An Integrated Approach to Facilitating The Transition and Persistence of Our Military Students
Author: Bruce Kelley,Ernetta Fox,Justin Smith
Publisher: Stylus Publishing, LLC
This book is intended for everyone in higher education – whether in the classroom, student affairs, administration, admissions, health services or faculty development – who is, or expects to be teaching, advising, or serving student veterans. This book is the outcome of a partnership between the Center for Teaching and Learning and the office of Disabilities Services at the University of South Dakota that led to the development of the Fides program whose goal was to establish high-quality, evidence-based development opportunities specifically designed to enable key university constituencies—the faculty, staff, and administration—to understand their role in providing extraordinary learning experiences for veterans. The program was funded through a congressionally directed FIPSE grant. Materials from Fides have been featured by prominent educational organizations, and are being used by the National Center for PTSD, colleges, universities, and boards of regents across the US. This book provides the background and guidelines you need to leverage the strengths that student veterans bring to your institution, to ease the challenges they face in transitioning into higher education, to facilitate their learning, and to ensure their successful graduation. Student veterans bring many strengths to your campus – maturity, significant life experiences, and cross-cultural awareness. They are highly motivated to serve others and value education. Student veterans may however face significant challenges. Student veterans have typically been out of high school for some time, where they may have earned average grades. Many are married with children and more than a few are single parents. They are approximately 20% less likely than non-veterans to attain a bachelor degree and slightly more likely to drop out of higher education without attaining a degree of any sort. Deployments extend their time to degree, and multiple deployments can significantly delay graduation. The challenges associated with transitioning from the military into higher education are heightened when a student has a disability – physical, psychological, or emotional. Common disabilities that are emerging from Iraq and Afghanistan include amputations, hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. To enable student veterans to succeed, institutions need to develop holistic initiatives to mediate student veterans’ transition and persistence, and develop appropriate programs and services that recognize their skills, family responsibilities, and distinct needs. This book outlines best practices for student affairs; describes innovative approaches to administrative services and support; suggests streamlining policies and procedures to make the campus “veteran friendly”; proposes ideas for academic programs; looks at the implications for course structure and design; considers the classroom environment; and explores how classroom policies impact student veterans. One chapter examines the issue of student veteran success specifically from the point of view of two-year institutions. The authors stress the importance of collaborative approaches across divisions and functions providing all stakeholders on campus with a comprehensive view of how they can support each to ensure the success of their student veterans.