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Careers & Transitions: health care

Journal of Higher Learning for Today’s Servicemember

Benefits Administrator Robert M. Worley II Director Education Service Department of Veterans Affairs

Career Fairs O Writing Programs O Accelerated Degrees Veterans Centers O Academic Services for Online Learners

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September 2013 Volume 8, Issue 7


We make it possible. You make it happen. The Center for Military Education at Excelsior College proudly serves military servicemembers and veterans in pursuit of their educational goals. With credit for military training, assistance with military and veteran benefits, career transition resources, and our online Veterans Center, you can succeed in school, no matter what stands in your way.

 “Because I was concerned about how deployments might affect my studies—I didn’t want to start college again and then have to stop—I was advised to attend Excelsior College, as they would let me continue my coursework, no matter where I was stationed in the world…and Excelsior has definitely exceeded my expectations.”

Lt. Col. Bryant A. Murray Veterans Center at Excelsior College your connection to military and veteran community benefits.

Call: 888-766-3926, ext. 1352 Visit: excelsior.edu/military *Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Walter Brown Associate in Applied Science in Technical Studies, 2012


MILITARY ADVANCED EDUCATION Features

Cover / Q&A

Careers & Transitions: Health care

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7

11

Both the U.S. government and a number of the country’s top colleges and universities are making a push to make it easier for veterans with combat medical experience to pursue various health care degrees and careers in the civilian sector. By J.B. Bissell

A transition to nursing opens up an almost endless number of specialty opportunities in a career field that is in high demand. There are a number of educational pathways that will lead to a nursing career, which means that the individual can have greater control over the timing and direction they choose to take. By Diane Howell

Moving Forward With a Medical Background

13

Feeling at Home on Campus

The establishment of a veterans resource center (VRC), which provides services that support student veterans, is a growing trend among colleges and universities. Since it effectively acts as a place for veterans to meet each other, a VRC can help promote a veteran-friendly atmosphere on your college campus. By Alexander D. Miscione

September 2013 Volume 8, Issue 7

making the nursing transition

Academic Support for Online Military Learners When servicemembers and veterans choose a school to attend, location is an important factor to consider. To minimize the chances of stopping out or transferring institutions, many military-affiliated students have turned to online classes, which allow them to take classes anywhere. By Laural Hobbes

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Veterans have a unique set of skills that range from leadership development to discipline and organization—all valuable traits in the eyes of an employer. A career fair, which attracts hiring representatives from many companies, is the perfect opportunity for veterans to show off these traits and meet prospective employers. By Laural Hobbes

Beyond the practical application of ensuring the comprehension of a precise message, mastering both the technical and creative aspects of writing has infinite benefits. For veterans and their families, writing is a venue for self-expression, a constructive way to process war experiences, and a way to make a living. By Laural Hobbes

An accelerated degree program can be an excellent opportunity for a servicemember or veteran to complete a degree in a shorter amount of time—with less cost. What are the benefits of choosing an accelerated degree program, and why might this be a particularly convenient option for a servicemember or veteran?

Departments 2 Editor’s Perspective 4 PROGRAM NOTES 6 People 18 CLASS NOTES 33 CCME GRAPEVINE 34 Money talks 35 RESOURCE CENTER

Message Received: Veterans in Writing Programs

Accelerated classes, accelerated degrees

University Corner Mary Niemiec

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Robert M. Worley ii

Director Education Service Department of Veterans Affairs

14

The Ideal Networking Opportunity

20

Associate Vice President for Distance Education Director University of Nebraska Online Worldwide

“I believe we are well poised at this point for the anticipated increases in claims as more servicemembers transition to civilian life and take advantage of their hard-earned GI Bill benefits.”

- Robert M. Worley II


EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE

Military Advanced Education Volume 8, Issue 7 September 2013

Journal of Higher Learning for Today’s Servicemember Editorial Editor-in-Chief Jeff McKaughan lauralh@kmimediagroup.com Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly harrisond@kmimediagroup.com Online Editorial Manager Laura Davis laurad@kmimediagroup.com Copy Editor Sean Carmichael seanc@kmimediagroup.com Correspondents J.B. Bissell • Kelly Fodel • Maura McCarthy

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KMI Media Group Publisher Kirk Brown kirkb@kmimediagroup.com Chief Executive Officer Jack Kerrigan jack@kmimediagroup.com Chief Financial Officer Constance Kerrigan connik@kmimediagroup.com Executive Vice President David Leaf davidl@kmimediagroup.com Editor-In-Chief Jeff McKaughan jeffm@kmimediagroup.com Controller Gigi Castro gcastro@kmimediagroup.com Trade Show Coordinator Holly Foster hollyf@kmimediagroup.com Receptionist Vania’ Jones vaniaj@kmimediagroup.com Operations, Circulation & Production Operations Administrator Bob Lesser bobl@kmimediagroup.com Circulation & Marketing Administrator Duane Ebanks duanee@kmimediagroup.com Circulation Barbara Gill barbg@kmimediagroup.com Data Specialists Raymer Villanueva raymerv@kmimediagroup.com Summer Walker summerw@kmimediagroup.com

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President Obama has announced the launch of the “8 Keys to Success,” a series of, yes, eight steps that schools can take to encourage their veteran students to complete their college degrees, certificates, credentials or licenses. More than 250 community colleges and universities have already committed to the effort. The “8 Keys to Success” are: 1. Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans. Jeffrey D. McKaughan 2. Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership. Editor-in-chief 3. Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming. 4. Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space (even if limited in size). 5. Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans. 6. Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention and degree completion. 7. Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans. 8. Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans. “This is a major step forward in the administration’s work to encourage institutions of higher education to support veterans with access to the courses and resources they need to ensure that they graduate and get good jobs,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. The first thing you may have noticed for this editor’s perspective is a different photo. Unfortunately for KMI, Laural Hobbes has moved on to other publishing ventures. She was instrumental in generating great issues of MAE and was a driving factor for the content of this issue and she will be missed. Looking ahead, we have been fortunate to bring onboard Kelly Fodel, an experienced print and broadcast journalist, who will be managing MAE’s editorial starting with MAE 8.8.

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WE CAN HELP PREPARE YOUR SERVICEMEMBERS

Whether the plan is to continue in the military or transition to civilian life, Baker can help your military personnel receive an online degree from anywhere in the world. Baker College is a member of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC), DANTES, GoArmyEd, and CCAF’s AU-ABC program. The college is eligible to receive Federal military and Veteran education benefits.

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An Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Institution. Baker College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association / 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504 800-621-7440 /www.ncahlc.org. Baker Center for Graduate Studies’ MBA program is also accredited by the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE). For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our Web site at www.baker.edu/gainfulemployment.


PROGRAM NOTES New Certificate in Veteran Service Available at MSU Mississippi State University (MSU) has continued its tradition of serving members of the armed forces by offering a new certificate program. The veterans’ certificate program trains individuals to help former servicemembers successfully transition to civilian life. The program establishes an opportunity for professionals, graduates and undergraduates to improve their knowledge of veterans’ benefits while honing their leadership skills. A recent grant from the Walmart Foundation for $80,000 funded the new program, which is the only one of its kind in the nation. Courses to earn the veterans’ certificate may be applied as a concentration for the Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies, or as electives in a graduate-level program, said Kenneth D. “Ken” McRae, director of MSU’s Center for America’s Veterans. A slightly similar program is available at the State University of New York, but is only available to graduate students and doesn’t include a management course, the retired Army colonel explained. The five online MSU courses are designed to provide training necessary to engage and serve veterans, according to McRae and fellow program organizer Linda Cornelious, a professor in MSU’s instructional systems and workforce development department. She said the Center for America’s Veterans, the instructional systems and workforce development department and other university units collaborated in developing the curriculum. Cornelious also credited McRae’s leadership and persistence in landing the Walmart grant that made the new program possible. One course already being offered as a prerequisite focuses on the necessary management skills “that will allow students to be effective communicators, leaders and administrators,” Cornelious said. “The other four courses deal directly with issues that impact veterans, the kind of experiences they will have as they transition back to civilian life and how they can succeed academically, socially and psychosocially,” she said. Since the veterans’ certificate is supported by MSU’s Center for Distance Education, all five courses may be completed anywhere in the world while participants continue working, McRae said. “The way that the certificate program is structured online, it covers that gamut,” he said. “It’s for anyone at the university level or anyone at government agencies who already works with veterans. It’s for corporate human resources departments and private practitioners that have veteran employees. It’s also for those people who want to work directly with veterans.” Persons interested in applying to the program may visit www.iswd.msstate.edu/veterans/index.html. 4 | MAE 8.7

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Post-9/11 GI Bill Celebrates Fourth Anniversary August 1 marked the fourth anniversary of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. VA has issued approximately $30 billion in Post 9/11-GI Bill benefit payments since its inception in August 2009 and has helped nearly 1 million servicemembers, veterans and their families pursue their education. “The Post-9/11 GI Bill has helped many of our nation’s veterans pursue their education and successfully transition to civilian life,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We’re proud that the Department of Veterans Affairs can administer this important benefit that makes such a big difference in the lives of nearly a million veterans and their families.” The Post-9/11 GI Bill is the most extensive educational assistance program since the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, more commonly known as the GI Bill, was signed into law. The Post-9/11 GI Bill provides comprehensive educational support through tuition, books and housing allowance to people with at least 90 days of total service after September 10, 2001, or people discharged with a serviceconnected disability after 30 days. Approved training under the Post-9/11 GI Bill includes graduate and undergraduate degrees, vocational and technical training, on-the-job training, flight training, correspondence training, licensing and national testing programs, entrepreneurship training, and tutorial assistance. VA is now processing benefit payments for currently enrolled students in an average of seven days, largely as a result of VA’s ongoing transformation to electronic claims processing. The delivery of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits has been automated and processing time cut in half through implementation of VA’s long-term solution, an end-to-end claims processing system that uses rulesbased, industry-standard technologies. “Since the end of WWII, GI Bill programs have shaped and changed the lives of veterans, servicemembers, their families and their survivors by helping them reach their educational and employment goals,” said Allison A. Hickey, Under Secretary for Benefits. “That is still true today.”

In April 2012, President Obama signed Executive Order 13607, which established the Principles of Excellence, offering guidelines that promote student success under the program and ensure accurate information about institutions and their courses. Over 6,000 educational and training institutions have agreed to comply with these principles. “The Principles of Excellence, further strengthened by Public Law 112-249, provide future student veterans with greater consumer education,” said Michael Dakduk, executive director of Student Veterans of America. “It is extremely important to have the right tools and information before making a decision on a post-secondary credential, degree program, or institution of higher learning.” VA is working with schools, community organizations and other partners to ensure beneficiaries have all the information they need to use their education benefits, including: • Education plans for all military and veteran education beneficiaries; • A designated point of contact for academic and financial advice at each school; and • An end to fraudulent and aggressive recruiting techniques and misrepresentation. This summer, VA is launching new tools to help beneficiaries learn more about their vocational aptitudes and select an education institution. • The ‘Factors to Consider When Choosing a School’ guide offers future students steps to take when researching, choosing, and attending a school. • CareerScope is a free, new tool featured on www.gibill.va.gov that measures a student’s aptitude and interests through a self-administered online test, identifying potential career paths. • The new GI Bill Comparison Tool allows students to research and compare schools, including key indicators like average student loan debt and graduation rates.

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PROGRAM NOTES

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STEM Education Outreach Center opens at APG A dedicated STEM Education and Outreach Center that will help coordinate the STEM efforts of more than 70 organizations at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), located in Aberdeen, Md., was formally opened at a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 30. The facility, called the SEOC, will allow students from across the region to interact with scientists and engineers in a laboratory environment. This coordinated access will foster interest and facilitate student participation in Army education outreach programs and ultimately aid in achieving Armywide and national STEM goals. Renovations began in November 2012 on a former soldier barracks, Building 4508, where the SEOC is located. Scientific equipment and furniture were delivered this spring. The idea to establish the dedicated STEM Center was raised in 2011 by the Army Research Laboratory, and the concept grew with support from various APG

organizations. The facility’s features include open classroom space; labs for computers as well as biology and chemistry experiments; electronics; wood and metal shops; and a staging area for robotics. The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command is the organizational lead for the APG-wide effort and is working together with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions and Logistics Technology, the Communications Electronics Command, U.S.

Army Test & Evaluation Command, Army Research Laboratory, Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center and the Edgewood Chemical & Biological Center to deliver funding and materials for Phase I of the project. The SEOC is managed and maintained by the Army Research Laboratory. Both security and safety concerns have been factors for Army scientists and engineers when they previously brought students into their facilities. They were confronted with issues like escorting students, information technology prohibitions, removing sensitive projects and working with materials that may be dangerous. The SEOC alleviates these challenges and allows both student and APG professional to focus on the matter at hand: a real world, applicable STEM experience that builds critical skills and engages young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

PEOPLE

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Kloenhamer has been promoted to executive vice president of administration, HPU President Geoffrey Bannister announced in late July.

