Journal of Higher Learning for Todayâ€™s Servicemember
Special Section: Trending topics at ccme
Education Visionary Joycelyn Groot President CCME
IT Programs & Careers O Veteran Student Retention Transition Support O Student Perspectives
February 2013 Volume 8, Issue 1
36,000 Active-duty students. on bAse. on-site. online.
Wherever your mission takes you, anywhere in the world, you’ll find University of Maryland University College (UMUC). We offer courses on base or on-site in more than 25 countries—and over 90 undergraduate or graduate programs entirely online. That’s our mission, because since 1947, UMUC has been educating America’s armed forces.
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MILITARY ADVANCED EDUCATION Features
Cover / Q&A
February 2013 Volume 8, Issue 1
trending topics at ccme
Lessons from ccme
MAE interviewed Maame Frimpong, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Consumer Protection Branch, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice, and Curtis L. Coy, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about fraud in higher education and the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act—two subjects with which every servicemember and veteran should be familiar.
In July 2012, President Obama announced the redesign of the transition assistance program that helps servicemembers make the leap from soldier to civilian. Meanwhile, schools with a VetSuccess on Campus program have access to a VA employee who helps their veteran students transition into civilian life. By J.B. Bissell
Information technology is a stable, growing industry whose professionals are valued and in demand—so when it comes time to choose a college major, studying technology and computer science is a top selection. By Celeste Altus
Why Choose an IT Career?
Student Perspectives on Smooth Transitions
Increasing Student Veteran Retention
Transitioning out of the regimented military structure and settling into student life can be challenging. MAE asked student veterans: “How have the support services offered at your school helped you make the transition from servicemember to student? How is faculty poised to then help you transition from student to employed civilian?”
Some veterans struggle adjusting to the unstructured nature of pursuing a degree. In order to address the specific needs of veteran students, many schools have implemented programs and support services that encourage them to persevere with their studies. By Laural Hobbes
JOYCELYN GROOT President CCME
…I thought, “Is this going to be just another meeting where we all
Departments 2 4 22 42 43
Editor’s Perspective PROGRAM NOTES/People CLASS NOTES CCME GRAPVINE RESOURCE CENTER
Garland H. Williams, Ph.D., USA Col. (Ret.)
Associate Regional Vice President, Military Division University of Phoenix
share information and ideas, make recommendations, and nothing comes from it?” But then I reminded myself, “I’m at the White House.” - Joyceleyn Groot
Military Advanced Education Volume 8, Issue 1 February 2013
Journal of Higher Learning for Today’s Servicemember Editorial Editor Laural Hobbes firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Harrison Donnelly email@example.com Online Editorial Manager Laura Davis firstname.lastname@example.org Copy Editor Sean Carmichael email@example.com Correspondents Celeste Altus • J.B. Bissell • Kelly Fodel Kenya McCullum • William Murray
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EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE On January 30, the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), expressed concern that sequestration could impact veteran support programs, such as a Labor Department program that provides job training to veterans. “The VA itself is protected from sequestration, but other programs that help veterans could be affected,” he clarified. In this era of fiscal uncertainty, however, we cannot take any federally funded programs for granted—most certainly not the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which many servicemembers have used to pay for education. But are they Laural C. Hobbes graduating? Recent concern about this topic has lead to an increased interest Editor in graduation rates and a renewed focus on student support services. In late January, the National Commission on Higher Learning released a report called “An Open Letter to College and University Leaders” that suggested ways for schools to improve student retention rates—and the tracking methodology itself. The report questioned the current approach for collecting Student Right to Know retention data, as “students are not tracked as they move from institution to institution, which means that transfer students are counted as dropouts of the campus they leave. And if they ever complete a degree at a subsequent institution, they are not counted as graduates.” Given the current assessment standards, recorded student veteran and servicemember graduation rates may be artificially low. Many military-affiliated students will stop out—due to deployment or other situations related to having families and full-time jobs—and pick up their studies at a later date or at a different school. While many institutions of higher learning should rightfully focus on efforts to retain their military-affiliated students, they should also ensure that switching schools is a simple process. This means not penalizing military students for putting their studies on pause. If a program is online, the school should pursue certification in the states where a servicemember or veteran may want to resume his or her classes. A new method for measuring student graduation rates, called the Student Achievement Measure, is under development to track and report the progress of full-time students, both first-time and transfer. I hope that this new method will portray a positive outcome for military and veteran students, and give further impetus to protect Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
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We’re here to help your servicemembers shine. Whether the plan is to continue in the military or transition to civilian life, Baker College® Online can help your military personnel receive a regionally accredited college degree. Our programs are available 100% online with 24/7 access from anywhere in the world. “With Baker Online, I was able to complete my degree while I was deployed in Kuwait.” Nicholas J. Waldo— Baker College, BBa, ‘11
WhaT “MiliTary SUPPOrTiVE” MEaNS TO US. • The application fee for qualified military students is waived at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
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DoD Releases Revised Tuition Assistance Memorandum of Understanding The Department of Defense released a revised Tuition Assistance Memorandum of Understanding (TA MOU) on December 6, which includes input from universities and reflects many of the president’s Principles of Excellence. DoD will implement the policy on March 1, 2013, requiring an institution to have a signed DoD MOU in order to be eligible to participate in the TA program. After March 1, 2013, schools without a signed DoD MOU will not be able to enroll servicemembers under the TA program until they have signed the MOU. Institutions
with a currently signed DoD MOU can compare both versions and select to retain the original DoD MOU or sign the revised DoD MOU. The current version of the MOU provides information, support and increased protections to servicemembers; strengthens oversight, enforcement and accountability; and provides guidelines for educational institutions receiving military TA funding. The MOU ensures all servicemembers participating in off-duty, post-secondary education programs receive quality education programs uniformly
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Daniel F. Attridge, a managing partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, was named dean of the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University.
Karen Gross, Ph.D.
Southern Vermont College chose Karen Gross, Ph.D., as its eighth president. She succeeds Barbara P. Sirvis, who is retiring after serving as the college’s president for the past nine years. Stephen Reilly was named executive director of the Fulbright Association. Reilly takes over from Mary Ellen Schmider, interim executive director, who served through the end of 2012. Franklin University celebrated its 142nd Commencement on Sunday, January 6, and recognized faculty members Paul Sweeney and Dr. Ed DeJaegher as recipients of the distinguished Robert L. Bailey Teaching Award.
4 | MAE 8.1
Lev Manovich recently accepted a position as professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and director of the Software Studies Initiative. Manovich previously was a professor at the University of California, San Diego.
Columbia Southern University recently awarded Wendy Bundy, a parttime dispatcher, its Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship, which honors the spouses and children of active duty public safety personnel and military servicemembers.
via the classroom or distance learning, on or off military installations. During fiscal year 2011, approximately 549,000 servicemembers participated in voluntary education programs, which included tuition assistance, adult-based education and counseling. More than 325,000 servicemembers were enrolled in post-secondary courses, earning almost 45,000 college degrees and approximately 530 certifications and licenses. DoD’s voluntary education program consists of 245 education sites worldwide, including Afghanistan.
Heroes’ Legacy Scholarships Accepting Applications until March 15 The “Heroes’ Legacy Scholarships” program honors not only those who have fallen in battle, but all who have died or have become disabled through their active military service since September 11, 2001. The program is open to their dependent unmarried children under age 23. A disability is defined as one that results in the servicemember being eligible for, and receiving, Traumatic Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance or a permanent and total disability compensation rating of 100 percent. The scholarship grants for this special program are principally underwritten by the author’s after tax proceeds from the book Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters written by President Barack Obama. The amount to be awarded each year depends on the amount of royalties and other potential donations. Selected recipients will receive a scholarship grant, not to exceed the costs of tuition, books, lab fees, and room and board, to any accredited U.S. post-secondary institution of high learning. The amount of the scholarship may be reduced by other funds that the student has received, from federal or state government programs or other grants. Eligibility criteria for the “Heroes’ Legacy Scholarships” program are different from the “Scholarships for Military Children” program. The two applicant pools are considered separately. Applicants can apply to either or both programs if they meet the eligibility criteria. Applications must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2013. Applications with a later postmark will not be considered.
PROGRAM NOTES SVA and Google Announce Scholarship Partnership Student Veterans of America and Google have partnered to provide eight $10,000 scholarships to student veterans via SVA’s network. Eligible students must be pursuing a bachelor’s or graduate degree in computer science or a closely related field. This partnership will support the tech-savvy professionals that are well-equipped to answer the challenges of tomorrow. The 2013 Google-SVA Scholarship application will close March 31, 2013. Student veterans must complete an online application, attach the required documents, and arrange their letters of reference be provided by the deadline to be considered. Eligibility All successful candidates must: • Be entering their junior or senior year of undergraduate study, or be enrolled in a graduate program for the 2013-2014 academic year. • Be attending full time at an accredited four-year university in the U.S. for the 2013-2014 academic year (if graduating in December, the award will be half the amount). • Be enrolled in computer science or computer engineering program, or a closely related technical field. • Demonstrate a commitment to and passion for computer science and technology. • Demonstrate leadership and engagement in their community. • Be a current student veteran, as proven by a DD FM 214 and transcript. • Have received an honorable discharge, or be in good standing with his/her branch of service. Essay All candidates should provide answers to the following three essay questions (maximum of 300-500 words per essay). The document should clearly specify each answer by number. 1. What sparked your interest in computer science? How did this lead you to major in computer science and what do you hope to accomplish with your degree? In your answer, please describe how your experiences have influenced the goals you have for yourself. 2. Please give us one-two examples of how you have exhibited leadership. Explain how you were influential and what you were trying to achieve. These need not be demonstrated through formal or traditional leadership roles. Think broadly and examine the many ways you are having an effect on the members of your technical community, your chapter, your university or your broader community. 3. Please describe the most significant computer science project or research you have worked on, how you approached key technical challenges and what you gained from the experience. It might have been a class assignment, a research project, or other work or volunteer experience. If the project was team-based, specify your individual role and contributions in the project. Letters of Reference References must send their letters directly to SVA via email@example.com by the deadline to be considered. The email should contain in the subject, “2013 Google-SVA Scholarship Letter of Reference for [Name].” Or, they can mail their letter directly to SVA’s office at the address below. All letters must be received by March 31, 2013, to be considered. The letters must be sent by the author, and SVA will not accept any letters sent by the applicant.
