approximately 3,000 students, almost half of which are graduate students. Each of the three college departments has ongoing military-related activities and programs.
The College of Education became one of the first 100 universities to join Operation Educate the Educators, a nationwide Joining Forces initiative follows guiding principles from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC). The College of Education also joined the MCEC, a non-profit, world-wide organization, focused on ensuring quality educational opportunities for all military children affected by mobility, family separation, and transition.
Through our award-winning Professional Development School (PDS) model, the majority of our pre-service teachers complete their clinical training in military-connected schools districts. Faculty have produced materials for teachers, including Military-Connected Students in the Classroom, a new interactive iBook by Sandy Risberg.
Our Adult Education program in the Department of Educational Leadership has a long history of engagement at Fort Leavenworth and Command and General Staff College. A cohort program for the Master’s of Adult Education at Fort Leavenworth awarded over 600 graduate degrees to officers at the Command and General Staff College in the past 25 years. In addition to the Master’s cohorts, the Adult Education faculty developed doctoral cohorts that included faculty and faculty developers as K-State graduate students at most of the schools located at Fort Leavenworth. A leadership training program, the Command Team Spouse Development Program, a community engagement program developed by faculty was awarded the Malcolm Knowles Outstanding Program in Adult Education award in 2010.
Faculty in the Department of Special Education, Counseling and Student Affairs have developed a Certificate of Competence in Counseling Military-connected Students for school counselors and candidates in counselor education graduate programs based on the theoretical and research framework and best practices in parent /family counseling, school consultation, and education strategies and interventions. The learning modules are being designed to prepare school counselors with skills to address the MCEC and ACCTE principles and the needs of military-connected students. Upon mastery and demonstrated skill of the content in the online learning modules, counselors will earn a Certificate of Competency in Counseling Military-Connected Students.
Student and Faculty Research
Faculty and graduate students have conducted numerous research projects that have expanded understanding of military-connected learners. Examples of doctoral dissertations are:
- Clark, M.L. (2014) Out of combat and into the classroom: How combat experiences affect combat veteran students in adult learning environments.
- Karis, D.G. (2010). Preparing peacekeepers: An analysis of the African contingency operations, training, and assistance program command and staff operational skills course.
- McClary, R.B. (2009). An investigation into the relationship between tolerance of ambiguity and creativity among military officers.
- Shea, K.P. (2010). The effects of combat related stress on learning in an academic environment: A qualitative case study.
A special military edition of New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education was edited by two faculty in the adult education program: J. Zacharakis & C. Polson (Eds.). (2012) New directions for adult and continuing education, Vol. 136: Beyond training: The rise of adult education in the military. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Faculty and student research included in this volume include:
- Gleiman, A. & Swearengen, S. Understanding the military spouse learner using theory and personal narratives.
- Persyn, J.M., & Polson, C.J. Evolution and influence of military adult education.
- Shea, K.P., & Fishback, S.J. The impact of cumulative combat stress on learning in an academic environment.
- Zacharakis, J. & Van Der Werff, J.A. The Future of Adult Education in the Military.
Faculty and students across the college have presented their work at national conferences or are currently conducting research related to military-connected students. Examples are: in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction have been working on research assessing the strengths and needs of K-12 teachers in serving military-connected students. Representations of this work include:
- Thurston, L.P., Hughey, J., Risberg, S., & Fishback, S.J. (2014). KSU Military ED-OPS: Initiatives at K-State’s College of Education for military and veteran students, teachers, and families. (Presentation at the Council of College and Military Educators Professional Development Symposium)
- Curtis, L. (2013). Supporting military-connected students: Serving those who serve. (Presentation at the Association of Teacher Educators Annual Summer Conference. Washington D.C.)
- Curtis, L. & Risberg, S. (2013). Supporting Military-Connected Students in Classrooms: Strategies for Resiliency. (Research project)
- Mittelberg, J. (2013). Pre-service teachers’ knowledge and perceptions about the needs of military-connected students. (Class project)
- Risberg, S. (2013). K-State’s military-connected student initiatives. (Presentation at the AUSA Military Family Forum)