Vice Adm. Ronald A. Route

Vice Admiral (Ret.) Ronald A. Route will replace NPS Interim President Rear Admiral Jan E. Tighe as president of the Naval Postgraduate School on a date to be determined later this year. Hawai’i Pacific University (HPU) General Counsel Janet

6 | MAE 8.7

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte

Five education leaders from around the country have been

appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board to serve four-year terms, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced in early August. The new Board member, Lucille E. Davy, is a former attorney, professor and parent leader who now works as an education policy consultant in New Jersey. The four reappointed members include Doris Hicks, a New Orleans elementary and middle school principal; Tonya Miles, a Maryland general public/ parent representative; W. James Popham, an author and UCLA professor emeritus; and Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte.

William Thien

William A. “Bill” Thien, a resident of Georgetown, Ind., was elected Veterans of Foreign Wars National Commander on July 24, 2013, in Louisville, Ky., during the 114th VFW National Convention.

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Careers & Transitions: health care

Universities and government initiatives are making it easier for veterans with combat medical experience to pursue civilian health care careers.

By J.B. Bissell MAE Correspondent

It makes sense that Queensborough would be Attending to soldiers with gunshot wounds or at the forefront of this movement. Since 1967, the catastrophic IED blast injuries on the battlefield is a college’s nursing program has been renowned not world away from assisting patients at the local hosonly for its diversity, but also for keeping pace with pital downtown or the neighborhood family practice the latest technological advancements and develdown the street. Still, as diverse as these scenarios oping educational partnerships with sister CUNY are, certain aspects of the training that medical schools Hunter College and York College. personnel complete in order to successfully manage For Colalillo, though, this particular undertakthem are similar. And now, both the United States ing was more personal. “Having the privilege to government and a number of the country’s top colsee how medics were trained at Fort Sam Houston leges and universities are making a push to make it provided a deeper appreciation for and insight to easier for veterans with combat medical experience Georgina Colalillo their education and experiences,” she said. “This to pursue various health care degrees and careers in reconfirms the value of their ability to contribute greatly to the the civilian sector. health care infrastructure.” “An accelerated bridge curriculum is being developed for vetAll that was left was to figure out how they could begin conerans who were trained as medics and have worked or trained in tributing as quickly as possible. So, “a focus group of student a health care setting in the past five years,” explained Georgina veterans who have declared nursing as a major was conducted by Colalillo, a professor in the Nursing Department at Queensbornursing faculty to identify barriers in the transition from the miliough Community College (QCC), part of the City University of tary to nursing school,” Colalillo said. “Receiving academic credit New York (CUNY) system, who also is the project director for for medical training and service without having to repeat content Queensborough’s Veterans Initiative for Accelerated Access in the was identified as a priority.” nursing program. Based on that feedback, the aforementioned “bridge curricu“The overall goal is to develop and offer an effective and accellum” was developed, paying particular attention to any “gaps in erated pathway for veterans who have been trained as medics to knowledge and/or experiences that became visible as a result of progress through the nursing program,” she said. “This includes our collaboration with Texas A&M University and Alamo Commudeveloping a curriculum that augments medical training so that nity College, where initiatives for military and veteran students qualified veterans can transition seamlessly to the second semeshave already been in operation, and the medical education training ter clinical course with support and mentoring through program campus at Fort Sam Houston, Texas,” Colalillo added. completion.” www.MAE-kmi.com

MAE  8.7 | 7


Careers & Transitions: health care Student Spotlight: Wayne Lile University of South Florida College of Nursing Bachelor of Science, Nursing, 2013 Wayne Lile, a cancer survivor, graduated in August 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of South Florida and was a participant in the VA Nursing Academy. Lile served as a private first class in the U.S. Army from 1996-1998. He was 24 years old when he was diagnosed with cancer, and turned 39 in September. The Army instilled resilience, discipline and a sense of duty in me that have guided my pursuit of a nursing career. While serving on active duty as a combat engineer with the 40th Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Division, in Germany, I was diagnosed with leukemia. I knew then, 15 years ago, that I wanted to be a nurse in order to return the dedicated care that guided me through treatment. The essential quality the military instilled in me was duty. Veterans have a strong

sense of duty—a duty to self and to others. This is born of an attention to detail and motivation. As a nurse, my duty is to provide sound care. As a father, my duty is to provide enrichment and guidance to my children. As a husband, my duty is to provide love and support to my wife. In 2000, I returned to school and started to complete the prerequisites to enter the University of South Florida College of Nursing. I devoted all of my energy to my education, as I knew that understanding the material anything less than completely would result in inferior attention to detail, as well as inferior nursing care. I drew upon my experiences as a patient and a soldier as my motivation. My duty is to care for all patients with whom

Still, first things do come first, and it’s important to note that the bridge does not alternate or eliminate any of the school’s or nursing program’s entrance requirements. All students must meet the same criteria. Once veterans are accepted, however, “the fundamentals nursing course—or first clinical nursing course—will be condensed into one 35-hour, week-long program,” Colalillo said. “Upon successful completion of this condensed course of study, students will be granted seven credits toward their nursing degree—and exempt from NU-101, the first nursing course.” Cashing in on previous training and experience to essentially skip NU-101 will have veterans facing the more formidable classes—anatomy and physiology, human growth and development, microbiology—sooner, and a diploma in sight more quickly. And once veterans have that all-important diploma in hand, the possibility of a new career also is within reach. “Completing the nursing program at QCC earns students an Associate of Applied Science and makes them eligible to take the licensing exam,” Colalillo explained. “After passing that, they can find employment as a registered nurse in a variety of health care settings.” Or they can keep studying in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. “We have established various dual and joint programs, and successful candidates can be eligible for enrollment in the Bachelor of Science in nursing completion program at Hunter, York, or the CUNY School of Professional Studies,” she added. “There are many pathways to achieving a BSN, and we have a strong commitment to advising and supporting our students beyond graduation.” 8 | MAE 8.7

I may have contact. Compassionate nursing care is essential to recovery. I was fortunate enough to receive exemplary health care [when I was diagnosed with cancer]; my wife received compassionate care throughout two pregnancies; and so did my son during his treatment for meningitis. Throughout each of these trials, the common thread was a nurse. The military provided a foundation for future growth as a professional and leader, and as a result of these experiences, I am working towards becoming an expert in the field of nursing.

Expedited Education One of those pathways is to consider a four-year college or university from the start. And while Queensborough’s Veterans Initiative for Accelerated Access in Nursing program is certainly blazing a notable trail when it comes to expediting the health-care-focused education process for returning soldiers, the need for this type of support has been recognized on the national level, too. Last April, at the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing, Health and Human Services unveiled their Veterans’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Simply put, it’s $3 million worth of funding that will be divided among a handful of fouryear institutions so that they can facilitate a more efficient route from veteran to student to career health care professional. Like at Queensborough, the foundation of the overall concept is to award a certain amount of academic credit for previous military training. According to the government’s outline of the grant, other goals are to “provide faculty development to enhance teaching strategies that address the unique needs of veterans” as well as cultivate “mentorship and supportive services [including outreach to veteran’s organizations] that address the unique challenges that veterans face when transitioning to civilian life, including post-traumatic stress disorder and other behavioral/mental health issues and other general work-family-life-balance issues that may negatively impact program completion and gaining employment in nursing after graduation.” The University of South Florida (USF) is one of the institutions being considered for this funding. “The USF College of Nursing [CON] has a long history of supporting our nation’s servicemembers, veterans and their families with innovative educational www.MAE-kmi.com


United States, and will have the second largest programs and partnerships that meet the complex shortage in the nation, lagging only behind Calihealth care issues of this population,” said RN fornia.” Dianne Morrison-Beedy, Ph.D., who is the senior In other words, not only are the educational associate vice president of USF Health and dean of prospects getting better thanks to programs such as the school’s CON. the one at QCC and the recent Veterans’ Bachelor Indeed, one of USF CON’s major ongoing of Science in Nursing program, but future job prosinitiatives is to continually conduct research and pects could hardly be better. develop a curriculum that addresses the needs of “Many military veteran nursing graduates take the entire military population. A few highlights positions working in the emergency room or intenthat have resulted from that approach include Dianne sive care units,” said Morrison-Beedy. “Or they hosting the Joining Forces To Restore Lives: NursMorrison-Beedy, Ph.D. continue their training by entering advanced eduing Education and Research in Veterans Health cational programs, working to become nurse pracnational annual conference; being home to one of titioners, nurse anesthetists, or nurse researchers studying only eight VA Nursing Academy (VANA) programs in the nation, veterans’ health-related issues.” which prepares baccalaureate nursing students to work in the VA environment; co-developing with VANA an “Introduction to Military and Veteran Heath” course that focuses on the military The Assistant Route and veteran culture and health care needs; and providing military appropriate simulation experiences and training platforms Of course, nursing isn’t the only occupation for soldiers who through the U.S. Air Force Nurse Transition Program to assist U.S. want to tackle health-related issues. The Division of Physician Air Force nurses in the transition to deployment. Assistant Education at the University of Nebraska Medical CenAnd now, “USF CON has proposed an accelerated baccalaureate ter (UNMC) offers a 28-month-long, on-campus physician assisprogram specific to returning military veterans that incorporates tant (PA) program that culminates with a Master of PA Studies their prior service in health-related specialties and applies time degree, after which graduates can take the national certifying served in those specialties toward college credit,” Morrison-Beedy examination. said. “We are glad to bring our expertise to the table as we join A successful exam leads to physician-assistant-certified creforces with nursing professionals, educators, and nurse scientists dentials, and a career of practicing medicine with the guidance across the country in a commitment to this important initiative.” of a physician, but also with a certain degree of independence Ultimately, the benefits of this initiative are twofold. Yes, it when it comes to performing examinations and identifying illhelps veterans move into the civilian job market, but as that hapnesses, prescribing treatments and handling injuries. pens, they’re actually going to be doing even more good for their That extra independence, though, doesn’t come easily. The community. “There is a significant nationwide nursing shortage program at UNMC includes 12 months of didactic studies at and the registered nurse plays an integral role in health care the Omaha campus, followed by 15 months of clinical rotations delivery,” Morrison-Beedy explained. “By 2030, Florida will have during which students are placed with physician preceptors at the largest shortage of RNs [almost 130,000 jobs] in the Eastern various clinical sites across Nebraska.

YOU SERVED PROUDLY.

NOW WE WOULD BE PROUD TO SERVE YOU. As our thanks to you for your service, Bryant & Stratton College would like to support you and your family by providing a personal, and career-focused Education. • Approved for Veteran’s Training. • Convenient day, evening, weekend and online classes. •“Salute To Spouses”Scholarships available. • Career advisement can help you find a position when you graduate. • Servicemember Opportunity Consortium (SOC) College.

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MAE  8.7 | 9


Careers & Transitions: health care “PA education is demanding and rigorous, while also engaging Occupational Adjustment and dynamic,” said Michael J. Huckabee, Ph.D., a professor and the director of UNMC’s division of physician assistant education. “At The majority of veterans probably don’t have a lot of prior UNMC, students are assigned to clinicians, and as early as their first experience with chiropractic health care—at least not from the semester they are seeing patients under physician supervision. What practitioner’s standpoint—but that’s not stopping them from is learned in the classroom is immediately reinforced with actual pursuing this specific form of medicine. Kelley VanKeulen, the patient care. In our program, our anatomy class is well established interim director of admissions at Palmer College of Chiropracas a rigorous course with a high level of instructortic’s Davenport, Iowa, campus has seen an increase student interaction, including cadaver dissection in military personnel taking advantage of the Yellow with four to six students per table. All students also Ribbon Program to start working toward a Doctor of voluntarily see patients with physician supervision Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. in a student-managed series of homeless clinics “As members of the military, their backgrounds offered through the Omaha community.” and experiences have allowed them to not only see If anybody is up to this sort of educational the need to help others, but also to see the benefit challenge, Huckabee believes it’s America’s vetertheir help has been to people around the world,” said ans. “They typically demonstrate more maturity VanKeulen. “This ‘help others’ mindset that many of and have more life experiences, and both of those our military students have has contributed greatly to qualities contribute to a successful candidate in our their success in the D.C. program.” program,” he said. “Those with health care experi- Michael J. Huckabee, Ph.D. The strong work ethic often displayed by veterans ence are even more qualified as our program favors also is crucial to one’s success at Palmer because it’s candidates with this previous knowledge. That kind of background a fairly intense curriculum. Incoming students must have at least helps students learn more efficiently and likely adds greater depth to 90 semester credits before being accepted, and then it takes most their learning as they build on the knowledge of their prior health learners three-and-one-third years to wrap up their doctorate care experiences.” diploma. “The coursework is comprised of basic sciences, chiropractic technique, chiropractic philosophy and business management,” VanKeulen said, but it’s hardly confined to the classroom. Online Undergraduate or Graduate “Students parallel their coursework with lab instruction from day one,” she said. “In later terms they will also work under the supervision of a doctor of chiropractic to care for patients in a Palmer outpatient or community outreach clinic, and during their last term, students have the option to gain real-life experience by participating in preceptorships, which have students working under a practicing chiropractor and gaining an insight PROGRAM into all aspects of a chiropractic clinic.” This real-world experience will come in handy, because according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2012/2013, chiropractic employment is expected to rise by 28 percent between 2010 and 2020. Physician assistants and nurses also are projected to be very much in demand, which is why veterans who have attended to gunshot wounds and the like on the battlefield are poised to make such a successful transition to the civilian health care industry after finishing their service—and why the health care industry should be well stocked with talented individuals for years to come. 15 credit hours completely online As QCC’s Colalillo noted, “These veterans leave the military Offers a unique opportunity to work with veterans’ issues career-ready, with a skill set that’s needed in today’s facedpaced, technologically rich health care environment. They’ve Prepares certifying officials already had extensive medical training as medics and corpsmen … so there exists a unique opportunity to tap into many of the skills developed from their service, such as critical thinking, visit www.distance.msstate.edu/veterans or call 662.325.8876 for more information leadership, technological savvy, and strong commitment to teamwork.” O

VETERANS’ CERTIFICATE

MSU is an equal opportunity institution.