6 | MAE 8.1
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Support programs on school campuses and the revamped Transition Assistance Program bolster the achievements of veterans easing into civilian life. Military life and civilian life are two immensely different realities. That’s not a surprise. The challenges associated with transitioning from the former to the latter, however, do routinely provide a bit of a shock to veterans embarking on their post-service paths. In order to ease this stress—and to facilitate more consistently successful segues from one to the next—President Obama initiated an overhaul of the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The goal, according to the White House, is to “help our separating servicemembers successfully transition to the civilian workforce, start a business or pursue higher education.” It sounds straightforward enough, but this is the first time in more than 20 years that the TAP benefits and ministrations have been addressed in earnest and substantially updated. Also, while the president originally called on principals from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to spearhead the endeavor, ultimately the process involved key people from five separate government agencies: DoD, VA, Department of Labor (DoL), Department of Education and Small Business Administration. On November 30, 2012, leaders from three of these—Susan S. Kelly, Ph.D., John K. Moran and Danny Pummill—hosted a media roundtable at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C., to discuss the major changes to what is now known as Transition GPS. The previous cornerstones of TAP entailed pre-separation counseling and a voluntary three-day workshop. The program admittedly lacked enthusiasm. “A good example is that for years we have been providing a VA briefing that was a series of PowerPoint slides that just kind of went in pretty dry detail through all the benefits and services that were available,” explained Pummill, director at the Veterans Benefits Administration/DoD Program Office. www.MAE-kmi.com
By J.B. Bissell MAE Correspondent
“But now that we have had the opportunity to work with the Department of Education, they sat down with us and took us through the new adult learning education methods and said ‘Now here is a better way of providing this information.’ These are the most up-to-date teaching techniques.” Delivery techniques are certainly important, but it’s the content that is crucial, and this is the aspect to which most of the changes were made. “The DoL owns the employment workshop piece,” said Moran, who is the deputy assistant secretary for the Veterans Employment and Training Service at the DoL. That workshop had persisted with the status quo since 1991, but in 2012, “we undertook a major initiative to review and revamp the training program to make sure it was up-to-date and in line with the latest, greatest learning expectations. “We went from a program that was two-and-a-half days to one that is now three days,” continued Moran. “It is sharply focused on the mechanics of searching for and landing jobs. In particular, we take the students through areas of exploring career interests … It is important to point the students to the ones that make the most sense, the ones that are most reliable. So we take them through many exercises related to how to do an effective job search.” Once the transitioning soldiers have a handle on how to look for available and suitable work, Moran and his team focus the preparation on actually securing a promising career. For example, they assist with fine-tuning resumes individually to target specific opportunities. “We then move into honing interview skills,” Moran said. “We spend a lot of time in practical exercises during which they are able to practice their interview skills with each other and receive feedback on areas for improvement.” MAE 8.1 | 7
Finally, salary negotiations are addressed. “It is really important for them to understand that there is room to be flexible,” Moran added. One area in which there isn’t much flexibility for servicemembers is whether or not to participate in the DoL’s new employment workshop. It used to be voluntary, but under the new program, attendance is all but absolutely mandatory, and Moran is prepared for the significantly larger turnout this will generate. “We have geared up to meet the increase in demand,” he said, “and we have a solid budget in place to do that.”
Phasing GPS In After completing Transition GPS—which stands for goals, plans, success—veterans also should have a solid budget in place. “There is a core curriculum requiring financial planning, during which military members build a 12-month post-separation budget,” said Kelly, principal director, Transition to Veterans Program Office, DoD. This budget breakdown happens during what Kelly explained as the first phase of the program’s redesign. It includes pre-separation counseling, available benefits and services briefings, the mandatory employment workshop, individual transition plan preparation and a Military Occupational Code Crosswalk, which provides “a gap analysis between the skills that they earned in their military experience … and what is available in the civilian sector,” Kelly said.
Next up are two-day elective-style courses concentrated on specific possible futures. According to the White House website, there are three separate curriculums: “(1) An education track, for those pursuing a higher education degree; (2) a technical and skills training track, for those seeking job-ready skills and industry-recognized credentials in shorter-term training programs; and (3) an entrepreneurship track, for those wanting to start a business.” Transition GPS then concludes with a capstone event that “verifies the military members have met career readiness standards,” Kelly said. The third phase of the program’s reformation is to take “these new requirements and embed them at specific touch points during the military lifecycle,” added Kelly. In other words, service men and women won’t be bombarded with counseling, classes, budget analysis, job hunting and salary negotiations all at once and right at the end of their armed forces tenure. “There is too much going on in their lives when they get to the end of their lifecycle in the military,” said Pummill. “They are looking for a new home. Their spouses are looking for jobs. They are getting their kids in a new school. They may be coming back from a combat deployment and they don’t have time to do all this stuff. “But now that DoD has taken a step and has made it mandatory for everybody, and has worked with the other four government agencies to ensure that servicemembers go through this program and are provided all this information, it is going to give them a great start as they leave the military service of their country and head on to their civilian lives.”
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*As reported by Military Times/Edge Magazine We want you to make an informed decision about the university that’s right for you. For more about the graduation rate and median debt of students who completed each program, as well as other important information—visit www.APUS.edu/disclosure. Image Courtesy of the DoD.
8 | MAE 8.1
American Military University www.MAE-kmi.com
Scholastic Vet Success For many veterans, civilian life will begin with the pursuit of a college diploma. And while taking one’s first physical steps across campus—book bag in hand, number 2 pencil at the ready—is an exhilarating moment, taking the metaphorical first steps toward a bachelor’s degree (or associate, master’s or doctorate for that matter) can be positively unnerving. Which forms need to be filled out? And where do they need to be sent? Are you eligible for any additional benefits? Which classes should you take? Do you still need to complete any prerequisites? Can previous credits transfer? And on and on. Bottom line: It’s a murky, bureaucratic tarn through which to plot a course, but veterans don’t have to embark on the journey alone. “VetSuccess on Campus [VSOC] is a program designed to provide direct access to a Department of Veterans Affairs employee right on the university campus. Their mission is to support veteran students when navigating college life after their military experience,” explained Monica Cabrera, public affairs officer at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Regional Office. The truth of the matter is that the 21st century is shaping up to be a golden age for soldiers who want to turn into students. The majority of America’s institutions of higher learning provide, at the very least, a basic set of veteran-specific amenities. These might range from simple one-person offices tucked away somewhere in the registrars’ building to full-service resource centers complete with advisors and computer labs and even social lounges, but the point is that most schools recognize the importance of lending a helping hand to members of the military. And some are welcoming them with open arms. No matter how plush the veterans’ lounge or how active a veteran student group may be, colleges that are a part of the VSOC system have one key component that allows them to stand out from other military-friendly institutions: There’s an actual VA employee based at the school—on the campus grounds—readily available to tackle virtually any issue that might arise for military students. “Such a VSOC counselor is able to provide services related to applying for the full range of benefits offered by the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Veterans Health Administration,” Cabrera continued. “He or she may also assist in resolving any other VA benefits issues and provide adjustment counseling. Additionally, the VSOC counselor provides an important, direct connection to campus resources, such as disability resource centers and career services departments.” “It’s incredibly helpful,” said StephStephanie Boltrick anie Boltrick, a graduate assistant in firstname.lastname@example.org the Office of Military & Veterans Affairs at Western Michigan University. “When people have questions about a benefit, instead of having to call a 1-800 number, they can just come in and talk with our VetSuccess coordinator. It’s much more comforting and easier to get something done when you’re working with someone face-to-face rather than talking over the phone and getting somewhat ambiguous information, not really knowing where to go next.” Not knowing where to go next certainly can be worrisome, but not taking the time to figure it out can prove disastrous. “Transitioning www.MAE-kmi.com
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community for this unique population to ensure that they feel comfrom the military to student life is stressful,” acknowledged Sean fortable and welcome.” Burlile, Ph.D., VetSuccess on Campus counselor at Boise State UniWhich is exactly what is happening at schools that participate in versity. “I’ve even seen veterans drop out and not utilize their earned the VSOC program, where full-time, experienced VA-assigned counGI Bill or other VA benefits.” selors and coordinators work to “provide initial veterans’ benefits It sounds drastic, but it’s an understandable phenomenon. Boloutreach, support and assistance to ensure the transitioning soldiers’ trick, herself a Master of Social Work student scheduled to graduate health, educational and benefit needs are met,” Cabrera added. in April 2013 as well as a first lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps of the Michigan Army National Guard, works alongside her school’s VSOC coordinator and said “there are a lot of challenges for student An Academic Life veterans when they’re coming back into an academic setting and finding their way of operating within a civilian environment.” That’s just the beginning, though. VSOC personnel don’t “I’ve heard a lot of them say they want to go back on active duty disappear as soon as the school year starts. Quite the opposite, because school isn’t structured enough,” she continactually. As student veterans forge on, writing ued. “The younger vets get distracted with partying papers, cramming for mid-terms and preparing and having fun. Nontraditional students with families for graduation (and what comes after), the coormay feel as though they need to quit school because dinators continue to provide helpful nudges when they need more money or because of the culture shock needed. Vocational testing, academic assistance, of being on campus with a generation that is very difon-campus veteran advocacy, resume and job search ferent than what they’re used to. Those are the biggest consultations, and career counseling all fall under challenges.” the jurisdiction of VSOC. “We will assist in resolving Fortunately, the solution—or at least an imporany problems that may interfere with their ability to tant kick-start to a final resolution—seems simple complete his or her education and their entrance into enough. “It’s just a matter of continuing with school,” employment,” Cabrera stated. Boltrick said. She’s convinced that will happen with “Services are provided through one-on-one meetSean Burlile, Ph.D. greater regularity as more universities institute ways ings or workshop and group presentations. They’re email@example.com to “accommodate the distinct needs and develop a individualized to fit the needs of the veteran who is
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Success on (Other) Campuses Stephanie Franklin
It’s necessary to note, however, firstname.lastname@example.org that there are many paths to success. Institutions that offer a VetSuccess on Campus representative are welcoming and full of promise—and rightly so, thanks in large part to the built-in camaraderie Burlile described. So, for veterans in the throes of choosing an educational destination, the availability of this program could very well be a deciding factor. And with designated schools scattered throughout the country, from Rhode Island to Cleveland, South Florida to Central Texas, and San Diego to Alaska, it’s probably at least geographically feasible for many future learners. Still, there are a good number of truly military-friendly colleges at many points between, and they should not be discounted without genuine investigation. The education itself remains the most important thing, so a suitable selection of available degrees and tracks of study should be potential students’ number one priority. After that, however, extracurricular benefits can—and should—be weighed heavily. Inclusionary organizations such as student veteran groups, chapters of Student Veterans of America or other similar activities can go a long way toward easing the stress of a soldierturned-student. “With that in mind, we offer programming for veteran students on a monthly basis,” explained Stephanie Franklin, director of www.MAE-kmi.com
Photo Courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense. 9/2011.
requesting assistance. For services or resources that cannot be provided specifically by the VSOC program, veterans are referred to the appropriate resources and/or personnel.” But it doesn’t usually come to that. “VetSuccess on Campus at Boise State serves as a one-stop veteran resource for VA and university services, designed to improve graduation and career transition outcomes,” Burlile said. The one-stop outcome is wonderfully convenient for new students fresh from the armed forces, but the true strength of Burlile’s branch of the VetSuccess on Campus program is that it’s hardly a one-organization operation. “With … the outstanding services provided by the local VA Regional Office and VA Medical Center, veterans are flocking to Boise State,” he said. “To meet the growing demand and continue to provide quality services, we have collaborative partnerships with several organizations that all work within the veterans center on campus. These include Boise State Veterans Services, VetSuccess on Campus, the Wyakin Warrior Foundation, Veterans Upward Bound, the student veterans club and the disability resource center. This collective effort creates the supportive environment needed to enhance veterans’ success on campus.” As the program’s name suggests, and Burlile makes perfectly clear, success is the ultimate—truly the only—goal. “VetSuccess on Campus and the veterans center partners work with student veterans from the time they initially visit the school until they graduate and transition into suitable careers,” he continued. “We do campus tours, outreach events, open houses, orientations and ongoing counseling. The emphasis is on graduation. “Much like the camaraderie and mission focus of the military, VetSuccess on Campus along with the veterans center provides a core of camaraderie—and an emphasis on the mission of veteran success.”
