Date of Award

Fall 2016

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Thomas Franco

Second Advisor

Cristy Beemer

Third Advisor

D. Alexis Hart


In this dissertation, I employ a qualitative study to explore experiences of student veterans in introductory writing classrooms. Drawing on the theories of feminist standpoint (Harding, 1986) and rhetorical listening (Ratcliffe, 2005), I describe the current cultural divide between members of the military and civilians (Pew Research Center, 2011) and identify several ways teachers of college level introductory writing classes can bridge this gap to more effectively connect with student veterans at the classroom level and raise awareness about the unique situations of student veterans at the institutional level. Survey data inquiring into student veterans’ experiences in writing classrooms was collected. Findings reveal three major trends about the majority of student veterans surveyed: they will choose to write about their military experience if they believe it to be relevant for an assignment; they are motivated to write about their military experiences by the idea of connecting with their civilian readers; and they value empathy and understanding in relationships with their writing instructors. Semi-structured interviews with student veteran participants explore in further detail how the patterns that emerged from the survey are revealed in individual case studies.