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For more information, contact KMI Editor-in-Chief Jeff McKaughan at jeffm@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.

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A former active duty Air Force nurse reflects upon the process of transitioning to civilian and Reserve life. By Diane Howell

Getting ready to make the transition from active duty or reserve military status to civilian life? This transition can be very exciting, filled with opportunities, promises of a different lifestyle, and even relief. This significant transition can also be challenging. As I was preparing to separate from active duty, I remember being excited about the new venture before me: civilian life! A bit more freedom, maybe fewer rules, a less hectic work schedule, and knowing I could PT when I wanted to. What I did not realize was how those things had become a part of my mindset and culture, and how the order and discipline of military life had become my comfort zone. I transitioned from active duty to reserve life so I could attend graduate school at a school of my choice, and almost immediately I could tell a difference. Not a negative difference; just a difference. Suddenly I missed the schedule, the expectations, and even the PT. I missed feeling the camaraderie, the feeling of “being in it together,” and the understanding that each www.MAE-kmi.com

member of the service had a job to do that supported the overall mission, with no job being too small. We were trained, given leadership roles, and trusted with those roles to effectively meet the mission. We had others we knew we could rely on and trust with our lives. I can say with certainty that my transition from active duty life to civilian life has been overwhelmingly positive, but these sorts of relationships hard to find in the civilian world. There are aspects of military life that I miss, and the camaraderie, training and expectations are just a few of them. So how do we manage this transition? How do we prepare? As soon as you know the transition is happening, your pre-planning should begin. Sit down with your family and discuss where everyone wants to go from here. Where do you want to live? Why? What opportunities are available in the area for employment, for both you and your spouse? Consider education opportunities, not just for you, but for your spouse and children. What type of housing would

you like to live in? What can you afford? The community that surrounds your new home is an integral aspect of your transition; research the schools, churches and volunteer organizations in the area, as these are excellent sources of new connections and friendships for your personal and professional life. As you are research employment opportunities in your new community, consider the help of a life coach or mentor, and ensure your resume is up to date. If you’re still not sure what your civilian career will be, you should think about a career in nursing. Nursing is a profession with a rich history, and it is deeply satisfying to those who serve in this capacity. Yes, nursing school is demanding; just ask any current nursing student and you will hear about the demanding study schedules, the clinical hours, and the classroom requirements. But none of this should intimidate any veteran, who is already accustomed to demanding schedules, early wake ups, and personal responsibility. MAE  8.7 | 11


Careers & Transitions: health care

Whether transitioning from the nursing field in the military or taking up the professional after transitioning out of active service, the skills and discipline learned in the military will serve you well in the civilian health care community. [Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force]

In fact, the same characteristics that are generally considered to be necessary in a good nurse can also be found in most military members. Besides the obvious requirements of caring about people and being empathetic to the situations of illness and injury our patients experience, nurses must be physically fit, detail oriented, able to think on their feet, make instantaneous decisions, and be adaptable. Nurses are required to have good critical thinking and good communication skills, and demonstrate calm under fire. Nurses are leaders in their work environment, and serve as patient advocates and protectors. Sound familiar? Servicemembers who are in the specialties of Army medic, Air Force medical technician, or Navy corpsman are already an excellent candidate for the nursing profession. The work and experience in these specialties combined with military training have provided you with real life knowledge that will give you an edge in nursing school. Your established discipline will make nursing school another hurdle you can easily tackle with organization, commitment, and a little courage. The more practical side of a profession in nursing speaks to an issue that affects many of our former military comrades: employment and employability. As a registered nurse, not only are you in demand, 12 | MAE 8.7

but the various specialties within nursing are almost endless. Within the hospital setting, nurses serve in clinical, administrative and research capacities. As a nurse in a hospital, you can put your nursing skills and knowledge to great use caring for patients in the emergency department, operating room, intensive care units and medical-surgical units. Specialty units include women’s health, labor and delivery, pediatrics, cardiac step-down, and oncology, to name just a few. Registered nurses (RNs) also work in jails, correctional centers, outpatient clinics, physician and dentist’s offices, schools, churches, long-term care facilities and daycare facilities. RNs work with patients of all ages, and promote wellness, ease pain, care for the sick and dying, bring life into the world, and ultimately make a difference in the lives of others. There are a few options for starting a career in nursing. Associate degree programs in nursing typically take approximately two years or less to complete. When your course and clinical work is successfully completed, you are eligible to sit for the national licensing exam (NCLEX). You must pass this exam in order to receive your license to practice as a registered nurse. Traditional four-year bachelor’s programs in nursing are another option. After

four years and successful completion of course and clinical work, you are eligible to sit for NCLEX. Both the associate and bachelors degrees will allow you to become a registered nurse after passing the NCLEX. That being said, there is a push for nurses to have as a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in nursing. As you transition, be prepared for a range of emotions, plan well for the new and exciting life ahead of you, and be sure to utilize all of your resources: friends, family, the services of veterans organizations, your new community leaders, and most importantly, your own inner strength and courage. Veterans in civilian jobs and community roles generally still find themselves the ones people seek to solve problems. We are, after all, a product and reflection of our great military, and no matter how difficult life sometimes seems, this is something I will always be proud of. I hope you will be too. O

Diane Howell is a lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy Reserves, Nurse Corps, attached to the operational health support unit in Portsmouth, Va. She is also currently the state director of nursing and faculty, Bryant & Stratton College, in Richmond, Va., and pursuing her doctorate at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Ph.D. program in Urban Service and Leadership. Previously, Howell served in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps, and was stationed and Shepard Air Force Base (AFB), Scott AFB, and Nellis AFB. For more information, contact KMI Editor-in-Chief Jeff McKaughan at jeffm@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.

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Feeling at Home on Campus Is a veterans resource center right for your campus? • Act as a meeting place for a school’s Today’s veterans are some of the most chapter of Student Veterans of America deserving students: They have earned their (SVA); and education benefits by serving our country. • Act as a clearinghouse for resources and A 2011 study from the National Center for information relevant to veterans, Education Services found that 59.6 percent including VA and GI Bill benefit of veteran students have used their VA educaresources, the schedules of visiting VA tion benefits at public institutions. In order representatives, mental health resources to create an environment that encourages or part-time counselor hours. the success of student veterans, schools must plan how to accommodate them and demonSteve Rellinger, director of Central strate genuine interest in their well-being. Michigan University’s VRC, said, “A veterans On average, the student veteran popularesource center is an absolute must for any tion accounts for about 5 percent of a univerinstitution for many reasons: point of consity’s population. Fifty-six percent of student tact, networking with other vets, outreach/ veterans are older than the “traditional” coleducation, etc. It’s the least we as institutions lege age range of 18 to 23, and 47 percent of can do, based on the fact that a veteran is student veterans either have children or are someone who at one point in his or her life married. Because veteran students have some wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The traits unique from those of traditional college United States of America,’ for an amount students, they sometimes need additional of ‘up to and including his or her life.’ The resources. In addition to differences that can only question is regarding be related to age, such as having the actual size of the center established families or full-time and this depends entirely jobs, some veterans have menon the resources of each tal health considerations like institution.” depression or PTSD to contend In addition to enrichwith while attending school. ing campus culture and the Many veterans have reported lives of veteran students, feeling isolated from the rest of investing in a VRC may the student body, who have not also benefit a school’s comshared similar experiences. munity. Representatives The establishment of a vetSteve Rellinger from Central Michigan, erans resource center (VRC), California State University which provides services that relli1sa@cmich.edu at Northridge, Next Great support student veterans, is a Generation, and Kognito Interactive spoke at growing trend among colleges and universia webinar presentation in early April about ties. Since it effectively acts as a place for the tangible benefits that VRCs provide to veterans to meet each other, a VRC can do institutions and surrounding community. the following: They estimated the total payoff to the institution was $9.5 million over the course of • Provide additional support for five years. They also estimated that in that transitioning veterans; time, 26 suicides would be prevented, 640 • Support a community of veterans suicides would have never been attempted, through activities, study groups, outings and 289 children’s lives would not be affected and workshops; www.MAE-kmi.com

By Alexander D. Miscione by the profound negative impacts of veteran suicides. With so many states facing cuts to their education budgets, schools must consider the financial feasibility of establishing a VRC. Some administrators may perceive a VRC as “nice to have” but unaffordable. However, the estimated gain from active recruiting of veteran students far exceeds the costs of the veteran resource center. A VRC will effectively pay for itself; by fostering a supportive community for veterans, more veterans will consider attending that school. Other ways schools can support veterans are to train counselors, staff, faculty and other students on specific veteran issues, include a veteran student lounge in the VRC where activities and friendly competitions can be held, and promote student clubs like the SVA. Vet-to-vet mentoring programs have also been reported as helpful. O

Alexander Miscione serves as the veterans chair on the American Council of Military Education Region 1, and has represented Coastline Community College at various military installations in San Diego. For more information, contact KMI Editor-in-Chief Jeff McKaughan at jeffm@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.

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Whether at an in-person networking event or at a virtual gathering of employers, career fairs consistently offer hiring opportunities to veterans.

By Laural Hobbes MAE Correspondent

Program/Family Member Employment Assistance Program at Henderson Hall, in Arlington, Va. “Make sure you get a business card or name and phone number and follow up with that representative! If you leave a good lasting impression on the recruiter, they will in turn circulate your resume to other recruiters if they don’t have an open position for your skill sets.” Among other benefits, career fair attendees also have the opportunity to practice their ‘elevator pitch.’ “If you’re not comfortable talking about yourself, a career fair is a great way to get over it,” said Alfred Poor, Ph.D., Advice on the Floor the author of 7 Success Secrets That Every College Student Needs to Know! “Practice explaining Networking is possibly the most valuable opporwho you are and what you have to offer a company, tunity at any career fair, as personal contacts can and after you’ve done it for a couple dozen repregreatly increase your chances of getting hired. In sentatives at a career fair, you’ll feel much more order to make a good impression, servicemembers at ease.” and veterans should plan to dress for success. “First Attendees can also take advantage of a wealth impressions are lasting and very influential on stuof knowledgeable employers at a career fair to dents’ candidacy for a position,” said Cole. learn more about industries in general. “Employ“We tell students to approach the employer with Lauren Cole ers want to hire people who can solve problems for a firm handshake and steady eye contact,” she conthem and deliver value,” said Poor. “If you know tinued. “Employers are impressed when job seekers lscole@troy.edu what problems their industry is facing in general, have knowledge about their company, so it is best to you’ll be in a much better position to explain how you can help. do some basic research from the Internet on all employers—espeInterview the representatives at the career fair to learn about cially those you are most interested in—that will be attending the their industry and its current challenges.” fair. While networking at career fairs, we encourage all students Lastly, career fairs also provide an opportunity to learn more and alumni to lay out a brief summary statement which includes about a specific company. “HR staff and hiring managers say that their experience, educational background and career goals.” one of the biggest mistakes that job applicants make is that they “Make sure you have targeted resumes in hand to give out don’t know enough about the company where they want to get to those employers of interest; objective statements should hired,” said Poor. “Interview the representatives and learn more differ depending on the employer,” recommended Stephanie about the company and the challenges and opportunities it has.” Hechtkopf, manager of the Transition Assistance Management

Veterans have a unique set of skills that range from leadership development to discipline and organization—all valuable traits in the eyes of an employer. A career fair, which attracts hiring representatives from many companies, is the perfect opportunity for veterans to show off these traits and meet prospective employers. “Veterans should be self-assured that their extensive training and experience will make them a unique candidate,” said Lauren Cole, the coordinator of career services at Troy University.

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Henderson Hall Henderson Hall, a U.S. Marine Corps installation in Arlington, Va., holds a career and education fair twice a year—once in spring, and again in fall. “While our target market is Marines, the fairs are open to all servicemembers and Department of Defense personnel,” said Doriann Geller, marketing officer. “Our strategy is to present the education piece as a prelude to, or enhancement of, employment opportunities. The employers who attend know the defense market and can speak their language, and DoD personnel bring the skill sets [they’re looking for], so it’s a great fit for both. Educators know that servicemembers have experience that translates to course credit, plus benefits to assist in paying for their education.” In order to select the employers who attend, career services staff at Henderson Hall send out invitations to companies and federal agencies who have participated in previous fairs and transition events. “We also try to attract new employers so we have a diverse offering for the servicemembers attending the fair,” said Hechtkopf. Spouses are also encouraged to attend the career and education fairs, and to take advantage

Stephanie Hechtkopf

stephanie.hechtkopf@usmc.mil

Alfred Poor, Ph.D.

of other resources on the installation. The family member employment assistance program at Henderson Hall dedicates resources to helping spouses and family members obtain employment through workshops, hiring events and one-on-one assistance. “For example, they hold workshops on resume writing and how to prepare for a job interview, so when spouses or family members attend the fair they can be more prepared,” said Geller. Additionally, many of the universities that attend have programs tailored specifically for military spouses.