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DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management understand the various transitional needs of military and veteran students. We provide an education that can prepare you for new opportunities. • Earn an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree, or graduate certificate—online and on campus at 95+ locations • Special savings on tuition for military and their spouses • Our Career Services Team offers lifetime career assistance including a team of career experts, online tools career planning, job interviewing and resume preparation
Visit us at the 2013 CCME Symposium, booth #301
lp.keller.devry.edu/mae1a | 877.894.6388 In New York State, DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Managementoperate as DeVry College of New York. DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, www.ncahlc.org. Keller Graduate School of Management is included in this accreditation. DeVry University operates as DeVry Institute of Technology in Calgary, Alberta. DeVry is certified to operate by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. DeVry University is authorized for operation by the THEC. www.state.tn.us/thec. Nashville Campus – 3343 Perimeter Hill Dr., Nashville, TN 37211. AC0060. Program availability varies by location. ©2013 DeVry Educational Development Corp. All rights reserved.
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Transition and Parent Programs for the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNC Asheville). “This allows them the opportunity to connect with one another, as well as learn more about opportunities for them to connect with our entire campus community.” UNC Asheville does not have an official VetSuccess on Campus program, but they do have a distinguished Veterans Programs and Services department within the Office of Transition and Parent Programs that has seen plenty of success all the same. Perhaps that’s because of the similarities between the two. The Veterans Programs and Services works collaboratively with various offices, including the registrar, the health and counseling center, and even the local VA to provide a comprehensive support system. “The goal is to help them get the information they need in a timely manner, and to let them know they are a valued segment of our student body,” Franklin said. “We try to provide the support and resources to veteran students to assist them in their transition to our campus community.” The idea of connectivity—human to human, not laptop to Internet—is particularly significant to Franklin and her staff. She’s witnessed and dealt with all the aforementioned challenges associated with jumping from the military to academia, but sees one of the root complications being the difficulty veterans sometimes experience when trying to connect with other students and groups on campus. “They have varied experiences, and it’s not necessarily easy for them to be able to relate to and share their experiences with others who do not have military experience,” she said. “I believe the most important
thing our office can do is let them know that we acknowledge their service and are genuinely interested in having them participate in our campus community. We do not simply want them to come to campus to attend class and leave immediately afterward. Instead, they are valued and have the ability to contribute to our community just like any other student demographic. That acknowledgement and support are the most important components to our program at this time.” It’s hard to argue against acknowledgement and support, and Franklin is hopeful that soon UNC Asheville will have its own veteran student organization to further facilitate connectivity, first with one another, and then with the entire campus. Whether this type of connection is student to student, veteran to fresh-out-of-high-school study partner, or college-bound soldier to VetSuccess on Campus coordinator, it seems clear that simply working together—through all the paperwork, assignments and events up to graduation—and staying involved are the true keys to successful transition. As Cabrera said, “Making this face-to-face contact in the campus environment allows Veterans Affairs to build a strong connection to the veteran student early in the academic process, thus becoming an integral part of his or her support system as they transition to civilian life.” O For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at email@example.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.
You helped protect our freedom. We’ll help you prepare for your future. Lauded as a military-friendly college by top publications, Berkeley College proudly supports the GI Bill and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program. Servicemembers may be eligible for Berkeley grants covering up to 100% of undergraduate tuition and fees remaining after federal and state grants are applied. These are just some of the benefits Berkeley offers to veterans and military students: • Fully staffed Office of Military and Veterans Affairs supports all military and veterans programs • CVET program for eligible combat veterans (cvet.com) • Veterans Resource Centers at three locations • Two active chapters of the Student Veterans of America • Participate in all DOD Military Tuition Assistance programs
Find out more. Contact the Ofﬁce of Military and Veteran Affairs: Email VeteransAffairs@BerkeleyCollege.edu or call 800-446-5400, ext. MC1
BerkeleyCollege.edu/Military • Locations in New York and New Jersey. Also, Online. Berkeley College reserves the right to add, discontinue, or modify its programs and policies at any time. Modifications subsequent to the original publication of this information may not be reflected here. For the most up-to-date information, please visit BerkeleyCollege.edu.
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Lessons from What servicemembers and veterans need to know about fraud in higher education and the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act.
Military Advanced Education had the opportunity to interview Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong and Curtis L. Coy about their scheduled presentations at the annual CCME conference in February.
Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong was appointed the Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) of the Consumer Protection Branch of the Civil Division in July 2012 by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. She has been acting in that role since March 2011 when she was named acting deputy assistant attorney general of the newly reorganized Branch. As the DAAG, Frimpong sets the strategic direction of the Branch and implements its expanded consumer protection footprint, leading the transition of the Branch to its expanded mission and new leadership. She has deepened the Consumer Protection Branch’s relationships with its agency partners and consumer advocacy partners, spearheaded a number of new initiatives and launched several new investigations in new areas of consumer protection.
MAE: What should prospective students know about fraud in higher education? MF: We want students to know that while most schools are doing the right thing, they should be aware that some schools may tell prospective students things that are false or misleading in order to get them to enroll or stay on. This is fraud. And we are concerned about fraud whether students are funding their education through federal student aid, GI Bill, tuition assistance, private student loans or even their own funds. It is important that military students in particular—servicemembers, veterans and their families—are aware that some schools may aggressively market to them and some schools may engage in deceptive marketing because it’s very lucrative to get the GI Bill and tuition assistance dollars that are available to military students. MAE: What strides have already been made to prevent fraud in higher education from happening? www.MAE-kmi.com
MF: A lot of strides have already been made. First of all, there are a number of federal agencies that are concerned about this issue, and we are all working together to address it. Those agencies include the Department of Defense (which is responsible for Tuition Assistance), the Department of Education (which is responsible for federal student aid), the Veterans Administration (which is responsible for the GI Bill), the Federal Trade Commission [FTC], the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [CFPB] and the Department of Justice. In addition, a number of state attorney generals are also working on this issue, as you can see by a few recent cases that have been filed. The other really big thing that’s happening—and we think this is going to make a huge difference—is the implementation of the President’s Executive Order on Principles of Excellence. Not only will it essentially require that schools agree not to engage in deceptive or aggressive marketing, but it is going to give more information to military students to help them make MAE 8.1 | 13
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good decisions about schools. And the part we are really excited about is that the Executive Order calls for the government to create a way for students to report problems about schools so that schools and the government can address those problems. And within the Civil Division of the Department of Justice, and specifically my branch, the Consumer Protection Branch, this is for us part of a larger initiative on fighting fraud on servicemembers, vets and their families. So there are a number of things that we’re doing around that, including investigating instances of fraud, trying to building relationships with other government partners, and doing outreach to get the word out to servicemembers, vets and their families that this is an issue they should be aware of. Being able to do this interview is actually a great part of the outreach efforts, so thanks again for the invitation. MAE: So how can prospective students protect themselves when they’re choosing a school? MF: There are actually a number of things [they can do]. Thanks to the great work of the agencies that are involved, and as part of the implementation of the Executive Order on Principles of Excellence, there is going to soon be a comparison tool which will allow prospective students to evaluate the programs and the schools at which they spend their hard-earned educational benefits. For now, prospective students can go to the Department of Education’s College Navigator site, which has a lot of
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information about schools. The other piece of advice that we would give is that students should not just talk with one school or one recruiter. As with any other large investment that they make, they should be sure to consult with a number of people. We also encourage active duty servicemembers to speak to the education counselors on their bases and installations. We also encourage all students to make sure that any promises that they’re relying on—promises about outcomes, cost or anything like that—are in writing. MAE: Do you have any advice for students who have already been victims? MF: Yes, we strongly encourage them to report these issues. For active duty servicemembers, of course, they can go through their normal channels including their education counselor or JAG [judge advocate general] Legal Assistance. We also encourage them to report issues through the CFPB’s complaint database, and we also encourage them to make reports through the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database. And thanks to the Principles of Excellence Executive Order, there will soon be a complaint intake mechanism that students can use to make complaints directly via VA or DoD. It will be easy to find and in the same place where they get information about their benefits. MAE: What steps can schools take to avoid engaging in fraud?
MF: Generally speaking, we do believe that most schools are doing the right thing and are trying to do the right thing. Part of the reason why we were excited about this opportunity to speak at CCME is to be able to share with schools what they should look out for and how they can avoid being on the wrong side of the law. We definitely encourage them to take a careful look at the Principles of Excellence Executive Order and the new MOUs and agreements that they are signing with DoD and the other agencies. They should take a close look at those and make sure they are in compliance with those. And it is not just about knowing the rules—we think it’s very important for all schools to make sure that they create a culture of compliance. We know it is a very competitive industry— especially among for-profit institutions—and, unfortunately, that can create an environment where schools are tempted to bend the rules. Schools should be really thoughtful about making sure that they are not creating an environment—especially for sales reps and recruiters—where employees are pushed to such a degree that they feel they have to make misrepresentations or exaggerations to students. You need the proper policies that make it clear to sales reps and recruiters what they can say and what promises they can make, but in addition to the policies, you want to create a culture that doesn’t pressure
employees to bend the rules or create incentives for employees to deviate from those policies. MAE: Is there anything else you’d like discuss that I haven’t asked? MF: I think we’ve basically covered it. In our presentation we’ll likely talk more about our understanding of the industry and what the factors are that might lead to this kind of fraud. We will likely go through some hypothetical examples to make what we said about misrepresentation a little bit more concrete so that schools have a sense of what they should avoid. We’ll also talk about the Principles of Excellence Executive Order at length because we think that’s very important for schools. As we said before, we do really believe that most schools are doing the right thing and are trying to do the right thing, and we just want to help them to do that. We hope we can be partners with [the schools that are playing by the rules] and collaborate with them, because they are harmed when other schools aren’t playing by the rules. It’s important to us to make sure that everyone’s doing the right thing and there’s a level playing field in the industry. This is what will make sure that our military students get the education they deserve: the best education possible.
