Reaching and including veteran students in the technical communication classroom

Alyson Grace Eggleston, Robert J. Rabb

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Rates of veteran enrollment in colleges and universities are approaching levels not seen since the fifties, due in large part to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, an educational assistance plan for eligible veterans. Connecting veteran students with the support skills they need is crucial to their continuing success, in the classroom and beyond. Studies suggest that veteran students perform to their academic best when given clear objectives and product exemplars, with a focus on best-practice-a result that runs contrary to received wisdom in composition pedagogy research. This paper argues that a Technical Writing and Communication (TWC) classroom organized around project-based learning is a best fit for veteran engineering student success. When pedagogy is guided by longitudinal research on veteran engineering TWC experience, results suggest that a deficit model of veteran engineering students' abilities is not appropriate. Instead, veteran engineering students are uniquely suited to occupying leadership roles in the classroom and modeling TWC best practices. This paper presents a brief overview of technical writing as a discipline, its institution-specific implementation at The Citadel, and current veteran academic success markers. By recommending the implementation of a survey tool, this paper also seeks to identify the range of veteran TWC experiences that can be leveraged in the classroom, outlining the diversity of veteran experience, training, and confidence regarding TWC-driven tasks. Finally, by eliciting veteran students' previous technical writing training in a military context, the recommended survey apparatus can be used as a meaningful tool for teaching TWC educators how to provide opportunities for veteran students to demonstrate in-classroom leadership and contribute experiential insight for the collective benefit of veteran students and their traditional student counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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