Berkeley College Berkeley College, which has campuses in New York, New Jersey and online, conducts career fairs every academic quarter, said Brian D. Maher, the interim vice president of career services. The college offers traditional career fairs as well as offers virtual ones. In order to participate, companies must have ready-to-hire positions, and employers are chosen based on available full-time hiring opportunities. In regards to advice he’d give to students attending one a career fair, Maher said, “Research the employers scheduled to appear at the career fair in order to be better informed prior to speaking with

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MAE  8.7 | 15


and internship search strategies, and networking opportunities with employers.

their representatives; dress appropriately; and be informed about the company’s mission, values, and key products and services.”

Troy University

University of California, Riverside The University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) career center hosts over 11 career fairs throughout the year. “These career fairs are intended to involve a variety of companies appealing to the entire student population,” said Frank Ramirez, assistant director for counseling and career development at the career center. “However, some companies that attend these fairs have a special interest in recruiting our student veterans, and I see the career center’s role as preparing student veterans to succeed at all career fairs.” The career center at UC Riverside also recently developed a program tailored specifically for its student veteran population. Operation VETS (Veteran Employment, Transition Success), a 10-week program, provides career development instruction and resources to student veterans. Interested veterans can get access to resources that help with resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, graduate and professional school preparation, job

Doriann Geller

gellerd@usmc-mccs.org

Brian D. Maher

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Hiring Our Heroes

Hiring Our Heroes, a nationwide initiative set up by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, combines hiring fairs and employment workshops with invaluable web tools, available at www.uschamber.com/hiringourheroes. The initiative helps veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment through its virtual talent community, which identifies jobs in high-demand employment regions and industries across the country. It also helps returning veterans and their spouses connect directly with employers, complete self assessments and identify critical career paths to designated occupations, said Romualdo Teh, vice president of client services at ConnectEDU, a company partnering with Hiring Our Heroes.   “Talent communities are about affinity and engagement,” said Teh. “They differ from job boards and LinkedIn because they unite candidates and employers with a shared interest—like military service in this case—and build a talent environment around that interest. The organization or employers can target their messages accordingly and bring in related resources, like events, training, and content. This builds excitement and camaraderie and makes it a real community. Hiring Our Heroes also integrates with LinkedIn, which we see as an external networking layer that enhances the Hiring Our Heroes talent community. All of these factors together facilitate a great fit on both sides of the hiring equation.” Hiring Our Heroes also offers employment workshops for veterans at many of its hiring fairs. Topics might include executing a successful job search, understanding current market conditions, updating resumes, building engaging cover letters, and practicing interviewing techniques. 

bdm@berkeleycollege.edu

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Sherri Aufman, graduate enrollment manager – aufman@rmu.edu, 412-397-5229

Troy University, which has locations in several states, countries and online, holds one career fair and one education fair each spring and fall semester. One new initiative is the “Hire a Veteran” campaign. “We are striving to incorporate information for employers, who are participating in our career fairs and recruiting efforts, concerning their eligibility for a tax credit if they hire a veteran or other military personnel as a result of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011,” said Cole. All employers are welcome to attend Troy University’s career fairs, as long as they are interested in hiring students for full-time jobs, part-time jobs, or internships. Faculty are also considering future plans to hold a virtual career fair that interested employers and all enrolled Troy University servicemember and veteran students.

Veteran Recruiting Services Universities aren’t the only entities hosting successful virtual career fairs. Veteran Recruiting Services offers virtual environments www.MAE-kmi.com


occupation specialty to jobs available with Veteran Recruiting similar to career fairs that allow veterans to research veteranServices’ civilian partners. “Once they see the job, they can click friendly employers from the convenience of a personal computer. on it, apply directly with the employer from there, or they can Veteran Recruiting Services hosts virtual career fairs in an online go into that employer’s booth and chat with the environment available at www.veteranrecruiting.com recruiter. It’s an easy way to define what they’re that enables job seekers to communicate with potenlooking for, because the person getting out of the tial employers. “The premise behind the virtual career military may know the direct equivalent of what fairs is we bring them to you—so the job seeker and they did in the military in the civilian world, but the employer can meet and interact in real time, they may not realize all of the peripheral jobs they regardless of location or physical disability,” said Kevin could also be qualified for,” said O’Brien. O’Brien, managing partner of Veteran Recruiting Veteran Recruiting Services started to track Services. the amount of veterans getting jobs from their Each participating company has its own virtual virtual career fair in September 2011, when the booth, which contains links to the employer’s career initially entered into an agreement partnership page website and other relevant information and Kevin O’Brien with the White House’s Joining Forces. The offilive chat capabilities. The website also hosts video cial account as of July 2013 was 31,000 hires. interviews after the career fair. “There’s essentially “When you think about the success of [virtual career fairs] in everything except the handshake,” said O’Brien. such a short period of time, it’s not that one is better than the Unlike a physical career fair, Veteran Recruiting Services’ virother; it’s just that the traditional career fair is antiquated. In a tual environment never closes. “We’re more of a virtual recruitlot of cases, employers aren’t even accepting resumes—they tell ment center,” O’Brien explained. “Most of our employers have you to go back and apply online. With the virtual career fair, obvia booth for the year, so they have an annual sponsorship. That ously you’re already online,” said O’Brien. O leaves their booth open all the time.” When veterans go into the career fair environment, they should first use the skills translator, which allows them to search For more information, contact KMI Editor-in-Chief Jeff McKaughan at jeffm@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for jobs according to location, key word and job title. Perhaps for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com. most importantly, it also allows them to translate their military

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CLASS NOTES Agencies Work to Bolster Education Outcomes Several government agencies are working on initiatives to improve educational success rates for servicemembers, veterans and their families, senior Department of Veterans Affairs and consumer protection officials told lawmakers on July 23. Curtis L. Coy, deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity for VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), testified with several other witnesses before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on educational outcomes for military members and veterans. Holly Petraeus, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s assistant director for the Office of Servicemember Affairs, also testified. A central question was whether veterans and serving troops are unscrupulously recruited by some for-profit schools. As Petraeus explained, a “90-10” provision in law that is meant to protect students actually creates a loophole some schools are exploiting. She said the rule requires for-profit colleges to get at least 10 percent of their revenues from a source other than Title IV, which covers federal student financial aid programs. The rule is meant to ensure that a college does not exist solely on federal funds, Petraeus said, but although tuition assistance and the Post-9/11 GI Bill are federally funded, they fall into the 10 percent category of the 90-10 rule. “This means that for every servicemember using [tuition assistance] or GI Bill funds, as well as the spouse or child of a servicemember in the case of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, that a for-profit college recruits, the college can then go out and enroll nine other students who are using Title IV funds,” Petraeus said. “And that can be a problem.” This has given some for-profit colleges an incentive to see servicemembers as “nothing more than dollar signs in uniform,” and to use unscrupulous marketing techniques to draw them in, Petraeus added. Coy said that while VA defers to the Education Department on the 90-10 calculation, “we recognize the argument for including the [GI Bill] in the 90 percent limit on federal funding.” He also noted, though, that a change in the 90-10 rule could leave some schools ineligible to receive federal funds. “Our concern is to ensure that veterans are not adversely affected by any proposed changes,” he said, “or to mitigate them to the extent possible.” VA and the VBA have collaborated with multiple agencies since 2001 to inform veteran students about their educational opportunities, he said, and resources are available online from VA, VBA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help potential students assess aptitude, plan a course of study and compare education costs. VA also has placed vocational rehabilitation counselors at military installations across the country, Coy added, and will have counselors on 90 college campuses by the end of the fiscal year. By Karen Parrish

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Baker College of Flint to Fast-forward Photonics and Laser Program Baker College of Flint has received nearly $200,000 in a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that fast-forwards the state’s first photonics and laser technology associate degree program being launched fall quarter. Classes begin September 30. The NSF award allocates $199,757 over three years to help create Baker’s photonics program, advance and enlarge Baker’s photonics lab, educate the first group of students, and develop outreach programs that encourage high school students to consider careers in photonics. The result will be a model for other colleges interested in photonics nationwide. The grant is part of the NSF advanced technological education program that supports efforts to improve the knowledge and skills of technicians who work in high technology fields. “We’ve listened to many of the 50-plus companies in Southeast Michigan that work in the areas of photonics and lasers,” said Anca Sala, Ph.D., engineering and computer

technology dean at Baker College of Flint. Their expressed need for trained technicians is loud and clear. Graduates of our program will be well positioned for successful careers in Michigan or anywhere in the nation.” According to the National Center for Optics and Photonics Education, the approximate 30 colleges in the U.S. that offer photonics instruction are estimated to graduate 250 to 300 technicians annually. This is about one-third of the industry’s projected demand of 800 new photonics technicians each year through 2017. In Michigan, Mi-Light, a photonics cluster, was formed December 2012 to support the state’s photonics-related businesses with the goal of growing the state’s talent pool to expand the photonics industry and stimulate innovation. Sala is a founding member and inaugural secretary for Mi-Light. “We will do whatever we can to support Baker’s new program,” said Michelle Stock, Ph.D., inaugural board chair of Mi-Light and president of mlstock Consulting.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University—Worldwide Awarded 10-Year Contract Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University—Worldwide will continue to be the only institution offering face-to-face aviation courses to members of the U.S. military stationed in Europe, according to a contract with the Department of Defense that began August 1. “We’re very pleased that DoD continues to value the education offered at our Worldwide campuses in Europe,” said Worldwide Chancellor John R. Watret, Ph.D. “Being able to provide world-class aviation instruction to our service men and women stationed in Europe is an important part of the university’s mission.” Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide campuses have been operating in Europe under a military contract since 1974. The contract, commonly referred to as the Tri-Service Education contract, is for 10 years—one base year with nine option years. It allows Embry-Riddle Worldwide to provide undergraduate and graduate degree programs to Army, Navy and Air Force servicemembers and civilians on U.S. military installations within the United States European Command. “The award of this new contract ensures seamless continuity of our service in Europe to Embry-Riddle Worldwide students and prospects,” said William J. Muldoon, vice chancellor of campus operations. “We value our longstanding partnership with the U.S. military in Europe and are proud to help soldiers, sailors, and airmen achieve their educational goals.”

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Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

New Online Doctor of Information Technology Program Introduced Successful leaders in today’s IT industry require the enterprise expertise essential for understanding how organizational structure and operational functions can impact growth and success. To prepare future IT leaders, Walden University is offering a new online Doctor of Information Technology (D.I.T.) program, designed to enhance students’ technical expertise while developing the leadership skills they need to guide their organization in an increasingly competitive marketplace. “Organizations today are looking for senior-level managers who have a combination of strong leadership and advanced technical skills. Walden’s Doctor of Information Technology program helps students develop that dual skill set through application-based learning and case study research,” said Dr. L. Ward Ulmer, associate dean of the College of Management and Technology. Students in this applied doctoral program use problem-based learning simulators, research seminars, residencies and other learning formats to analyze relevant IT scenarios and develop solutions they can implement in their career. Students will explore qualitative and quantitative research methods and complete a

Military Spouse Career Summit Date Announced

doctoral study demonstrating their ability to examine, critique and synthesize knowledge, theory and experience in an applied IT project. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in the computer and information systems management field is expected to grow 18 percent by 2020. The D.I.T. program prepares students for senior-level positions in industry and academia, such as chief information officer, chief technology officer, IS manager, IT strategist, and higher education faculty and administrator positions. Walden’s D.I.T. program is designed for students with technical educational and professional backgrounds. Students who have completed a technical master’s degree program within the past 10 years may also be eligible to receive course transfer credits that can save them time and tuition. The D.I.T. joins the existing portfolio of program offerings in the School of Information Systems and Technology including: M.S. in information systems, M.S. in information technology, Master of Information Systems Management, B.S. in computer information systems, B.S. in information technology and graduate certificate in information systems.

The National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) announced the third annual Military Spouse Career Summit will be held October 18-19 at the Mary M. Gates Learning Center in Alexandria, Va. The Military Spouse Career Summit is designed to ensure that military spouses are prepared to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them. Past speakers include Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Dr. Janet Breslin-Smith, spouse of the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia; and John Berry, then director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. This year, NMSN is pleased to announce the addition of the Military Spouse Small Works Art Exhibition. This juried show will give military spouses the opportunity to display their talents and sell their works. Sue Hoppin, founder of NMSN, said, “We’re thrilled to be able to highlight the talents of our military spouse artists and photographers and provide an opportunity for them to exhibit and sell their artwork. This art exhibition fits in nicely with NMSN’s core mission to educate military spouses about the full spectrum of career options available to them. It’s also exciting for us to provide a venue that allows our civilian friends a glimpse of our world—the artwork submitted reflecting this year’s theme of ‘Together We Serve’ will provide a window into the military lifestyle, helping to bridge the civilian-military gap. Although less than 1 percent serves, we can all support. We hope that the community will come out and support this inaugural Military Spouse Art Exhibit.” Registration and information for the 2013 Military Spouse Career Summit can be found at www.milspousesummit.com. Contact media@milspousenetwork.org for sponsorship information.