Curtis “Curt” L. Coy is the Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs. In this role, Coy oversees all education benefits (GI Bill), loan guaranty service (VA loans), and vocational rehabilitation and employment services for America’s veterans. Prior to his current appointment on May 9, 2011, he was the acting deputy commissioner and chief financial officer of the Food and Drug Administration at the Department of Health and Human Services.
MAE: What measureable results have you seen so far from the VOW Act? How has it improved veterans’ employment prospects?
CC: The VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 contains a number of key provisions, of which my office is primarily responsible for the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program or VRAP. The
More Than Just ‘Military Friendly’ Our commitment to servicemembers and their families runs deep at Hawai‘i Pacific University. It’s why we’re known as one of America’s leading “military-friendly” universities, recognized by the Council of College and Military Educators, Military Advanced Education magazine and GI Jobs, among others. But it’s more than that. It’s part of our DNA; it’s who we are. It’s why thousands of military students each year pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees, in the unparalleled natural environment of Hawai‘i. It’s why thousands more alumni put their degrees to use in the military and fields ranging from psychology to diplomacy to business administration. See for yourself why HPU is unlike anyplace else.
Hawai‘i Pacific University (808) 687-7072 • www.hpu.edu/military www.MAE-kmi.com
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fact that over 95,000 have applied for the program indicates there is a tremendous need for those unemployed veterans age 35-60 to find employment in high-demand careers. It’s still a bit early to determine how many veterans have obtained jobs as a result of VRAP, but as veterans are completing their programs, they are referred to the Department of Labor and their folks at American Job Centers will assist in finding positions, so we should see some concrete numbers in about a year. MAE: Now that TAP is mandatory, when will you be able to start assessing the impact of TAP on veteran employment? CC: The new TAP program went into place November 2012. Immediate comments from attendees should give us an idea of whether we are providing useful information, but I think one year from now, attendance will give veterans and us a good assessment of the impact on veteran employment. That gives the veteran enough time to use the information gleaned from the program to transition into employment, and provide the office responsible for TAP some feedback. MAE: What headway has been made in allowing credentials or licenses from the military to transfer over into the civilian world? CC: The administration believes that members of the U.S. armed forces and their families make great sacrifices in the service of our nation and when their service is concluded, believes we owe it to our veterans and their families to help them accomplish a successful transition to the civilian labor market. In support of that, the DoD has established a Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force, which will identify opportunities where servicemembers can earn civilian occupational credentials and licenses. The Task Force has focused their efforts on industries like manufacturing, health care, first responders, transportation and logistics—areas where there’s a high need for skilled workers that matches up with the type of training servicemembers already receive. As the first action of the Task Force, all branches of the military have worked
with manufacturing credentialing agencies to expand certifications to active duty military personnel with skills in the high-demand fields of engineering, logistics, machining, maintenance and welding. The work of the Task Force will enable up to 126,000 servicemembers to gain industry-recognized, nationallyportable certifications for high-demand manufacturing jobs. Through these partnerships, these servicemembers will be able to test for and earn civilian credentials immediately upon completing their initial military training. Additionally, the president recently signed into law the Veterans Skills to Jobs Act, which passed with large bipartisan support. This law will make it easier for thousands of servicemembers and veterans to apply their military training toward federally issued licenses needed for certain civilian jobs, including in the maritime, aerospace and communications sectors. MAE: What components related to the VOW Act do you wish more servicemembers and veterans knew about? CC: The tax credits available for hiring veterans—if more veterans knew about it, I believe more members of the public would know and more businesses would take advantage of it. Included in VOW are provisions for a tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring certain veterans who have been unemployed for at least four weeks. MAE: What advice do you have for long-term unemployed veterans? CC: There are a number of resources for unemployed veterans. You can start by logging on to VetSuccess.gov, uploading your resume and seeing what positions are there and what careers are in demand in your area. For those veterans who have been unemployed for a long time, perhaps over a year, they should look at a different career path or field to pursue. The Department of Labor Job Centers, of which there are over 2,000 located around the country, is another good place to start! O For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.
The dynamic field of information technology is always changing—and it’s a stable, growing industry. By Celeste Altus, MAE Correspondent
Technology is inescapable. It’s all around us, from the way we swipe a credit card or buy a cup of coffee to the phones we carry in our pockets. So when it comes time to choose a college major, studying technology and computer science is a top selection. According to the Princeton Review, information technology (IT) was in the top 10 college majors of 2012, among other growing fields of study such as business, accounting and nursing. IT is a form of computer science, and comprises components as diverse as programming, software design, computer networking, database management and network administration. There are multiple areas of concentration within the major and many with skillsets so specific that they are careers in themselves. In the world of IT and systems, workers have all kinds of talents. Some design computer systems, create programs, design web pages and recommend system improvements. www.MAE-kmi.com
Depending on the specialization, their work may also have them maintaining and repairing computer systems as well as supporting computer users. It’s a stable, growing industry whose professionals are valued and in demand, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau predicts a 38.3 percent growth in the field of information science through 2016. The employment for computer and information systems managers is projected to grow 18 percent from 2010 to 2020, a promising rate. This growth will stem from organizations upgrading their IT systems in order to switch to newer, faster and more mobile networks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Research scientists are among the top wage earners in the industry, at an average annual salary of $100,660, while support specialists earn $46,260 on average. But the median income is $73,000—an excellent wage for those just beginning a career out of college. MAE 8.1 | 17
“It’s a very structured field,” said Blair Smith, dean of the College of Information Systems and Technology for the University of Phoenix. “For a person who wants to build upon their experiences of teamwork, working in a structured environment, and having some creativity in problem solving, IT works very well.”
Choosing a College Prospective students have a lot to consider when choosing a school or university to study IT. The subject is taught everywhere from local trade schools to Ivy League universities. But experts working in the industry say skills, not pedigree, are what count in this business. Many colleges actively recruit veterans and have a high percentage of military students in their programs. Smith’s Information Technology and Systems department at the University of Phoenix has more than 20 different concentrations students can choose. The university offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in IT, as well as certificates in several specific training programs like A+, Cisco Networking and visual communications. University of Phoenix has campuses across the country in addition to a strong online presence.
Austin Peay State University in Tennessee is a military-friendly school near Fort Campbell, a large military base. For this reason, the school’s faculty and staff have a lot of connections with veterans, active duty servicemembers and people who are transitioning from military service back to civilian life. The college offers an online Bachelor of Science in computer science and information systems, with three different concentrations to choose from: information systems, Internet and web technology or database administration. Austin Peay State University also accepts up to 23 hours of electives toward the degree that may be fulfilled by military credits. Bruce Myers, Ph.D., is the chair of the computer science and IT department at Austin Peay State University. He said one of the attractive features of this B.S. program is that it can be earned online. “We have a big online program. Probably 40 percent of everything we do is online right now,” Myers said. Students who move to another base can stay on their degree tracks without interrupting their education, even in the middle of the semester. Myers said Austin Peay State University has a number of deployed students in its program, studying from Afghanistan and other distant places.
You receive it on graduation day. But it’s never handed to you. Because when it’s a degree from Columbia College, it’s a degree that demands effort and rewards hard work. That’s a notion our students at 18 campuses on military bases truly understand.
Offering Associate, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. Online. On campus. Or both. (877) 999-9876 • GoForGreater.org Columbia College, a regionally accredited institution founded in 1851, is a charter member of the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC) Consortium and a member of the SOC Degree Network System.
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“We will have seven of these people here tomorrow [for graduation] that have never been on campus. One, I’ve been teaching for a couple of years online and I’m just meeting him.” Collin College in Texas offers several IT programs, including networking and Cisco technology, software and database development, convergence technology, e-business and mobile development, geospatial information science, graphic design, web programming and cybersecurity. Those programs are in demand. Enrollment within IT is growing at about 10 to 12 percent per year and cybersecurity is growing at 20 percent, said Dave Galley, director of engineering and technology.
Military to IT There is a solid reason many military students are drawn to this field. “A degree in IT is a natural complement to the advanced training many of these veterans received while in the service,” said Lisa Vasquez, vice president of public relations and development at Collin College. An IT degree allows students to build on the skills and knowledge they receive in the military, then apply them to a high-tech civilian career.
University of Phoenix’s Smith, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1968 to 1971, said his service was helpful for a transition to academia. “My experience really gave me a foundation to be a good student, because the military instills in you a right way to do things, follow procedures and understand chain of command,” Smith said. “And another important thing … is when you are in the military, you really learn about teamwork. I see this in the classes I teach. Military students understand the interactions between different team members. Sometimes that is good, bad and ugly, but it comes with the territory. It’s not unheard of with an IT person, whether they are just starting in their career or they are a seasoned professional, that when they go out on a job even as a consultant, they are working in a team.” Although sometimes it takes only a certificate or an associate degree to land a good job in IT, graduate degrees are still an advantage to get in to higher ranks in the profession. Park University in Missouri offers a master’s in management information systems as part of its M.B.A. program, which gives students business knowledge as well as an understanding of current information systems technology. The job outlook for people with this kind of education is encouraging: The median annual
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wage of computer and information systems managers was $115,780 in May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet another consideration when choosing an IT program is support services. Prospective servicemember or veteran students should look at a school’s track record: Is it military-friendly? Does it accept any military credits for its degree programs? Does it have staff to work with veterans on the often-daunting issue of paying for school, whether through the Post-9/11 GI Bill or loans? Answers to these questions can mean the difference between graduating with a valuable degree and getting lost in paperwork, falling behind or dropping out. Career services is another important area to consider. “So many of our students get jobs because one of our graduates will let us know there is an opening and we will pass that on,” said Myers of Austin Peay State University. “At Austin Peay, all our seniors take a class called a senior seminar to work on resume preparation and interview skills,” Myers said. The school also funnels requests for open jobs to students. “We are proud of our work with veterans,” Myers said. “I do a lot of the advising myself. It’s a fair amount of work to bring someone in that has been active duty and has credits from usually lots of different schools, or taken classes as they have moved around. We have to bring those in and evaluate them to see where they count—we have to see what they need to do. If [students] are receiving benefits, we have to work with counselors to establish graduation dates so they can allocate their funds.”
