Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry H. Ebbers


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of veterans who have made the transition from international deployments to an Iowa community college. The essence of these experiences was solicited by asking the question: How do veterans who have made the transition from international deployments to an Iowa community college describe their experiences? Constructionism provided the epistemological foundation for this study. An interpretivist perspective was used to analyze data collected via face-to-face interviews, participant observation, and document evaluation. Van Gennep’s liminality theory provided a theoretical lens through which to interpret that analysis. This interpretation revealed six themes, namely: (a) from civilian to warfighter—calibration and detachment, (b) from civilian to warfighter—ambiguity and metamorphoses, (c) from civilian to warfighter—consummation and reflection, (d) from warfighter to student—calibration and detachment, (e) from warfighter to student—ambiguity and metamorphoses, and (f) from warfighter to student—consummation and reflection. Study findings revealed that each participant had navigated simultaneous liminal stages prior to, during, and after his or her transition from an international deployment to an Iowa community college. Study conclusions include policy and practice implications for a broad spectrum of Iowa community college stakeholders. Recommendations for future research include conducting additional investigations of under-researched subsets of transitioning veteran cohorts.


Copyright Owner

Seth David Gilbert



File Format


File Size

252 pages