Saint Leo University Receives Grant for Adaptive Learning Course Development Saint Leo University President Arthur F. Kirk Jr. announced the university has received a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to launch adaptive learning technologies in one of its core business courses. The funding will pay for new software tools Saint Leo will use in the redesign of the online version of a 300-level course, Principles of Marketing. Principles of Marketing is required of all students pursuing undergraduate degrees within the Donald R. Tapia School of Business at Saint Leo University, whether they are studying online, or in a traditional classroom setting. The redesign will take the existing online course and develop marketing scenarios where the student is in charge of making decisions for a business, and where results will be returned based on those decisions. He/she will also have to justify those decisions by showing mastery of particular content. Additionally, the course designers will be able to evaluate how easy or difficult it will be for the faculty member to use adaptive lessons and develop course materials. “Saint Leo is well-established among universities as a leader in online learning, and we are constantly seeking ways to progress,” said Kirk. “We are www.MAE-kmi.com

delighted that this grant will help us continue to improve. The results of this course redesign may be applicable to many of our other online courses and teaching strategies, and benefit even more students.”   The project will be led by Dr. Susan Colaric, assistant vice president of instructional technology, and John Lax, lead instructor for the marketing course. Dr. Colaric explained that a course redesign like this only recently became possible, and requires substantial funding to pursue.  “The learning theories that form the basis for adaptive learning aren’t new,” Colaric said. “But the technology has finally been developed that allows faculty and instructional designers to create adaptive lessons without needing to understand computer programming. Our goal is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our lessons by providing instant intelligent feedback exactly when it is needed, and dynamically serving educational content to students based on rules that the faculty controls. The result will be that each student gets a customized learning path based on their demonstrated understanding of presented concepts.” MAE  8.7 | 19


Benefits Administrator

Q& A

Overseeing Education Benefits to Veterans, Servicemembers and Families Robert M. Worley II Director Education Service Veterans Affairs Robert M. Worley II was appointed director of Education Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs on March 29, 2012. In this capacity, Worley provides executive level oversight in the department for policy, planning, and integration of education programs administered by the Veterans Benefits Administration. Prior to this assignment, he served as the director of programs, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for developing, integrating, evaluating and analyzing the Air Force Future Budget Program of $600 billion across the Future Years Defense Program. Worley has held numerous leadership positions leading intercontinental ballistic missile, satellite command/control, space surveillance, missile warning, and satellite launch operations. Previous assignments include commander of the 50th Operations Group, 50th Space Wing, Schriever Air Force Base, Colo.; chief, Space Superiority Division, Directorate of Programs, deputy chief of staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, Air Force Headquarters, Washington, D.C.; and commander, 30th Space Wing, and director of the Western Test Range, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Worley earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior in 1978 from the U.S. Air Force Academy and holds a master’s degree in industrial psychology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. In 1981, he was recognized as a distinguished graduate, Squadron Officer School Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and other service-related awards. Q: How did your background as a major general in the Air Force help to prepare you for your current role as the director of the VA’s education service? A: As a flag officer in the Air Force [AF], I had the honor of commanding several great units, but also I led several diverse staff elements both at Air Force Space Command and in the Pentagon on the Air Staff. So I have had a lot of experience leading staffs dealing with policy, regulations, training, legislative issues, strategic planning and budgeting. My experience as a general officer also prepared me for dealing with large bureaucracies, tough political issues and resource constraints. There is another consistency between my military experience and what I am doing now that is probably most key, and that is I have the privilege of leading an 20 | MAE 8.7

amazingly talented group of professionals who are dedicated to our mission of serving our nation’s veterans. Q: What does your position entail as director of the VA’s education service? What are your priorities this year? A: My position as director of the Education Service involves overseeing all aspects of the administration of education benefits to veterans, servicemembers and families. This includes what we would call legacy benefits implemented prior to 9/11, as well as the Post-9/11 GI Bill which began on August 1, 2009. My first priority is to do everything in my power to ensure timely and accurate processing of education claims; this is job one, and we must never lose sight of it. Beyond this, we are working hard on implementing the provisions of Executive Order 13607, Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Servicemembers, Veterans, Spouses and Other Family Members. This includes many important provisions being implemented through a robust interagency collaboration between the VA and the Departments of Education, Defense, and Justice, as well as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. One of the very first provisions implemented was to register the term “GI Bill” as a trademark to assist us with addressing some of the fraudulent practices on the Internet, such as websites www.MAE-kmi.com


that portrayed themselves as official when they were, in fact, not. Additionally, the provisions include development of a centralized complaint system for beneficiaries to register complaints of deceptive or fraudulent practices by schools; a comparison tool to allow beneficiaries to compare schools based on affordability and value; and developing and capturing outcome measures in order to assess the success of beneficiaries using GI Bill benefits. Another related high priority for us is implementation of Public Law 112-249, Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012. This bill, enacted on January 10 of this year, enhances and builds upon many of the provisions of the President’s Executive Order. Q: What are you the most proud of accomplishing over the course of your career? A: During the latter part of my AF career I led the process whereby the AF determined how to budget approximately $600 billion to operate the AF and acquire and maintain new weapons systems. This was a huge challenge in a resource-constrained environment and one which involved the collaboration of key military and civilian leaders with whom I had the privilege to work. I am also proud to have had several opportunities related to the development, deployment and operation of the Global Positioning System, or GPS. Not too many people realize this system was created by the AF, which operates and maintains the satellites on orbit today for the millions of users around the world at absolutely no charge. Finally, I am proud to have had the honor of being a commander of several outstanding units whose dedicated and talented people inspired me every day. As far as my short VA career goes [as of this interview, Worley had held his position for approximately a year and four months], we have made a great deal of progress in automation of claims processing as well as the great work on Executive Order and the Public Law mentioned earlier. Q: The Post-9/11 GI Bill is now going into its fifth year. With the majority of forces having drawn down from Afghanistan,

I think it’s safe to predict that an influx of veterans will soon make it a priority to pursue their education goals. In regards to the current backlog in claims, how is the VA positioning itself to help new users of the Post-9/11 GI Bill? A: As I alluded to earlier, we have made great strides in automating claims processing, especially for Post-9/11 GI Bill supplemental claims. The backlog we had last fall has been eliminated, and to put that into numbers for you, last October, the peak of fall enrollment, we had about 213,000 pending claims. By the end of May, that number was down to about 50,000. Similarly, claims processing times have dramatically decreased to an average of six days, down from the 21 days it was taking last fall. We have implemented new automation capabilities which process approximately 45 percent of claims without being touched by a human, and another 30 percent are partially automated, again saving significant processing time. I believe we are well poised at this point for the anticipated increases in claims as more servicemembers transition to civilian life and take advantage of their hard-earned GI Bill benefits. Q: Earlier this year, the new Transition Assistance Program [TAP] was launched through a partnership among the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs. What has the reaction been to the new TAP, and how are you measuring success? A: While the TAP program is not directly under my responsibility, I can tell you that the initial reaction has been very positive. VA has completely overhauled its transition presentations using dynamic and interactive delivery methods. The new TAP program being implemented today is a mandatory program for transitioning servicemembers which ensures that they are fully prepared to meet the challenges of pursuing their post-service education and career goals. In spite of our extensive use of technologies, one of our continuing challenges

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has always been how to ensure servicemembers and veterans are aware of and fully understand the benefits to which they are entitled. TAP is a powerful experience to make sure transitioning servicemembers are fully equipped. Q: Has the VA promoted any other new initiatives related to education that you would like to tell us about? A: Yes, I’d like to highlight our “Factors to Consider When Choosing a School” guide, which offers future students steps to take when researching, choosing and attending a school. This and a wealth of additional information on educational benefits can be accessed at: http://gibill.va.gov/documents/ factsheets/choosing_a_school.pdf. In addition, I would like to mention CareerScope, which is a free, new tool featured on www.gibill.va.gov. It measures a student’s aptitude and interests through a self-administered online test, identifying potential career paths. Another aspect of the Public Law I would like to mention has to do with putting out a more strategic campaign to publicize Chapter 36, which is a vocational and educational counseling benefit that is underused. We’re also working hard on how best to measure the success of those using VA educational benefits. This has been an extensive dialogue between the agencies implementing the Executive Order to come to agreement on certain success measures … things like

graduation rates, persistence, retention, course completion, and ultimately employment and salary, etc. We are planning to begin collecting these measures soon in a regulated way for cohorts of veterans. It will be a while before enough time goes by for us to be able to assess these measures and draw any conclusions, but this is something that needs to happen and we’re dedicated to getting it done. The final item is our work to develop streamlined tools that allow veterans to compare educational institutions based on affordability and value. The VA is charged with putting together this comparison tool and we plan to provide more veteran-specific types of information, such as veteran population and the presence of a veteran organization on campus. As time goes on we will include veteran-specific success measures such as graduation rates in the tool. Q: In a blog entry posted in late May, you wrote that the VA was developing a “centralized interagency system for military and veteran students to register complaints about schools not complying with the Principles.” Can you please tell us about the new system and when it’s expected to launch? A: This is a key requirement under the President’s executive order. While the new public law requires a similar system, that’s broadened to positive feedback as well as complaints. Work on this centralized complaint system has been a strong

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collaborative effort between the Departments of Defense, Education, Veterans Affairs and Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Trade Commission. The idea here is to provide an avenue for servicemembers, veterans and other beneficiaries to complain about schools that may not be complying with the Principles of Excellence, in the sense that they may be engaging in deceptive recruiting practices or other types of fraudulent activity—things that are serious but not related to the delivery of their educational benefits. We have other avenues in the VA for beneficiaries to address issues related to the processing or delivery of their benefits. We will be able to take complaints from veteran students through our website at www.gibill.va.gov or through the eBenefits website [www.ebenefits.va.gov]. An individual would be able to log onto the site and provide their information, their complaint, what they believe a satisfactory resolution would be—from their perspective—and submit that. It would be received in our office and “triaged.” Each of the agencies such as DoD will have its own intake portal, but we will be able to communicate with each other in terms of sharing, where appropriate, these complaints. The school, the subject of the complaint, will have an opportunity to provide information related to the complaint and then we’ll try to resolve it as best we can. Ultimately, these complaints will reside in a database called the Sentinel Database, which is managed and maintained by the Federal

Trade Commission. It’s a database that’s already in existence today.The database will be accessible to support the work that VA and State Approving Agencies conduct to ensure schools are compliant with statutory and regulatory requirements for administering GI Bill benefits. Q: What education programs or policies inspire you the most? A: As I think about my relatively short time here, we’re approaching the 1 millionth student who will be a beneficiary of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits. I’ve mentioned over $30 billion has been paid out to our beneficiaries. I think what inspires me is the national commitment this represents to our nation’s veterans, servicemembers and their families, to honor their service by providing a ready means to prepare them for success after their service. This is a good thing for our nation, and it’s a good thing for our veterans and their families. Q: Do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share with our readership? A: I would just say I consider it a true privilege and honor to be part of this VA team, especially to be part of the Veterans Benefits Administration and to be leading the Education Service. I can’t think of a better place to be but here, serving our nation’s veterans and families as part of a highly dedicated and talented team. O

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Message Received: Veterans in Writing Programs How three different entities—a university, a nonprofit and a scholarship foundation—help veterans fine-tune their writing skills.

By Laural Hobbes, MAE Correspondent Ask any English major: Although communication skills are oftentimes taken for granted, the ability to write effectively is invaluable. Beyond the practical application of assuring the comprehension of a precise message, mastering both the technical and creative aspects of writing has infinite benefits. By enabling an author or poet to shape a compelling fictional world or facilitating a reporter to create a nonfiction narrative, fine writing and communication skills will ensure that a reader receives not just a message, but the intended message. For veterans and their families, writing is a valuable venue for self-expression, a constructive way to process war experiences, and a way to make a living. And academic programs, nonprofit organizations, and scholarship foundations are there to help them fine-tune those skills.