Meanwhile, Collin College offers veteran-centered classes and vetspecific financial aid counseling, as well as career services, tutoring and academic advising to help students with military backgrounds be successful in pursuing their educational and career goals, said Vasquez. Collin College also currently participates in a multi-million dollar Department of Labor grant, which offers veterans participating in technology degrees academic support services, including a virtual tutoring lab. “Another terrific resource is a new peer group, the Collin College chapter of the Student Veterans Association, which helps veterans transition from military to academic life and gives members the opportunity to interact,” said Vasquez. Park University has a student veterans organization on campus as well, and offers a “Success for Veterans” program to help veterans transition from the service to college. In this program, students take five online transition courses in subjects like human communications and writing. The credits that students earn in the Success for Veterans program can be transferred toward a Park University degree or other high education institutions degree programs. The University of Phoenix is already popular among military personnel for reasons such as tuition discounts for active duty, Guard, and Reserve servicemembers and their spouses. The University of Phoenix has a dedicated military division staffed by more than 1,000 people, most with military backgrounds. The military division advisors
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Veterans as Students Myers said servicemembers make some of the best students. “As far as being prepared to be successful, I think a big part of it is being organized and also having the desire to go to school and get a degree,” Myers said. “That is the biggest thing I have seen with [veterans]. They have been out in life, they know what’s going on, and so they appreciate what we are trying to do. Most of them are very disciplined.” Collin College’s Galley agrees. “Veterans are unique in quite a few ways. They are mature. A person pursuing this degree has to have maturity and persistence,” he said. Another advantage military students have is security clearance, which is crucial to a career in information technology, Galley said. “We often have conversations with our students when they say they want to go into cybersecurity. For instance: ‘If you don’t pass these criteria in terms of being clearable, this is not the field for you.’” Jobs at top corporations require trustworthy individuals, because they will have access to corporate assets such as credit card numbers and health records, he said. “If you have any felonies, bad behavior or financial problems, you are not going to be hired for about 80 percent of the jobs out there,” he said.
At Collin, even the co-op internships require this important step. Students at the college who want an internship at a company will go through a very thorough background check. “I tell students before they apply for an internship, ‘Before you can get a job at a major corporation, is your background really ready for this?’” Galley said. This is not a concern among most military students, who are able to pass background checks and security clearances. Military students also come to college with more hands-on work experience, and may already be prepped for a technology career. “If they are [users], they see the technology as a means to an end,” Galley says. “Or if they are [supporters] of the technology, they see real-life applications to high-tech systems that other students may not see. So what we find is that they are very inquisitive, they are very innovative with respect to the way they perceive software systems. And that is because they are military veterans. The average person, the civilian, really is not in a position where they interact with very sophisticated technology. The veteran has a benefit there, and again the veterans, in my opinion, should use that strategic advantage coming out of the military to the fullest. I think in IT where that advantage gets used, [veteran students] can really have an advantage over the typical starting student.” O
For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at email@example.com or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.
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CLASS NOTES Salt Lake Community College Holds Digital Arts Networking Event Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), in association with the Utah Department of Workforce Services and the Utah Film Commission, held an event that brought digital arts students from around the state to explore job opportunities within the film and digital media industries during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. “This event was a great way to capitalize on the excitement that comes to the state during Sundance. It showcased Utah’s many employers in digital arts industries and gave students the opportunity to really get a feel for what occupations in these fields are like,” said Lori Bonham, SLCC Career and Technical Education marketing coordinator. “The career job shadow event was a great way to provide students better information they’ll need to make informed decisions about selecting careers in the digital arts industry.” This event was targeted to SLCC digital arts students and to high school students in digital arts programs across the Wasatch Front.
Students Veterans of America Partners with The HSC Foundation to Power the National Veterans Center In January, The HSC Foundation awarded Student Veterans of America (SVA) a grant to assume the management and operation of the National Veterans Center (NVC) starting in January 2013. The NVC is located within the National Youth Transitions Center (NYTC) in Washington, D.C. SVA is an active member of the National Youth Transitions Collaborative, a group of 40-plus like-minded organizations involved in NYTC programming. SVA is also represented on the Leadership Council, the executive body of the Collaborative. The HSC Foundation issued a competitive request for proposal which resulted in the selection of SVA to lead the charge in establishing the NVC as the nation’s premier site for serving young veterans, with an emphasis on wounded warriors. SVA’s vision for the center is to become “America’s laboratory” for developing, testing and delivering new solutions to help returning veterans successfully transition to academic
life, achieve academic success and find jobs and careers in the civilian sector. “We are pleased to partner with a dynamic organization such as SVA,” stated Dr. Thomas W. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of The HSC Foundation. “SVA has had tremendous success within their own organization in a short period of time, and we believe it is due to the energy and innovation they employ in reaching out to this group of young men and women and fully understanding their perspective around their needs.” Michael Dukdak, executive director of SVA, commented, “We’re extremely excited for the opportunity to manage the NVC and establish a host of innovative programs and services that prepare this generation of veterans for the careers of tomorrow. We will not accomplish this mission alone and plan to collaborate with key partners in higher education, the veterans community, and public and private sector.”
VFW Signs MoU with Student Veterans of America Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien and Student Veterans of America Executive Director Michael Dakduk signed a memorandum of understanding between the VFW and SVA in early January during the fifth annual SVA national conference in Orlando, Fla. “This memorandum will provide opportunities for the VFW and SVA to pool their resources and help our veterans and nation’s servicemembers overcome many challenges, find strength in camaraderie and provide expanded programs and services for veterans on college campuses nationwide,” said Thien, a Vietnam veteran who attended Indiana University Southeast after his military service. “The entire VFW and its auxiliaries are extremely pleased to have this opportunity to work with the SVA in ensuring our student veterans attain the education and benefits we promised them.” The MoU further codifies the great relationship the VFW has enjoyed with SVA since the
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fledgling organization was founded in January 2008. The two organizations have stood side-byside over the past few years to push for sound veterans’ education policy on Capitol Hill, which includes the passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, as well as numerous other student veteran improvements, such as just-passed legislation that provides better consumer information for new student veterans. The MoU will enable closer collaboration between the VFW’s nationwide network of 7,200 posts and 1,200 VA-accredited claims service officers, and SVA chapters now located on more than 700 college and university campuses. VFW will also establish an email address exclusively for student veterans who need acute assistance with VA education issues or disability claims. VFW past Commander-in-Chief Jim Nier from Texas has been tapped by the VFW to spearhead student veteran outreach efforts to ensure that SVA and the VFW can enjoy a synergistic relationship, helping to mold
the next “Greatest Generation” of American leaders through today’s student veterans. In addition to signing the memorandum, VFW was out in force at the SVA conference, participating in roundtable discussions on student veterans’ issues like education policy and the transition from combat to college, as well as offering information about the VA disability claims process, VFW advocacy efforts on behalf of all veterans, and ways the student veterans could continue to serve the veterans’ community as a VFW member. The 2013 SVA national conference was the largest to date for the organization, with more than 600 student veterans traveling from college campuses around the country to participate in the weekend events. VFW leaders said they were inspired by the caliber of student veterans they met on the ground in Orlando, and look forward to working with SVA chapters on the local level to help foster leadership and success for a new generation of American veterans.
Compiled by KMI Media Group staff
Fisher College Offers Veterans Program to Assist in Re-Entry to Civilian Life and the Workforce
Bipartisan GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013 Introduced
Fisher College announced in late January that they will offer a veterans program to assist veterans and current military members in re-entering civilian life and the workforce. The program will consist of five sessions. The first session was scheduled for Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Fisher College’s veterans program will consist of the following five sessions:
On January 23, Chairman Jeff Miller and Ranking Member Mike Michaud of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 357) that would require schools eligible for GI Bill education benefits to give veterans in-state tuition rates even though they may not be residents of the states where the schools are located. “The men and women who served this nation did not just defend the citizens of their home states, but the citizens of all 50 states. As such, the educational benefits they receive from the taxpayers should reflect that,” said Miller. “By offering in-state tuition, servicemembers can attend an institution of higher learning that meets their specific needs without worrying about higher costs which nonresidents often must pay.” “Because of the nature of military service, veterans often have a difficult time establishing residency for purposes of obtaining in-state tuition rates,” said Michaud. “This bill will address this problem and ensure that veterans can access the affordable higher education options they have earned.” “The support of Ranking Member Michaud in creating this legislation is a measure of how important we both feel about giving our veterans the resources needed to succeed. I look forward to continuing a bipartisan approach in the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, as we work to meet the needs of our nation’s heroes,” said Miller.
• • •
January 30, 2013: Open House—for veterans and current military members to connect with each other and Fisher College and to learn about upcoming workshops. February 27, 2013: Overcoming Perceptions—a speaker will discuss transitioning to civilian life and utilizing helpful benefits available to veterans. March 27, 2013: Creating and Updating Civilian Resumes and Learning Job Search Techniques—veterans will learn how to create and update their resumes and best practices for job searching in their desired fields. April 24, 2013: Defining Your Financial Future—a speaker will discuss best financial practices for veterans. May 8, 2013: Networking and Interviewing—veterans will have the opportunity to network and practice interviewing skills and techniques.
“We are excited to offer this new veterans program to our veteran and active duty students, as well as the public,” stated Thomas M. McGovern, Ph.D., president of Fisher College. “Fisher College has seen great success with its Military to Management program, and takes pride in finding additional ways to help further the careers and futures of those who have worked hard to serve our country.” For additional information or to RSVP for a veterans program session, contact Anne Grieves at email@example.com. This program is open to the public and free of charge.
Veterans Bills Become Law On January 10, two veterans bills, H.R. 4057, the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012, as amended; and S. 3202, the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2012, were signed into law by President Obama. Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, issued the following statement: “During the 112th Congress, we came together with the higher
education community and the Veterans Service Organizations in our commitment to ensuring that student veterans are getting the very best out of the GI Bill. The enactment of H.R. 4057 only strengthens the educational benefits afforded America’s veterans, and will give them access to the best available information as they make life-changing decisions about higher education. “The enactment of H.R. 4057 and S. 3202 is indicative
of the bipartisan work of both the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee over the past two years. We will continue to work together to ensure that our veterans have access to the resources they need to lead the best possible lives.” Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said, “The Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act provides a one-stop
shop for our veterans, ensuring they have the resources they need to pursue a quality education, and ultimately, best position themselves for their future career goals. As our veterans make the transition from the battlefield to civilian life, we must continue to make them a top priority, and I am proud our Veterans Service Organizations, educational institutions and my colleagues in the House and Senate came together in support of this shared goal.”
