Veteran Students Interdisciplinary Research Project (VSIRP)
In response to the need for centrally coordinated, research driven programming in an environment of sharing and understanding through solid partnerships the Veterans Services Interdisciplinary Research Project (VSIRP), led by Dr. Audrey Sorrells, Associate Dean, the Office of the Dean of Students was created in June 2010. The VSIRP is a collaborative interdisciplinary partnership of UT faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and external agencies formed to study and examine the needs of student veterans both academically and psycho-socially in order to inform the development of new programs and evaluate current ones being delivered to student veterans. VSIRP meets monthly to discuss ongoing research issues and to collaborate on training and recruitment and outreach programs for this unique population. The group developed the following position statement to guide its initial efforts: Research on veteran students shall lead to evidence-based therapy, services and programs and integrate teaching and curriculum to better serve this unique population of students.
Goal One: Support robust educational and research on student veteran issues to train professionals working with student veterans and inform better practices related to higher education for special populations.
- Complete a qualitative, focus group study on barriers and transition issues for student veterans in higher education.
- Using VA and agency consultants, create training materials for Center staff as well as university-wide personnel on working with and meeting the needs of student veterans.
Goal Two: Build long-term capacity by entrenching veteran services as a permanent program within the Office of the Dean of Students and as a sustainable Center of Excellence for training, research and recruitment and outreach through community partnerships and integration.
- Continue the work of VSIRP and disseminate the results of both the demographic study and focus group study of student veterans on campus.
- Establish an Advisory Board to create a program and research agenda of ongoing projects looking into to veteran issues on college campuses with funding through partnerships with outside agencies.
- Create a training package with modules that could be distributed nationally to assist other higher education institutions with creating and developing services to meet the need of student veterans.
- Create opportunities for greater involvement of individuals in the Center and potential financial support through Development opportunities.
Goal Three: Utilizing a permanent internship program for the Faculty of Education, solidify the relationship between the center and its co-curricular activities (academic and non-academic).
- Establish opportunities to bridge faculty and DoS research interests to inform practice, policy and programs.
- Develop professional development modules to enhance faculty and DoS staff awareness, knowledge and skills for engaging and teaching veteran students, as well as encouraging academic achievement and persistence, leadership development and psychosocial wellness among our veteran students.
Goal Four: To enhance research to practice by ensuring that veteran students have a respected and inclusive voice in the research, program development, and training.
- Work closely with veteran student organizations and other undergraduate and graduate programs to create and sustain a welcoming environment that encourages and facilitates engagement in all facets of VSIRP projects.
- Design research to practice models that are systematically and empirically inclusive of veteran students' perspectives and real-time experiences.
VSIRP Advisory and Research Group
- Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly, Senior Associate Vice President of Students Affairs and Dean of Students
- Dr. LaToya Hill, Assistant Dean of Students
- Dr. Audrey Sorrells, Associate Dean of Students for Research and Associate Professor of Special Education, Fellow in the Lee Hage Jamail Regents Chair in Education
- Dr. Douglas Garrard, Senior Associate Dean of Students
- Ms. Heather Cole, GRA and Project Coordinator
- Dr. Chris Brownson, Director, Counseling and Mental Health Center
- Dr. Ricardo Ainslie, Professor, Department of Educational Psychology
- Dr. Pat Somers, Associate Professor, Department of Higher Education Administration
- Dr. Gale Stuart, Director, Office of Assessment, Division of Student Affairs
- Dr. Walter Penk, VA Consultant, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Texas A & M Medical Center
- Dr. Sharon Wills, Director, Center for Trauma and Recovery, Veterans Administration
- Dr. Daphny Ainslie, VA, Austin
- Dr. David Tharp, VA, Waco
- Dr. Suzy Gulliver, VA, Waco
- Ms. Sharon Crowder, Waco, VA Consultant
- Mr. Calvin Turner, President, Capitol City Rehabilitation Group
- Ms. Lisa Geistweidt, Capitol City Rehabilitation Group
- Ms. Alyssa Kaye, GRA, Office of Assessment, Division of Student Affairs
- Mr. Laurence M. Jones, Director, Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Veterans Leadership Program (TVLP)
- Mr. Sherman Weeks, Veterans Resource and Referral Specialist
- Student Representative: Mr. Nicholas Hawkins, President, Student Veteran Association