Western Michigan University In order to earn a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Western Michigan University (WMU), students must work on MFA projects, which typically consist of the fruits of a student’s three-years in the program—a short story or poetry collection, a novel, or a full-length play. MFA students take workshop classes and forms classes in their primary genre (the one in which they were admitted to the program) and secondary genres, and literature classes. “But any MFA student’s project or thesis would likely take the form of a story collection, poetry collection, play, or novel,” said Thisbe Nissen, a writing 24 | MAE 8.7

WMU offers the Prague Summer Proprofessor at WMU. Although WMU no gram, which allows students to be teaching longer has a graduate program in creative assistants for writers each summer. “It is nonfiction, many students write nonficnot free, but the cost is greatly deferred,” tion outside of the program. said Brandon Davis Jennings, a veteran and The fiction program has been described a Ph.D. candidate at WMU. “And you get to as extremely competitive. “In the three go to Prague. I worked with Robert Evers years I’ve been here, we’ve usually gotten and met a lot of great people there.” 50 or so applications to the MFA in fiction, Jennings echoed Nisand have accepted as few as sen’s sentiment about the one and only as many as four caliber of students in the in a given year,” said Nisprogram. “People here are sen. “The writers we accept serious about writing, and into the MFA in fiction are that is extremely imporusually very accomplished, tant, to find a sense of polished and serious writers community, for all writlooking to hone their craft ers,” he said. “A free among likeminded peers. It’s exchange of ideas is somehelpful for me, in reading thing I suspect many vetapplications, to have a few Thisbe Nissen erans aren’t used to in a examples of an applicant’s structured classroom setwork—a couple/few differthisbe.nissen@wmich.edu ting. I know that we’re all ent stories, or a story and a supposed to have a say in novel excerpt. Really, though, the military too, but that’s I’m looking for writers whose also usually not the case— work has a spark of somefor better and worse. If thing exciting and promising. someone has to shovel the An application story doesn’t, urine-soaked-sand outside for example, need to be pera bunker and there is a fect or publishable as is, but guy with two stripes and a needs to show me what that guy with one, then the guy writer is capable of in terms with one stripe is going to of constructing a sentence, or Brandon Davis Jennings be shoveling the sand.” creating a character, painting There are many factors a place, or describing a detail. to consider when it comes to selecting an I have to read an application and think: MFA program, including funding. “If you ‘Wow, I really want to see what this writer can afford it and you want to pay for it, might be capable of if they were given the then good for you. But any veteran who chance to focus intensively on their work has just left the service and wants to get a for three years.’” www.MAE-kmi.com


Suggested Reading List Ron Capps: I really liked Brandon Friedman’s book The War I Always Wanted and Colby Buzzell’s book My War: Killing Time in Iraq. Thisbe Nissen: Let me say that I think Brandon [Davis Jennings] himself is already a writer to watch. He’s publishing all over and winning all sorts of awards—a simple Google search for his name will show that very clearly! He’s pretty spectacular. You may already be aware of this, also, but The Iowa Review recently inaugurated a writing award for veterans (http://iowareview.uiowa.edu/veteranswritingcontest) and published the winner and finalists in their spring issue. The winner, Hugh Martin, is a writer I know Brandon will talk about—he’s spoken to me about him on numerous occasions. His website is: www.hughmartin.blogspot.com. Brandon Davis Jennings: The Things They Carried is [one book about war] I’ve spent a great deal of time reading. It’s a classic American work in the sense that it captures an interesting view of a time period in our history, and it captures it artfully. That, the artful rendering of our world, is ultimately what I think we need to look for in our search for this generation’s “best” [war] writers (I won’t pretend there will be a list that is any more accurate in gauging this than all those ridiculous Guitar World Top 100 guitarists lists). But my expectations for what that means are different from other people’s. I can only do my best to share what affects me with the rest of the world; that’s all any of us can do. Anyone who says that he “knows” this text or that text is the shining example is either joking or is a person you shouldn’t listen to. Hugh J. Martin, author of The Stick Soldiers, is a hell of a poet, and a friend of mine (not necessarily in that order). So you see there is already bias in this response. But the fact is that I don’t glad-hand people. If I didn’t think his work was good, I would tell him I didn’t think it was good—not praise him publicly. I won’t get into how complicated it is to prove that to anyone. T. Geronimo Johnson, whose book Hold it Till it Hurts was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize this year, is also a writer to pay attention to. He shows two kinds of wars very well, and he does it while at once giving readers a chance to see how human the men who wore uniforms and killed and watched friends die are at home. He does not make them better than they are or worse than they are—something a lot of people try to do. Each reader is going to glean something different from these texts. But I urge readers to be leery of any book jackets that claim the book you are about to read is as powerful as The Iliad, All Quiet on the Western Front, Catch-22 or Slaughterhouse-Five. Anna Lopiccolo: From a military spouse perspective, I really enjoyed Alison Buckholtz's [memoir] Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family During a Time of War. She gave great context to what it’s like on the home front for families with servicmembers over in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since I worked with student veterans at the University of Maryland, I remember being struck by Thomas Gibbons-Neff’s New York Times column about a veteran going back to school [entitled “For a Student Veteran, Graduation is the Next Mission”]. The whole At War section of the New York Times I think is very good.

degree in creative writing should never let anyone talk them into paying for an MFA. Western Michigan University has funding for those who get in,” said Jennings. A further draw for veterans is that WMU has a large population of “nontraditional” students. “So you might have an age range of 16ish up to 60 or even older. It makes for an interesting mix of ideas that might not be there in places where there are just 18-22 year-olds semester after semester— nothing against 18-22 year-olds. Variety is good; that’s all I’m saying,” said Jennings. www.MAE-kmi.com

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Veterans Writing Project The Veterans Writing Project, an organization based in Washington, D.C., that encourages military personnel, veterans and their families to write, launched in 2011. The nonprofit organization regularly runs writing seminars and workshops for veterans, active duty servicemembers, Reserve personnel and their families. “We work with people at all levels of writing experience,” said founder and fellow veteran Ron Capps. “Our curriculum is designed to hit sort of

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veterans and their families. While the a middle ground: challenging brand-new awards vary, since some scholars are also writers while not being too pedestrian for using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the average more advanced writers. All we ask is that amount of scholarship is between $8,000 participants want to tell stories about the and $10,000 a year. military experience. If they also want to tell In December 2012, Tillman Scholar other stories, that’s terrific. But we’re tryAnna Lopiccolo, a Navy spouse, received ing to give veterans, servicemembers and a Master of Journalism with a multi-plattheir families the skills and confidence to form focus from the Philip Merrill College tell stories about the military experience.” of Journalism at the University of MaryThe curriculum, Writing War: A Guide land. “What I love about nonfiction and to Telling Your Own Story, serves as a journalism is that you get to share real guide for writing fiction and nonfiction, stories about people, places and delves into the seemand issues that the general ingly basic questions, “Why public might not have heard do we write?” and “What’s about or been aware of comdifferent about writing the pletely,” she said. military experience?” It is As a graduate student, available to purchase online. Lopiccolo interned at Slate Multiple veterans’ writing magazine, but she ultigroups use the curriculum, mately plans to use her including some VA hospijournalism skills to suptals, as it includes a theraport military-related orgapeutic writing component. Anna Lopiccolo nizations and write about Veterans and their fammilitary family issues. ily members come from all “Freelance work may be the most porover the country to take part in seminars table job for me as a military spouse. My and workshops. “Sometimes we’re able to husband is active-duty Navy and hoping support their travel or find sponsors for to continue towards a 20-plus-year career, them,” said Capps. In 2013, for example, which means we have many more twoThe George Washington University sponto three-year tours in different places sored summer workshops and paid the ahead of us. Extra multimedia skills, more travel and lodging expenses for 40 parmedia connections, and a re-energized ticipants. purpose as a journalist were all things I The Veterans Writing Project publishes wanted to get.” a literary journal (www.o-dark-thirty.org) At the University of Maryland, College and books (www.bcgbooks.org). “We also Park, Lopiccolo took advantage of a host have a mentoring program that links more of military resources, including a graduadvanced writers with professionals to ate assistantship on campus with the really dig into special projects,” said Capps. veteran student life (VSL) office, which Capps emphasized the importance of allowed her to work with the student finding like-minded people with whom veteran population. “The biggest tangible to form a writing group. “It’s not hard. aspect of the VSL is the veterans center on All you need is a venue, a handful of likecampus and the social, academic, scholarminded writers who are willing to share ship and career programs it puts on,” she their work among the group and accept said. “VSL also keeps in close contact with constructive feedback from the group.” the VA certifying official on campus, who Since the organization’s founding, it handles all the Post-9/11 GI Bill certificahas partnered with The George Washingtions. One of the biggest things you can ton University and the National Endowdo for student veterans is provide them ment for the Arts. New partnerships will with a space where they can meet and get begin this year with the state of North support from each other since they all Carolina, St. Johns University in New York share the common bond of service, and City and Boston University. Maryland has that.” O The Pat Tillman Scholarship Foundation For more information, contact KMI Editor-in-Chief The Pat Tillman Scholarship Foundation gives scholarship money to deserving

Jeff McKaughan at jeffm@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.

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Academic Support for Online Military Learners Military and veteran students should know about the unique academic support services available to online learners. When servicemembers and veterans choose a school to attend, location is an important factor to consider. Servicemembers using tuition assistance may be eventually called to deploy or could change duty stations, while veterans using Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits frequently must balance work and families with their classes. To minimize the chances of stopping out or transferring institutions, many military-affiliated students have turned to online classes, which allow them to take classes anywhere.

St. John’s University Because they provide the opportunity to pursue a degree outside the limited setting of a university campus, online degree classes or even degree programs are an attractive education option for servicemembers and veterans. “Coursework hours are flexible, so military students can avail themselves of academic opportunities regardless of where they are physically located,” said Providence Palastro, assistant dean and director of advising at St. John’s University’s Staten Island campus’ College of Professional Studies. At St. John’s University, assistant deans guide and assist online students. Over the course of each semester, distance learning students receive personal academic advisement from deans, who engage students

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By Laural Hobbes MAE Correspondent

through email and verbal through its independent communication. Online stulearning program. “These dents are also eligible for courses can augment the access to pre-registration to offerings for our veteran stuensure that they can enroll in dents,” said Peter Caughey, the classes they need in order senior editor of the office of to graduate. media relations and news For any technical diffiservices at CU-Boulder. culties that may arise in the “Since military students have virtual classroom, St. John’s a limited time to complete University offers technical their degrees, the addition of Providence Palastro assistance through its disonline classes can provide the palastrp@stjohns.edu tance learning offices. flexibility necessary for them In anticipation of life beyond graduation, to complete more classes each semester and St. John’s University’s career center faculty finish their degrees on time.” are available to assist, guide and place graduCU-Boulder’s Center for Advanced Engiates in various fields of employment. “Our neering and Technology Education offers alumni association is vibrant and provides flexible and convenient online access to networking opportunities across all major graduate courses, certificate programs, graddegree fields,” said Palastro. uate degrees, and professional development coursework in engineering, technology and management. University of Colorado Boulder “In addition to Continuing Education’s term-based online courses, we offer While the University of Colorado Boulder a number of self-paced online courses that (CU-Boulder) has very few active students allow students to fit coursework around the who are also deployed, the veteran stuconstraints of their busy lives,” Caughey dent population is booming. CU-Boulder’s said. “Our military students deployed overveteran student population has increased seas have found the flexibility of self-paced by approximately 25 percent over the last courses ideal for their uncertain schedules.” couple of years. “The real impact of Beyond offering online classes to supplethe drawdown from Afghanistan—as ment physical classroom courses, the school well as the previous departure from provides a multitude of tools and resources Iraq—is a significant increase in to students who are veterans or active duty the number of student vetermilitary members, and gives online students ans coming to CU-Boulder and full access to tutoring services, financial aid using the Post-9/11 GI Bill,” said resources and career advising personnel. Caughey. Online students have access to ContinuAlthough CU-Boulder does ing Education’s online “composition hub” not currently offer any full undergraduate degree programs online, its division of Continuing Education provides many online courses

MAE  8.7 | 27


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tutoring service free of charge. “We hire and train both graduate students and undergraduates to offer writing help, and this summer we’re beginning our ‘multi-literacies’ tutoring program,” said Caughey. “We encourage faculty to include digital multimedia assignments—e.g., digital storytelling and multimedia persuasive projects—and provide tutorial support for students producing these assignments. In the future, we’ll offer tutorial support in media literacy, information literacy, research literacy and other competencies as we see needs arise.” Student services staff and tutoring options encourage the retention of CU-Boulder’s military-affiliated population. “We also offer an undergraduate peer teaching presence in some online courses, mostly in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Caughey. “This allows students to have regular access to another undergraduate who has pedagogical training, knows the course content, and has been positioned to help students with individual concerns and issues.” CU-Boulder’s support services go beyond academics. Career counselors can help students with writing specialized resumes and cover letters, interview preparation, searching for internships and jobs, and applying to graduate school. Meanwhile, CU-Boulder’s career services office works closely with the Office of Veteran Affairs to address veteran students’ and alumni career needs. As far as alumni support goes, “The CUBoulder Alumni Association offers the CUBoulder Active Military and Veterans Alumni Society, which supports scholarships for military personnel attending CU-Boulder, mentors current students and provides veterans with employment contacts after graduation,” Caughey said.