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Synthesizing Resources for Military and Veteran Students
Joycelyn Groot President CCME
Joycelyn Groot is the associate vice chancellor for Military Education and Strategic Partnerships at Brandman University of the Chapman University System. After 28 years in the Coast Community College District, with her last position as dean of Military and Contract Education programs at Coastline Community College, she accepted the position at Brandman in September 2012. Groot’s experience in the community college system is extensive in most areas of educational administration (academic, student and administrative services), with the last 12 years in military, international and corporate education programs. Her involvement in the U.S. military education community is widespread. While managing Coastline’s military programs, she enrolled approximately 10,000 students and 1,500 graduates. Groot has served on several military advisory boards and organizations and is currently (2012-13) president of the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME), a representative to the National Association of Institutions for Military Education Services for Brandman and formerly Coastline, and an advisory board member on the U.S. Army Southern California Advisory Council. She was recognized for her leadership when she was named Coastline’s 2007 Manager of the Year. Programs she has overseen have received numerous awards both in the military and corporate arenas. She also had the honor and privilege to be an invited participant in the first ever White House Community College summit in 2010, serving on the military breakout group moderated by Admiral Michael Mullen. Groot is a southern California native. She lives in Irvine, Calif., and has two daughters: Megan, 25, a graduate of California State University, Long Beach; and Kelsie, 18, currently attending University of Miami as a student and women’s volleyball athlete. She holds a B.A. in business administration and a M.A. in educational leadership. www.MAE-kmi.com
Q: How did your background in education help to prepare you for your position as president of CCME? A: I’ve worked in higher education for almost 30 years, primarily within the California community college system. For the last 14 years I’ve been directly involved with delivering higher education programs to the military at Coastline Community College and very recently at Brandman University of the Chapman University system. It’s been a fantastic experience for me. I’ve worked in almost every area of education—operations, student services and instruction—from administrative assistant to associate vice chancellor. Q: It sounds like you have a very comprehensive understanding of all the angles involved in running a community college. A: I do. I was fortunate enough throughout my career to work with great leaders and mentors and in many positions and capacities. In regards to my experience with serving the military, I would give honorable mention to Ed McKenney. Ed was a Navy commander, and the first director of SOCNAV [the voluntary education program offered by the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges and the Navy College program]. He came to Coastline basically for his third career—to be dean of our military education program. He is the most wonderful, amazing, dedicated and intelligent gentleman. By working with Ed, I gained great knowledge about the field MAE 8.1 | 25
of military education. Together, we established many programs, services, policies and procedures to meet the needs of military [personnel] as they pursue their educational goals. Also, I feel blessed to be working in this field. My father, John Aiello, a WWII Marine, served from 1942-44 in Iwo Jima and Guam. He’s 86 years old. He never talked with us or anyone about his experience serving in the Marine Corps. My brother Frank, an Army veteran, served in the Vietnam era, and [it was] exactly the same thing: Neither spoke of their time there. In the last five or six years, however, my Dad has opened up. He’s reliving his experiences, and it’s both enlightening and devastating at the same time. I just took him and my mom to Washington, D.C., for their first time. We visited the WWII and Iwo Jima monuments and the new Marine Corps museum, and it was such an amazing experience for all of us. It gave what I do for a living more significance, meaning and purpose. Q: What have the highlights been of your term as president of CCME? What are you the most proud of accomplishing this year? A: I’ve been on the board of CCME for six years, which has been a significant learning opportunity. The highlight of my career in CCME has been the opportunity to meet such wonderful and dedicated people from areas of higher education, the military services, and others who work in support of military education at DoD, VA, Servicemember Opportunity Colleges, and more. Though not necessarily an accomplishment, this has definitely been a highlight. This year, the greatest highlight was that my presidency aligned with CCME’s 40th anniversary. So we’ve been really reflective, looking back over 40 years on what we’ve accomplished as an organization. [In terms of what I’m] proud of accomplishing, we always work together as a board with a joint mission, and I think we’ve taken our organization to a more effective level that better engages our membership while also broadening our membership
base [this year]. In the past, and due to increased attendance at our annual symposiums, the board of directors—an all-voluntary board—found it necessary to put all our efforts each year into planning for the annual symposium. What we try to do now is engage membership throughout the year to keep them informed about regulations and policies that are coming down, and bring together the facts that they might need to do a better job in serving our servicemembers. Of course, that all goes into planning the conference as well, but it’s [keeping members] engaged throughout the year that has become a greater goal of CCME. I think we’ve continued that mission to do a better job of engaging and increasing membership. Q: What are your priorities as president? What initiatives of yours do you hope CCME’s next president continues to emphasize? A: The priorities are reflective of this year’s theme, which is “Building Bridges to Success Through Education for the Military Community.” We need to keep building a membership that continues to engage active duty servicemembers and their spouses, while also engaging more [with] the veteran community and the corporate community so we can better connect the dots. CCME historically focused on active duty members, which is the reason it was founded in the first place: to do a better job of providing educational programs on installations. Today, education and employer initiatives and resources are abundant. There are many quality resources available for military servicemembers and veterans. But connecting [these resources]— being able to better serve our military by guiding them from military service to education and to employment—is something I think we need to continuously improve as a nation. My [priority] as president this year [has] been to start engaging with various entities to build those bridges. Q: How have CCME’s partnerships with different organizations, like SOC and DANTES, helped with CCME’s mission? How have these relationships evolved during your time as president?
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A: They just continue to grow stronger and stronger. Both SOC [funded by the DoD through a contract with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities] and DANTES do an amazing job of pulling together vast information and resources. Think about it: Their mission is to bring together hundreds of higher learning institutions, all of which have various missions and traditions, and try to get them to focus on a single mission, which is to provide quality services to the military population. CCME’s goal is to assist by providing networking opportunities and communicating their policies and practices. For example, SOC has key criteria under which all SOC consortium schools must commit. As such, CCME’s role is to provide a venue where communication can occur to help colleges and universities implement best practices on their respective campuses and better serve their military population. This would also be our goal with facilitating communication about the DoD Voluntary Education Partnership MOU; the DoD Third Party Review; the President’s Executive Order 13607 signed on April 27, 2012, Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Servicemembers, Veterans, Spouses and Other Family Members; and other initiatives and regulations that impact military students. This year’s symposium directly supports this mission. Q: From your perspective, what are the most significant challenges facing military education today? How is CCME poised to help?
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A: I think today, probably the most significant challenge we’re all facing is the state of our economy. Budgets are being slashed, and benefits are often the first things to get downsized when funding is limited. Over the last several years, we’ve seen [a] reduction in funding for voluntary education in the military services. Military education offices have had to downsize their education and counseling operations. In that regard, CCME is posed to help out by encouraging institutions to do what they can to support their local installation or installations where they enroll significant numbers of students. This can be by providing advisement services, supporting on-base graduation ceremonies and working collaboratively with the education center. Another challenge we are facing in the military and higher education arena is the increased oversight and scrutiny coming from [Capitol] Hill about the integrity of distance-learning programs resulting from concerns such as questionable and aggressive military and veteran student recruiting practices, high loan default rates, and poor graduation rates at some institutions. In my opinion, this issue represents a minority of schools in higher education, yet new policy and mandates impact everyone equally. Working in the military education field, I have witnessed firsthand many colleges and universities—private, public and for-profit—provide high-quality academic distance education programs, offer excellent services, and employ dedicated personnel that meet the needs of military, veterans and their families. However, new and changing regulation can
be challenging for institutions who may not have experience serving the military, may serve very small numbers of military, and don’t have resources to implement mandated policy and procedures. An example would be the issue of state authorization. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education released new “program integrity” regulations focused on the need for institutions offering distance education to acquire state authorization from any state in which it operates. State regulations predate the federal regulation and remain in effect, but how to enforce regulations for distance-learning education programs and the students enrolled in these programs is challenging and may create obstacles for institutions and students alike. As schools began their due diligence to comply, states began revisiting their policies, which included application fees, definition of “operates in the state,” etc. For example, how does a state define having a “presence” in their state? Well, for some states, it’s if you have a campus in the state. For others, it’s if you employ faculty or staff who reside in the state, or if you have outreach personnel in that state, or if you advertise in that state. Schools were faced with issues such as: new or increased application costs being imposed by some states; overwhelming application processes; lack of firm rules and regulations under which compliance was being determined; and how to track our students who may reside in a state where we have approval, but then move to a state where we don’t have approval. And what
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about the students, especially our military student population? How will they be impacted when they find themselves stationed in a state in which their college isn’t approved? Q: In your opinion, what were the most important developments related to military education in 2012? A: A positive development is the desire among higher education to learn more about how they can better serve the military. There are increased resources available to educators, counselors and employers providing information, training and best practices to be more effective. I think in higher education we’re more aware about our military community and are putting into place appropriate and necessary accommodations to better serve the military population. Many schools have opened veterans resource centers with fantastic results in providing a community of support. I see faculty becoming more engaged and effective in their classes [online and in a classroom] to better meet the needs of active duty students and their families, as well as veterans transitioning to civilian life. The other significant development was the DoD Voluntary Education Partnership MoU, which came out in 2010. A second version came out [in December 2012]. The DoD MoU is intended to basically outline quality practices that schools should have in place when providing education programs to servicemembers. To put it simply, if you wish to be eligible to receive TA from your military students, then you need to recognize and put into place the best practices determined necessary according to the MoU. Schools with experience serving the military population, many of whom are longtime members of CCME, had no significant concerns about fulfilling the expectations of the MoU. However, many colleges and universities had considerable unease due to a lack of understanding of the expectations outlined and concerns about some of the requirements, such as awarding credit for military training, accepting credit card payments and reporting information about their military students. In response to concerns expressed, a second version was released, and a third version is expected and will include obligations set forth in the Principles of Excellence issued under President Obama’s executive order. Q: What education programs or initiatives benefiting servicemembers inspire you the most? A: Across the nation, there has been significant movement among the higher education and corporate communities to serve veterans. I’ve heard it said, “Only 1 percent of our nation’s population has served in the military. Shouldn’t the other 99 percent do all they can to support them?” That inspires me to do all I can and encourage others to do so as well. Q: Do you have any advice for servicemembers in the process of selecting an academic institution?
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A: Do your research! My advice is to begin that exploration while on active duty and utilize on-base resources. Servicemembers should visit their educational services office available on most all installations. There, they will find dedicated people who are www.MAE-kmi.com
very experienced in higher education, who can give them valuable information and guidance. There’s a tremendous amount of educational resources available on installations including on-site colleges and visiting colleges and university advisers who can answer questions and provide guidance. If at all possible, start on an educational path while [on] active duty. Make use of tuition assistance benefits and get a SOC agreement in place. And in anticipation of transition, understand the benefits that the Post-9/11 GI Bill will afford you toward your educational goals. Many active duty servicemembers take online courses. Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, students only taking online classes will qualify for only half of the national average monthly housing allowance under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This can have significant impact, and is truly unfortunate for students who are moving successfully on an educational path in an online program. Many of us in higher education would like to see this policy changed.
“What constitutes ‘military-friendly?’” resonated throughout higher education and became a marketing tagline. But this shouldn’t lessen the importance of striving to be “militaryfriendly.” I think to be military-friendly, institutions should not only adhere to the requirements set forth in the DoD MoU—they should want to do so! I think they should understand the Principles of Excellence and implement what they can do there. Understand SOC. Understand ACE. Understand the Post-9/11 GI Bill. And then integrate these best practices into their university culture. I recommend CCME membership and attendance at the annual symposium, which provides a venue to engage professionals about all of the above principles and practices. Each institution should regularly review its policies and practices and ask, “Are we military-focused? Are we doing the best we can for our military students?” Q: What’s the most impressive lesson you learned this year?
Q: How can colleges and universities become more “militaryfriendly” and better support military and veteran students who are enrolling in school? A: “Military-friendly” was a term I first heard used by a former director from the Coast Guard Institute at a CCME symposium more than five years ago. It really caught on and the question
A: There’s always something more we can do. We can do better. We can do better as a nation, as educators and as individuals. This isn’t to say that many institutions and individuals aren’t doing great things, but we should never stop learning and exploring ways to improve, especially when it comes to the military community. We can always do more for our nation’s heroes.
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Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add? A: I’d like to share a personal experience because I think it’s significant to what has transpired in military education. I was invited to attend the first annual community college White House summit in October 2010, and it was a wonderful opportunity. The summit was to begin a nationwide conversation to share the best practices to improve student outcomes. My invitation came while I was serving as dean of Coastline’s military education program due to the recognition of our military spouses educational program. I was assigned to a breakout group to discuss the importance of community colleges to veterans and military families, moderated by Admiral Michael Mullen. There were probably about 20 people in the room including leaders from higher education, student veterans, military educational services officers and those from veterans organizations—a diverse group of people. Individually, participants shared information about resources, best practices, challenges and more. What surprised me at that time was the lack of knowledge that many in attendance had about the information discussed. Fortunately, by having experience working in military education and serving on the board of CCME, I was quite aware of many of the areas discussed. Hearing from the veteran students was most significant for me, as it continues to be. While sitting in that meeting, I had a moment when I thought, “Is this going to be just another meeting where we all
share information and ideas, make recommendations, and nothing comes from it?” But then I reminded myself, “I’m at the White House. This conversation is happening at the White House. So maybe something will come out of it.” Well, below are some of the recommendations that came from that meeting, and I think I can positively report, action has been taken. • Increase partnerships between community colleges, state and local labor • Offer more specialized training for veterans with PTSD • Collect and analyze more institution-level data—from the most basic level of how many veterans are on campus • Increase collaboration at the federal level [VA/DoD/ Department of Education] to better collect, understand, analyze and disseminate data • Increase vet-to-vet support • Examine the effective use of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits • Add a day to the TAP program • Increase VetSuccess • Focus on special counseling, physical accommodation and mental needs of those with traumatic brain injury • Increase model partnerships between installations and higher education • Offer professional development for faculty who educate veterans O
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Student Perspectives on Smooth Transitions Transitioning out of the regimented military structure and settling into student life can be challenging for veteran students. Unlike traditional students, they may have additional financial obligations and dependents of their own—and many have been away from an academic environment for multiple years. Fortunately, many schools have services in place to assist students during this time. Military Advanced Education asked student veterans:
How have the support services offered at your school helped you make the transition from servicemember to student? How are faculty poised to then help you transition from student to employed civilian?
Juventino Gaytan Jr. Navy Veteran Excelsior College
During the later part of my Navy career I enrolled at Excelsior College, which has been a working professional’s dream come true. Even though there were great challenges in adjusting to civilian life, Excelsior’s resources were there to guide me every step of the way. Sometimes picking the right classes could be [difficult] because interests can change throughout college, and the course descriptions may not be clear enough to get a good perspective. That’s when the student advisors are great assets: They guided me into the classes that would help me reach my goals. Another great resource is the online library. Doing research online can be very laborious if you don’t know where to look. You can’t just use regular search engines to find scholarly work, and many times you can’t www.MAE-kmi.com
trust the source to be objective enough. Excelsior’s online library makes searching for scholarly sources pretty easy. I have requested journal articles that are not physically located at Excelsior, but because of its extensive network, I’ve been able to get copies within a short period of time. This especially comes in handy when doing research and [I’m] required to cite multiple sources. Transitioning from military to civilian can be scary at times because one might feel that they’re leaving certainty for uncertainty. However, that journey is a very special time in your life. You can be proud that you’ve served your country and now you can benefit from the educational benefits our country has afforded us as veterans. MAE 8.1 | 33
William Morris Navy Veteran Northern Virginia Community College
For me, the most challenging aspect of transitioning out of the military was the limited amount of time I had to prepare for college. I left active duty a week before the fall 2012 semester, and had to move everything I owned from Connecticut to Virginia. Luckily, I was able to rent my textbooks online well before the first day of classes. My transition from military inspections to classroom tests and quizzes was a welcome change. Coming from the submarine community, everything was very team-oriented; we either succeeded as a team or failed as a team. In contrast, the way I perform in the classroom is a direct result of how much effort I put forth as an individual. Therefore, I feel like I have more control over my destiny as a student, rather than as a sailor. Overall, I canâ€™t say the transition was terribly challenging because I took the lessons I learned in the military and applied them to the classroom. Attention to detail and personal discipline are important, both in the military and in the classroom.
I am extremely grateful for the benefits provided to me by the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Never before have the benefits been as great as they are now; many veterans were given only a small fraction of what we now receive. With that said, the financial aid office made sure that my tuition was immediately paid for. I had a [one-]month delay in receiving the housing allowance, but the financial aid office at Northern Virginia Community College [NOVA] didnâ€™t stop working with the Veterans Administration to come up with a solution. Coupled with the outstanding financial aid services is the excellent counseling staff at NOVA. I enrolled with 40 credits earned through CLEP and DSST testing while in the military. However, not all of these credits were posted to my transcript. My veterans counselor at NOVA continuously worked until every credit was posted to my transcript. She also mapped out a plan for me to earn my associate in business administration with a total of two semesters at the college.
Angela King Navy Veteran The Ohio State University
When you enter the military, you are inundated with information. This information covers [anything] and everything to ensure that you succeed. When you transition into civilian student life, things are quite differentâ€”the civilian world does not welcome you with a packet telling you how to be a civilian. The Ohio State University [OSU] is a bustling institution with around 60,000 students. This could be overwhelming, but it is not.
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Access to veterans services makes transitioning into student life at OSU easier. As a transitioning student, I believe access to [veterans] services is vital to a successful transition. After separating, I was very aware that there were many services available for veterans, but without easy access to these services I would have been lost trying to navigate the system. At OSU we have a one-stop shop, the Office of Military and
Veteran Services. The office can help with managing and coordinating VA education benefits, assisting students with accessing essential university services, and connecting students with other veteran support agencies. The office is a support service in itself. It helps to quickly connect students with the services that they need to solve any issue they could have. I have relied heavily on the staff and office to help solve GI Bill-related issues. The combination of easy access to services and dedicated staff at OSU removes the stress of navigating a vast system of services and has made it easier to focus on just being a student. In addition to the one-stop service shop at OSU, we also have a webpage dedicated to veteran and military students [http://veterans.osu.edu]. This webpage provides access to information that can answer almost any question you can have as a veteran student. This, for me, has served as a great place to start if I have a question. I have used the webpage many times to connect myself to career services offered at
OSU. The Career Connection website [http://careerconnection.osu.edu] is one of the helpful links that is located on the webpage. The Career Connection Center can help with anything from exploring majors and careers, to interviewing and resume-writing skills, to job searching and salary negotiation. They have in-person office hours as well as accessible information online. I have used their resume-writing advice to write my own resume for undergraduate research positions, graduate school admissions and job applications. I have also utilized their interviewing skills. Resume-writing and interviewing skills are vital tools to secure a job or spot in graduate school. [After separating from the Navy] I found that I was prepared in experience and job skills, but I was lacking the skills that I needed to present myself to civilians in writing and in person. The services that I was able to utilize through the Career Connection Center have helped me start to fully make the transition from student to employed civilian.
Bradley Garner Air Force Veteran Master Sergeant (Ret.) University of Phoenix Enrolling in college while serving on active duty made me nervous. I had a fear of the unknown and, of course, failure. I asked myself, “How can I balance active duty and complete my education?” The enrollment advisor at University of Phoenix understood my needs and gave me proof that I could achieve my goals through determination. My academic and finance advisors helped me balance my life, school and finance requirements. The value I’ve found of University of Phoenix is within its support elements: Each service is designed to help students achieve their goals. As I completed my degree through University of Phoenix, I still felt unsure about my transition from military to civilian life. My academic counselor took the time to show me how to use the optimal resume
tools available to all University of Phoenix students and alumni. Everything needed, from resume examples and templates to career research and interview preparation materials, is available on the student website. After requesting information, I was contacted by a University of Phoenix graduate/mentor who worked in my desired field, human resources. My mentor reviewed my resume and explained the work environment. Additionally, the mentor gave advice on how I could better prepare for interviews. Before graduating, I requested assistance through the resource center on career coaching. Shortly after the request, a career coach contacted me and assisted in refining my resume and eliminating all military jargon.
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MAE 8.1 | 35
VICTOR FAvERO Army Veteran Sergeant (Ret.) Colorado Technical University I began taking classes while was still on active duty in a warrior transition unit [WTU]. While in the WTU, I had some flexibility with my schedule and could factor time in during the duty day to devote to coursework. Being a student again took some getting used to, but having time made it a little easier. Once I was finally retired from the Army, I began working [at] an internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee and my time during the day for coursework disappeared. I went from having time during the day to working full time and taking courses at night. I have since been hired on as a permanent, full-time employee. Working full time and taking courses at night is still quite challenging. Another challenging aspect of becoming a student is working through my medical issues and remaining a productive student. While in the WTU, I constantly received treatments and therapy. Now that I am out and in the VA health care system, it is difficult to get appointments. I go through hills and valleys. Some days I am my normal, happy-golucky self, and other days I am withdrawn. When I have my personal struggles, it is difficult to stay focused on tasks and I struggle with my coursework. Even though I face struggles and challenges, it will all be worth it in the end. I will continue to push toward earning my degree.
There have been many people who have helped me make the transition, and many others who continue to help me at CTU. First was my admissions advisor, who made the application process very easy. It was much easier communicating with one person [as] opposed to having to contact each specific section and fill out their paperwork. My advisor worked with admissions and the prior learning office to make the transition as smooth as possible. I have a really bad memory and never would have gotten everything done. Since becoming a student, [I have found] my student advisor [to be] invaluable. He has given me information and advice countless times to help me push forward with my education. As stated earlier, I deal with many different medical problems. My advisor works with me on every issue that I have. If I am struggling and cannot focus on school, he helps me figure out a solution. Depending on many different factors, I have contacted the professor and explained my situation and stuck out the course, and in other situations I have dropped or withdrawn from a course. My advisor explains both options to me and helps me make the best decision. He not only guides me, but he checks up on me as well. If I am late submitting an assignment, he contacts me to see if everything is okay. Knowing that I have medical issues and memory issues, it’s nice to know someone has my back. O
For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.
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Be a part of what’s next. 1/30/13 11:15 AM
Retention How can universities improve education outcomes for student veterans?