requires. This means that a student who is serving our country or working full time can still find the time to pursue their education on their own terms. To us, doing homework at 11 p.m. is no different than doing it at 3 p.m. We work with students who have obligations, be they to our country, their families, or their careers. “Because we are 100 percent online, so too are our academic support services, so deployed servicemembers have the same level of access [as typical students]. We do not limit their ability to access resources because of their service to our country,” Cookson continued. “Generally, though, our instructors are going to be much more flexible with a student who is deployed than one who is simply having trouble with time management— but they’re going to assist either student with developing the skills to be successful. This may mean the instructor provides the deployed student additional time for completing assignments, while assisting the other student with time management skills.” Grantham’s online library is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Our student advising and learning center [SALC] offers tutoring at no cost, and we also have a writing center where students can receive no-cost editing and assistance on their written work. The students also have a personal student advisor, who is their first line of contact at the university for guidance and support,” said Cookson. Tutoring can take place by email, over the phone, and even through Skype. The SALC math center is where students will find tutorials, modules, videos and a dropbox in which they can leave questions for tutors. Students needing help with writing assignments look no further than the SALC writing center, which offers resources that help with APA formatting and citing proper Grantham University research sources, as well as a dropbox in which papers can In order to be readily accesbe submitted at any time for sible to students, Grantham review. University instructors adhere Grantham’s online to best practices regarding career services center proresponse times, grading times vides preand post-graduand classroom interaction. ation appointments to help “Servicemembers, current Chase Cookson students prepare for their or former, as well as military post-collegiate job search. spouses, might find an online ccookson@grantham.edu Known as Grantham Pathdegree at Grantham appealways, the center offers resume writing ing because there’s a purposeful alignment services, interview preparation, one-onbetween our mission and their needs,” said advising regarding career paths, and an Chase Cookson, who is part of the business online job portal for current students and faculty at Grantham University. “We provide alumni. Grantham Pathways also engages the flexibility that a nontraditional student www.MAE-kmi.com


students remotely with a web-conferencing tool. “The virtual tutoring session allows a student and writing specialist to meet one-on-one online while providing the same support as the traditional learning center model. Mercy College plans to expand the tutoring services to math and science,” Cioffi explained. Mercy College Online veteran students have a dedicated technical support team on staff to address Mercy College’s online learning division, unexpected obstacles regarding internet known as Mercy Online, has an affordable, access and an academic advisor to address flexible and individual approach with an unexpected classroom emphasis on distance learning, issues that may arise in a service-relevant programs and deployed student’s unique second career paths for veterans situation. and their families. Veteran alumni have Mercy Online offers the access to Mercy College same academic support and colcareer resources for the rest lege services for military and of their lives. “Our team of veteran online students that is counselors welcomes them available to students learning on to schedule an appointment one of Mercy College’s New York to work on resumes and the campuses: A dedicated online Catherine Cioffi job search process,” said learning academic advisor, techCioffi. Veteran alumni also nical support, a virtual librarian, ccioffi3@mercy.edu have access to Mercy Colonline tutoring services, online lege’s free online job system “Career Mavercareer services, and online counseling serick,” on which employers post job openings vices are all available to military-affiliated targeted to Mercy College students and distance learners. “Mercy Online creates an alumni. environment that helps our military vet“There are very few game-changers that eran online students succeed,” said Catherine alter a person’s life forever,” Cioffi said. “A Cioffi, associate director of public relations. college degree is one of those game changers. When students are first introduced to The alarming jobless rates of our nation’s vetMercy Online’s environment, they watch a erans show that despite their military experiBlackboard course orientation video that orience, a high school diploma or GED as the ents them with the Blackboard Learning sole source of formal education on a resume Management System, the learning platform makes it very difficult to compete for jobs in for Mercy College’s online courses. “Students the current market. During a lifetime, college follow-up the video with an online learning graduates earn more than $1 million more readiness quiz, and the Mercy Online team than high school graduates. One of the most monitors the quiz results and reaches out important things a military servicemember to students that may need additional assiscan do is to understand and maximize is tance,” said Cioffi. their educational benefits through the tuition After orientation, students receive emails assistance program while on active duty, and that provide important links, contact inforthe Post-9/11 GI Bill upon discharge from the mation, instructions and an animated tutorial service. These benefits allow veterans to earn to ensure a successful semester start. Blacka college degree at little or no cost. Attention board 101 workshops and drop-in clinics are to detail remains important not only in the offered virtually as well as at all campuses. service, but also in the navigation of educaAt Mercy College, each semester militional benefits and the college experience. tary veterans communicate with a certifying “As a gunny or senior chief would say, official who will assist them with the GI Bill ‘You can do anything you put your mind to, process. Academic advisors, tutors, technical and don’t you forget it.’” O support and career counselors are also on hand to encourage retention. Mercy Online has partnered with the ColFor more information, contact KMI Editor-in-Chief lege’s Center for Academic Excellence to give Jeff McKaughan at jeffm@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories online students access to a virtual learning at www.mae-kmi.com. center. A virtual writing tutor can work with prospective employers through webinars and events, and hosts information sessions to introduce alumni to employers that are currently hiring. Students and graduates can also participate in a mentoring network as either a mentor or mentee within Pathways.

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Ease of scheduling, flexibility and greater career focus make this academic pathway particularly attractive to students with limited time to complete their degrees.

An accelerated degree program can be an excellent opportunity for a servicemember or veteran to complete a degree in a shorter amount of time—with less cost. Military Advanced Education asked representatives from several universities, “What are the benefits of choosing an

accelerated degree program? Why might this be a particularly convenient option to a servicemember or veteran?”

Janette Kenner Muir, Ph.D. Associate Provost Undergraduate Education George Mason University jmuir@gmu.edu

An accelerated degree program can be a highly valued option for a servicemember or veteran due primarily to the ability to complete a degree in a shorter amount of time with less cost. Ease of scheduling, flexibility with time, and greater career focus make this academic pathway particularly attractive to students with limited time to complete their degrees. Before talking about the advantages to this kind of program, it is important to highlight what is meant by an “accelerated degree.” There are actually two types. First, there are fast-track degree completion programs at the baccalaureate level. These types of accelerated degrees offer online delivery, flexible meeting schedules and the ability to take courses year round. For many adult learners, completion happens when there is flexibility with both scheduling and course-taking patterns. Adult completion programs are advantageous for servicemembers or veterans not only because of the scheduling flexibility, but also because they accept some military credit and/or prior learning experience. The more credit given for these kinds of experiences, the less time needed to complete the bachelor’s degree. For example, at George Mason University, two adult degree pathways currently exist that accept prior learning credit for military work. The Bachelor of Individualized Study and the Bachelor of Applied Science degrees are adult focused, interdisciplinary degrees that consider ACE accredited military training, CLEP work and other types of portfolio assessment for college credit.

30 | MAE 8.7

Another type of accelerated degree is the Bachelor to Masters degree, a popular path at George Mason. Over 50 accelerated master’s degrees exist at Mason, offering students opportunities to begin some of their graduate work while working on their bachelor’s degree. This kind of degree can be very advantageous because it enables an undergraduate to get a head start on master’s level work, potentially saving a year of coursework and building additional credentials in a shorter time period. This ability to do both undergraduate and graduate work with a department allows students the opportunity to delve deeper into an academic area and work with research projects or internships that can result from close faculty relationships. So, put simply, there are three main advantages to accelerated degrees. First, one can finish a college degree in a quicker time—a useful vantage point for servicemembers who may spend short amounts of time in different places. Accelerated programs get students started on the right course of action and work to enable greater completion rates. A second advantage is flexible scheduling. Through online learning and different types of scheduling, servicemembers and veterans can complete credits at a pace that works specifically for them. Additionally, the ability to use prior learning assessment or to accept ACE credits for military training experiences offers a greater ability to satisfy basic general education requirements, apply credits to major, and bank some credits to count toward master’s level work. A third advantage is enhanced work and research experience. Many degree completion programs at George Mason University require some form of internship or experiential learning requirement. Having this hands-on experience provides real-world application and creates networks that can be long-lasting.

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Kristen Bryan Wessel, RN, MSN Assistant Professor Program Director, Nursing Bellevue University

There are many benefits of accelerated degree programs and many reasons why students excel in accelerated degree programs. As the name implies, accelerated degree programs are paced such that the time from program entry to completion is shorter as compared to traditional degree programs. As a result, personal and professional goals may be realized in only months as opposed to years. In part, this is accomplished as a result of credit for prior education and/or experience, though it is also relevant to the fact that course objectives are accomplished in a shorter amount of time. Unlike the traditional semester course schedule, accelerated classes at Bellevue University are on average six weeks in duration. A single course is taken at a time, allowing students to become immersed in the course and focus their attention on course concepts rather than juggling multiple courses. This tends to be an appealing quality of accelerated programs; though the pace is rigorous, students are not overwhelmed by the schedule or the workload. Bellevue University offers accelerated degree programs with unique features not offered by most accelerated programs. One of the features of the undergraduate accelerated degree programs is the option to choose between online and enhanced residential course

Robert E. Jackson Colonel (Ret.) USAF Instructor Ashford University

With a career that took me around the world­—Europe, Southwest Asia, the Pacific and throughout the United States—I am aware of the challenges of moving every couple years and constant deployments. As a [former] police chief, and as a commander of units from 100 to 700 airmen, I am intimately aware of the challenges of pursuing a bachelor’s degree. I obtained my master’s degree while working swings and mids, and was able to complete my degree within two years. I experienced the process of having my credits evaluated and losing credits when transferring to a new university. Before I completed my last class, I received permanent change of station orders, where I had to arrange with my professor to complete assignments early so I could receive my degree. At Ashford University, the first thing military students will notice is the five-week format for our classes, which significantly reduces the time students must commit to a class—it’s similar to taking classes during a shortened summer break in the traditional school environment. We offer accelerated classes year round. Undergraduate classes that run for five weeks start every week. In the accelerated format, students cover the same material as in the traditional format. This accelerated format fits well with the servicemember, as they

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delivery. Enhanced residential, face-to-face courses are held one day/ night a week for students who prefer the structure of a face-to-face class without the hassle of scheduling around several classes each week. The online courses offer greater flexibility and convenience with regard to scheduling. Students with family and work responsibilities are able to fulfill their responsibilities, while also furthering their education and professional marketability. This is also a highly desirable option for members of the military as they can continue to pursue educational goals when relocated or while deployed. Specific to the accelerated degree programs at Bellevue University, the cohort format provides students with a supportive peer network as they progress through the program. The cohort learning format emphasizes applied, active learning as students advance through the courses together, sharing professional knowledge and learning from the diverse experiences and viewpoints of peers. Furthermore, students benefit from the lasting connections and professional network of peers that they maintain relationships with beyond graduation. Accelerated degree programs have much to offer servicemembers and veterans; convenience, flexibility and support. Ranked in the top three for online bachelor’s programs for veterans by US News and World Report (2013), Bellevue University has a veterans service office and dedicated VA representatives to assist military members in meeting their goals. Additionally, support services are reflected in every aspect of the Bellevue University experience. From expedient technical support to 24-hour library services, Bellevue University makes accelerated learning convenient.

generally know when they will be going on deployments. Accelerated schedules simply make it easier for the military student to mesh their military and school schedules to make the best use of their time. Years ago, as a commander and as a police chief, I partnered with local universities to provide classes for my people prior to and following their shifts. This took some work as we worked a rotating schedule—three swings, three mids, and three days off. Where most people work on a seven-day week, my team worked a nine-day cycle. Trying to find instructors to teach on our schedule was a challenge. The asynchronous nature of our classes makes these types of extraordinary requests simply unnecessary. Now students can check into the classroom 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If a student is working a mid-shift and wants to go to the library before reporting to work, this option is available. Should they want to visit the library after work, they can do so as well. The unpredictable schedules and deployments of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines—coupled with moving every two to three years—make it extremely difficult to obtain a bachelor’s degree while on active duty. At Ashford University, students can start a class while stationed in Texas and finish the class in Afghanistan. Students may start their degree in one state and finish at another installation across the country. No longer do they have to go through the process of transferring from one university to another, losing credits in the process. As long as a student is able to connect to the Internet, he or she can maintain their school studies and stay on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree as scheduled.

MAE  8.7 | 31


Faye A. Meloy, Ph.D., RN, MSN, MBA Associate Dean Pre-licensure BSN Programs Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions fap25@drexel.edu

Second-degree accelerated nursing programs are directed at adult learners who have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in another field of study. The underlying premise is that the level of maturity, prior academic success and life experience provides a sound foundation for students to master a complex theoretical knowledge base, sophisticated clinical skills, and transition to professional nursing roles within a highly condensed timeline. Accelerated baccalaureate nursing programs typically take 12-18 months for degree completion compared to other educational options that take between two to four years in traditional undergraduate programs. The Accelerated Career Entry [ACE] second-degree baccalaureate nursing program at Drexel University has been in existence for more than 10 years and has graduated more than 2,000 baccalaureate prepared nurses with a 97-99 percent first-time pass rate on the National Certification Licensing Examination to date. The rigorous, highly condensed, plan of study can be completed within

11 months. Accelerated second-degree baccalaureate nursing graduates are highly regarded and often preferentially recruited by healthcare employers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts health care as the largest sector of job growth through 2020 and predicts that all areas of nursing will experience a high rate of employment opportunities in a wide variety of settings in the next decade and beyond. The wealth of employment opportunities available and condensed timelines for transition to professional practice roles are consistent with the strong desire of veterans to move forward with their personal lives and professional careers as expeditiously as possible. In addition, an the accelerated BSN also shortens the timeline for completion of graduate study [MSN, DNP, Ph.D.] and opens a range of advanced career opportunities in direct care as a nurse practitioner/ clinical nurse specialist, health care administration, research and nurse faculty roles. The rigor and complexity of accelerated nursing programs demands that prospective students are highly motivated, goaldirected, possess a high degree of self-discipline related to goal attainment, and are able to function well under pressure—character traits that are often developed/refined in military roles. In addition, field experiences often provide veterans with leadership skills and clinical expertise as a framework for assimilation of nursing knowledge and skills. Depending upon individual educational/military backgrounds, veterans may also be able to obtain transfer credits for military coursework and related field experiences via transcript evaluation and challenge exams.

Since applicants to accelerated nursing programs have already completed a bachelor’s degree in another field of study, prospective students from the general public have limited access to federal guaranteed student loans and must find private sources of supplemental funding to complete a nursing degree. Veterans, however, have access to funding such as the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty [including the Yellow Ribbon Program], Selected Reserve [MGIB-SR] funds Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment [Chapter 31] support, the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program and Reserve Educational Assistance Program to offset the costs associated with tuition and living expenses while enrolled in an accelerated nursing program. However, each of these funds has expenditure restrictions, time limitations and eligibility criteria, so it is important for veterans to familiarize themselves with the supplemental funding available and to work closely with the academic program’s financial aid office and academic personnel to develop a plan that best suits the veteran’s unique personal needs. For example, at Drexel, we have a variety of veterans who—depending upon their lifestyle circumstance, individual learning style, and financial/time constraints associated with veteran scholarship programs—are enrolled in either the seconddegree accelerated BSN, the traditional four-year undergraduate BSN program, or the fast-track transfer option which enables students to complete academic requirements for the BSN in 24-27 months. Since all of the generic baccalaureate nursing curricula share the same courses, there is inherent flexibility for individualizing the academic plan of study not necessarily available at other academic institutions. Accelerated BSN programs [with degree completion in 11-18 months] are extremely attractive to veterans who are anxious to expedite career transition, return to the workforce and continue active contributions to society in an abbreviated timeframe. However, with so much to learn in so little time, accelerated BSN programs tend to be highly stressful, require great flexibility/self-regulation and necessitate that students can devote total attention to both academic and clinical aspects of nursing coursework. Consequently, most accelerated programs recommend that students do not work, have strong support systems and limit extracurricular activities throughout the duration of the program. Veterans with PTSD, competing family responsibilities and/or learning disabilities need to proceed with caution and make full use of the wide variety of academic supports available. Academic services [such as tutoring, test-taking strategies, study skills and time management workshops] can be complemented with student counseling centers and disability services, which are readily available at most educational institutions. For veterans with the right combination of education, life experience, support systems and skills, accelerated programs provide the most expeditious route to professional licensure and career opportunities in nursing. However, the wide variety of educational formats and financial supports available enable veterans to choose the academic option that best matches individual needs and lifestyle demands in pursuit of the many benefits a career in nursing has to offer. O

For more information, contact KMI Editor-in-Chief Jeff McKaughan at jeffm@kmimediagroup.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.

32 | MAE 8.7

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Replacing Battle Buddies with Study Buddies: The Student Veteran Success Opportunity By Jim Yeonopolus Education is a key component in the reintegration of veterans, and as downsizing creates more voluntary and involuntary separations, truly “military-friendly” schools will take the lead in preparing our warriors for their new roles in the civilian world. We owe our veterans assistance not only with education and job placement, but also with uncovering the correct program of study “fit” and referring them to college, veteran and civilian resources that can assist them with other parts of the transition. This requires an integrated approach and a complete institutional focus on veteran student success. At Central Texas College, we will soon open a VetSuccess on Campus center staffed with trained counselors to help veterans resolve any problems that could potentially interfere with their education, to include assisting with disability requirements. If needed, they can also provide referrals for health services through VA medical centers, community-based outpatient clinics, or vet centers. In addition, our student veterans organization provides peerto-peer support, which has been linked to academic success and an easier transition to campus life for student veterans. Activities, service projects and a welcoming student veteran lounge are available to members and nonmembers. These essential resources for veterans, along with the academic counseling and tutoring services provided, are a good start. We have found, however, that many veteran students are reluctant to seek out these formal resources. This generation of warriors comes with their own set of classroom and campus challenges. Colleges with large populations of veteran students, staff and faculty are in the best position to relate and help them cope with the transition. The military creates a culture in which servicemembers take care of each other, according to a peer support program best practices publication by the Defense Centers for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. This mentality easily

lends itself to an environment where servicemembers rely on the natural support of their colleagues to cope with stress. In a 2008 Department of Defense survey of health-related behaviors of more than 28,000 active-duty military personnel, talking with friends and family was the second most common coping strategy for dealing with stress, with 73 percent responding that they use that strategy frequently or sometimes. Strong social support networks have been linked to resilience, which is a fundamental component of successfully managing stress. Thus, the informal connections veterans make with each other in colleges with large veteran populations can be a “combat multiplier” for student veteran success. Although peer support isn’t the only ingredient in dealing with transition and other issues, a student veteran is much more likely to ask another student veteran where to go for help. Study groups inherently become support groups with the right mix of students. As these informal groups integrate with more formal groups like the student veteran organizations, students have a better chance of connecting with resources to help them succeed. The theme of the 2014 CCME Symposium, February 10-13 in Savannah, Ga., is “Crossroads in Military Education: Looking Back, Moving Forward.” As we pay tribute to our past and recognize the 70th anniversary of the passing of GI Bill  legislation, we can share ideas on the future role military education can play in focusing institutional goals and resources on student veteran success—so we can replace “battle buddies” with “study buddies.” O

Note from Mike Heberling, CCME president: This month, Jim Yeonopolus, the deputy chancellor to the president, Continental & International Campus Operations, Central Texas College, wrote an excellent article on how schools can give complete institutional focus to support veteran student success. Make sure you plan on attending the CCME Symposium in Savannah, Ga., February 10-13, 2014.

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MAE  8.7 | 33


Money Talks

Compiled by KMI Media Group staff

Arne Duncan Issues Statement on the Student Loan Compromise On July 31, U.S. Secretary of Arne Duncan issued the following statement on the student loan compromise: “I applaud the bipartisan compromise reached by President Obama and lawmakers on Capitol Hill, offering relief to millions of students and families across the country. The law will cut rates on nearly all new federal student loans and save undergraduates an average of more than $1,500 on loans taken out this year. It is an encouraging step forward in our effort to keep college affordable. “Education is a cornerstone of a strong middle class, and keeping student interest rates low is just part of our commitment to making a college education accessible to every single American willing to work for it. As we continue to work on ways to bring down the soaring costs of higher education, we must remember that all of us share a role in ensuring that college is affordable for students and families. There is more work ahead and I look forward to joining members of both parties in finding ways to keep a high-quality education within reach for working families.”

Scholarship Announcement Ceremony Honors Marine Children On July 19, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the nation’s oldest and largest provider of need-based scholarships to military children, hosted its annual scholarship announcement ceremony at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The ceremony is a celebration of a record year for scholarship awards. In the upcoming academic year, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation will award more than $6.5 million in scholarship funding to 2,040 children of Marines and Navy corpsmen, including 133 students in the greater Camp Lejeune area. More than 50 scholarship recipients attended the ceremony along with their families to represent the upcoming class of recipients across the country. Sergeant Major Yolanda Mayo (U.S. Marine Corps Reserve), the mother of two scholarship recipients and the host of the local television program “Lejeune Happenings,” emceed the event. Major General Raymond C. Fox, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, was the evening’s military guest of honor. The Scholarship Foundation honors the selfless service of Marines by educating their children, with particular attention given to those whose parent has been killed or wounded in combat and those 34 | MAE 8.7

who have demonstrated financial need. More than 50 percent of scholarship recipients are first-generation college students, and 45 percent study STEM (science, engineering, technology and math) fields. Since its inception in 1962, the Scholarship Foundation has grown in equal step to meet the needs of America’s Marine families. This year’s awards represent an 11 percent increase in total scholarship award amount from the previous year. In 51 years, the Scholarship Foundation has awarded over 30,000 scholarships to the children of Marines and Navy corpsmen, valued at over $80 million. Scholarships are used to attend accredited colleges and universities, vocational schools, or technical training programs. “We help educate the next generation of leaders, fulfilling a critical need for America,” said Margaret B. Davis, president and chief executive officer of the Scholarship Foundation. “With these scholarships, our donors are honoring the sacrifices of our nation’s Marines as well as securing a strong future for our country. We are particularly proud of our more than 130 students in the greater Camp Lejeune area, all children of Marines and Navy corpsmen.”

President Issues Statement on Commissary Closings President Barack Obama affirmed support for military commissaries during a speech to Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on August 7. Citing sequester cuts that are impacting on defense readiness Obama said, “Hardworking folks are getting furloughed, families getting by on less, fewer ships available for your training exercises, the commissary your families rely on closed a day a week. We can do better than that. That’s not how a great nation should be treating its military and military families.” Patrick Nixon, president of the American Logistics Association (ALA), welcomed President Obama’s affirmation of the significance of the commissary benefit. Nixon said that it affirmed continued support of the White House for this benefit and for the need to “break the impasse on Defense spending and the sequester that is threatening a wide range of vital benefits for military personnel and their families. The ALA released a letter today to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel citing the President’s support and presenting the case, both economic and compassionate, for preserving the commissary benefit. “Commissaries bring the best of the public sector and the private sector together to help the best folks in the world— our military and their families,” Nixon said. “Commissaries are part of the solution to the budget problem, a model for how government should operate and yield benefits far beyond their cost.”

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master’s and doctorate programs in information assurance.

www.capitol-college.edu/mae

www.oit.edu/MAE Hands-on education for real-world achievement.

www.MAE-kmi.com

MAE  8.7 | 35


UNIVERSITY CORNER

Military Advanced Education

Mary Niemiec Associate Vice President for Distance Education Director University of Nebraska Online Worldwide Q: Please provide a brief overview of your school’s history, mission and curriculum. A: The University of Nebraska [NU] was founded in 1869. As a public, land-grant institution, our mission is to provide the citizens of the state access to an education that will prepare them for the world beyond the classroom. Nearly 150 years later, we remain committed to the education of students, research in a broad range of disciplines, and service to our state. We serve a diverse student body of almost 50,000 on-campus and online students, including students on our primarily undergraduate campuses in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney and our medical center in Omaha. Q: What is your school’s background in military education? A: Military education was part of the original land-grant mission and NU has a storied tradition of teaching and serving military students; in 1891, General John J. Pershing was professor of military science at the University of Nebraska and commandant of cadets. We also have long served military personnel at Offutt Air Force Base. Starting in 1951, thousands of servicemen returning from military service benefited from the Bootstrap Program on our Omaha campus; Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is one of our graduates. UNMC is the sole contracted university for DoD’s Interservice Physician Assistant Program, which serves all branches of the military. Collectively, our campuses participate in Air Force, Army and Navy ROTC. Q: What online degree and certificate programs do you offer and how do these distance learning programs fit in with the lives of active duty and transitioning military personnel? A: We offer more than 100 online programs in high-demand fields, allowing students to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as certificates and endorsements. 36 | MAE 8.7

Online programs provide the flexible schedule and access that military students need to continue their education despite deployments, temporary duty assignments, frequent moves, family responsibilities and service overseas. Many programs allow military students to bring together their prior college credit and ACE-approved military training to complete a bachelor’s degree. We also help transitioning military prepare for civilian careers. Our online programs that appeal to military students include: applied science, with a focus on agriculture, food and environmental sciences; criminology and criminal justice; business, public and nonprofit administration; child, youth, & family studies; health sciences; technology-focused degrees in information assurance and management information systems; and the Bachelor of General Studies degree with specializations in criminal justice, administration, geography, information assurance, political science and sociology, which maximizes credit from military training and prior college coursework. Q: How has your school positioned itself to serve military students? A: NU participate’s in the DoD Memorandum of Understanding, Principles of Excellence, Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, Council of College and Military Educators and American Council on Education Toolkit for Veteran Friendly Institutions to ensure that we stay abreast of the needs of military students. Military students also benefit from

active Student Veterans of America-sponsored student organizations. Our flexible deployment policy was one of the first in the nation, and the state of Nebraska recently expanded an existing policy waiving tuition for Nebraska dependents of veterans killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty to now also include the waiver of fees. Staff on our campuses and in our Online Worldwide office are specifically trained in military and veterans issues, acting as advocates and assisting students with their transition into the university. We were one of the first 100 institutions to sign the Got Your 6 pledge and have been recognized for our quality in military support by [many publications]. We participate in the Yellow Ribbon program as well as other financial aid programs and are designated as a militaryfriendly university. Q: What are some of your school’s main goals in meeting the future challenges of online education for the military? A: Our goals include developing affordable, high-quality online programs that are aligned with workforce needs and student interests; identifying and implementing best practices in programs and services; and seeking additional strategies to enhance student support. We recognize the importance of keeping pace with new technologies and new pedagogies of student engagement. We recently announced a partnership with Coursera, a leading provider of massive open online courses, to expand access to our online courses and programs and allow our faculty to explore new and enhanced learning technologies. Q: Do you have any closing thoughts? A: We deeply appreciate and respect the service that our military and veteran students provide to our nation, and are proud to offer high-quality academic programs that will help them continue on a successful journey. O www.MAE-kmi.com


All you need to know. Deputy Chief Burch Lieutenant Patterson Captain Rittenhouse — All TROY Alumni

Criminal Justice is not just a job... It’s a way of life. TROY understands this commitment, and invites you to take it to the next level. A great education is the key to a successful career. At TROY, you’ll find academic programs that will put you on the road to success, faculty who are great mentors, and flexible in class and online study options to make getting a quality degree possible. When you’re ready to choose the university you’ll proudly call your alma mater, TROY is all you need to know. www.TROY.edu/CJ • 1-877-423-3066 Criminal Justice • CyberSecurity Homeland Security

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WANTED: EARLY RISERS. MASTERS OF SELF-DISCIPLINE. WILLING TO GO THE EXTRA MILE. WGU offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in business, information technology, teaching, and health professions—all approved for education benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs under the Montgomery GI Bill. Our programs are designed to fit your busy life no matter where you may be in the world. While already modestly priced, tuition, along with fees and books, is eligible for full benefit coverage. We’re online, accredited, and affordable, and we’re seeking students who are driven to succeed.

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