By Laural Hobbes MAE Editor faculty and staff to diagnose possible PTSD and how to handle incidents; and introducing faculty and staff to what a servicemember’s life is like, he said. Money from the Aurora grants can support faculty awareness training, augmentation of counseling expenses, funding for veteran-specific classes; funding for administrator training on the GI Bill, assistance to create a one-stop shop for veteran students, and support for veteran student organizations. “I think … our friends at higher education have a hard time understanding this particular population of students,” said Beth Miller-Herholtz, communications director. “By engaging with universities to identify what programs are there, we’ve been able to touch the 17,000 and growing population of veterans so far.” Miller-Herholtz noted that each university has a completely different administration. “In some cases, they don’t have even the means to recognize what a student veteran is, so I think what we’ve found is a mixed bag of resources,” she said. However, many grant recipients have implemented a variation of an idea that stemmed from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) called the Green Zone, which identifies faculty and staff volunteers throughout the university who have received special training on student veterans Tom Leavitt issues and resources. Schools that implement a variation on this program are “looking to train email@example.com their faculty and administrators on what the very structured environment that veterans are coming from was like,” since school is a very unstructured one. “At VCU, they found that implementing a checklist emulated the way military personnel are in-processed each time they go from one location to another: They know that they need to go and check in with registration, the registrar or admissions and get to know the other resources on campus,” said Miller-Herholtz. Beth Miller-Herholtz “That has helped in terms of the retention from firstname.lastname@example.org year-to-year.”
With the federal budget shrinking, the Post-9/11 GI Bill—which provides free tuition at public universities (or $17,500 per year at private/for-profit schools), a living stipend of nearly $1,400 a month, and a book stipend to veterans who have served active duty for at least three years since September 2001—could be next on the chopping block if the graduation rate doesn’t imply student success. A recent survey conducted by NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and a company called InsideTrack indicated that 68 percent of higher learning institutions do not separately track retention and completion rates for undergraduate veterans. Only 10 percent of the 275 schools surveyed knew the first-year retention rates of student veterans. To combat dismal retention tracking rates, in early January, the Student Veterans of America (SVA) announced a partnership with the VA and the National Student Clearinghouse to research graduation rates of student veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill as well as their GPAs and post-college employment prospects.
Tracking Student Success As the benefits from the Post-9/11 GI Bill have been available to veterans since 2008, the incentive for schools to provide specialized services to this population is fairly recent. Unfortunately, the cost of providing training to staff and counselors often exceeds budget allowances for new programs. To encourage more schools to provide support services to student veterans, the Aurora Foundation, a nonprofit, has made giving grants to schools so they may implement certain programs part of its mission. “The Aurora Foundation offers incentives—modest grants—to schools to develop programs to increase graduation rates,” said Tom Leavitt, a board member. Aurora’s other areas of expertise include providing training/conferences to teachers who lack military experience or familiarity with veteran programs and problems; correcting early indicators of academic problems or adjustment problems of veterans; training www.MAE-kmi.com
MAE 8.1 | 37
To date, the Aurora Foundation has helped 12 schools implement veteran resources that may ultimately improve retention rates. “The results are indeed difficult to track because there’s not an easy mechanism that’s standardized anywhere [to measure] retention,” Miller-Herholtz said. The foundation relies on surveys to measure student awareness of the resources that have been added. “We’ve also talked about looking at the dollars that are coming in under the GI Bill because those are tracked through the financial departments. Through [evaluating] consistency, or whether [GI Bill dollars are increasing], we can make at least a very loose correlation with the retention of veterans on those campuses.” The Aurora Foundation monitors the success of the schools it selects to receive the grants. “I’m sure you can appreciate the fact that to a foundation where the entire board, except for one member, [consists of] former military officers, a focus on mission success is very, very critical. In fact, one of our board members actually goes out to each campus we support—sort of a compliance check, if you will—to actually look at how the dollars from Aurora are making a difference there … I’d say that our expectation is that retention tools are in maybe an infancy stage, but we do see that they are growing.”
Nationwide Retention Efforts In order to address the specific needs of veteran students, many other institutions of higher learning across the United States offer support services that encourage retention. University of Wisconsin
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Oshkosh, University of New Mexico, Old Dominion University, Stratford University and Inver Hills Community College all provide specialized services to their veteran students. Some veterans struggle with transitioning from a rigid military structure to a college campus, a relatively unstructured environment. “[This] is only further complicated by the challenges that come with pursing a college degree,” said Marilyn Dykman, director of the veterans resource center (VRC) at the University of New Mexico and a retired lieutenant commander of the U.S. Coast Guard. “Part of the difficulty our returning veterans face is the transition from the very regimented life in the military to civilian life—by contrast, the campus learning environment is much more relaxed and individualistic.” Unlike many of their peers, veterans may be financially independent, older, have dependents and be responsible for jobs. However, in order to fully maximize Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, veterans must be in school full time. Veteran students may also face serious readjustments like PTSD, TBI, depression or anxiety. “If left untreated, these issues may adversely affect retention and ultimately degree attainment,” said Shawn Monroe, the veteran resource coordinator at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Monroe also suggested that the challenges inherent in navigating the VA system pose an obstacle to servicemember students receiving the federal aid on which they depend. “It’s often the case that our student veterans are also navigating the complex VA system pursuing health care, education and disability benefits. This system, while a great asset to our veterans, is at times intimidating and is completely foreign to more traditional students.” In recognition of the wide variety of challenges that veteran students face upon enrollment, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (UW Oshkosh) created a VRC in 2011, which hosts a multitude of resources: a computer lab that students can use to access their military web portals, a veterans lounge, meeting space and office space. Two full-time employees, a cerMarilyn Dykman tifying official, three part-time VA email@example.com work-study students and a veterans resource coordinator, who also serves as the advisor for the UW Oshkosh SVA, work at the VRC. “Additionally, the VRC hosts on-campus office hours for the county veterans service officer, vet center counselors, VA case managers and other community support services,” said Monroe. The school also offers a volunteer peer mentoring program that matches volunteer mentors to incoming veteran students. Monroe hopes that the greater campus culture will come to support veteran students as well. “Our student veterans have a lot to learn on campus, but they also have a lot to teach,” he reflected. To provide outreach to the general student body, the VRC designs and promotes veteran-themed activities like film screenings, lectures and social activities for veterans and non-veterans alike. In order to facilitate veteran students earning the necessary credits, UW Oshkosh offers them priority registration. “This program allows veterans to register for classes on the earliest date available for their academic standing, provided they attend our veteran orientation, meet with the VRC staff and meet with their academic advisor,” Monroe explained. Early-registration helps VRC staff to “case manage” their veteran students at important points in the academic year. “It www.MAE-kmi.com
providers from the accessibility resource center, advisement and affords staff with a mechanism for making contact with each veteran, career services. The VRC also ensures that a representative attends ensuring benefit paperwork is up to date, and making sure that all all student orientations to introduce its services and familiarize new vital or new information is reaching the intended population.” student veterans with process of receiving educational benefits. The VRC hosts other unique services from which any overexIn order to encourage the success of UNM’s student veterans, tended student could benefit, including yoga classes, acupuncture the VRC hired a full-time VA VetSuccess on Campus counselor, who and massage sessions. The VRC also helps students to conduct job assists veterans and their family members with searches, network with potential employers and intercareer exploration, disability compensation, referrals view effectively. Career skills courses for veteran stuto medical and mental health, resolving academic dents focus on developing civilian resumes. issues and job placement assistance. Two AmeriMeanwhile, the University of New Mexico (UNM), in Corps volunteers from the New Mexico College Albuquerque, N.M., identified 1,262 veterans and family Success Network, a community nonprofit working members using military benefits to fund their fall 2012 to increase degree and certificate completion rates semester at its main campus. “This is an increase of in New Mexico, are also available to help students. nearly 123 percent in fall term enrollment of student UNM’s VRC has partnerships with departments veterans between 2008 and 2012,” Dykman noted. “Stuthroughout the university, including accessibility dent veterans and VRC programs depend on effective resources, the student health center, career services data to measure their success through retention and Kathleen Levingston and the Center for Academic Program Support, graduation rates.” which provides one-on-one tutoring for veterans To improve the tracking of student veterans—and firstname.lastname@example.org on campus. “Our main supporter of resources is ensure that these strategies comply with data reporting the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, which has helped requirements—UNM’s VRC, which offers career counseling, resume many of our Vietnam veterans attending UNM,” Dykman explained. writing advice, and the services of experts in veterans’ issues and “We have also partnered with New Mexico Workforce Solutions and educational benefits, is working with a UNM division of enrollment Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to help veterans and management called Web Focus. “We’ve begun to track veterans’ military members find employment after graduation.” enrollment, academic success, retention rates and graduation rates At Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Va., approximately by establishing cohorts of students who enroll at UNM for the first 25 percent of the student body is military affiliated, with over 2,600 time during the same semester,” Dykman said. Meanwhile, Operation veterans using Post-911 GI Bill benefits. Due to ODU’s location, which College Promise, a national policy, research and education program, is heavily populated with military servicemembers, the university recently selected UNM as one of 50 schools for a pilot study that will has provided support and services to military students for over 20 evaluate degree attainment rates of UNM’s veteran student populayears. “ODU has consistently been recognized as a ‘military-friendly’ tion. In addition to offering one-on-one tutoring, the VRC assigns campus, but our goal continues to be to move beyond that to become student veterans with a one-on-one personal contact to help them a military-supportive university that provides comprehensive services stay focused on their academic goals. and support critical for academic success,” said Kathleen Levingston, To strengthen student veteran retention and graduation rates, Ph.D., faculty advisor to ODU’s SVA chapter. the VRC relocated to the student union, a space that accommodates Founded in December 2011, ODU’s SVA chapter has its own office the growing population. Its new location accommodates five comspace in the student center, and gives military-affiliated students puter workstations and a student lounge, as well as space for service
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includes four VA-certifying officials and advisors at ODU’s multiple personal support, a sense of camaraderie, and academic and profesmilitary and distance learning sites. “At ODU, the director of the Edusional networking resources. “By February 2012, the group became cational Accessibility Office has provided specific training to the staff a recognized ODU student organization, and on March 22, 2012, the on veteran issues and serves as our point of contact for any particular group became an official chapter of the National SVA,” said Levingsissues. Our Office of Counseling Services has a counselor who previton. “We’re currently putting together a training program for faculty ously worked at the VA and has a great deal of experience working and staff about veteran-specific issues, and have already done several with military-affiliated individuals.” briefings with advisors on campus about strengths and needs of our Last summer, ODU staff offered its first summer orientation proveteran students.” gram specifically for incoming military students and their families. In order to help veteran students transition to campus life, the The full-day event hosted sessions on benefits and ODU’s SVA also pairs new students with more estabpaying for college, which included information on lished students. Faculty members occasionally offer to the GI Bill, TA, payment plans and scholarships; be mentors as well. The SVA’s partnerships with other academic support, which included transfer and departments throughout ODU provide support services, experiential learning credits, transfer evaluations including the career management center, which hosts and regional higher education centers; and campus workshops on career planning, resume writing, and netresources, which included career management, stuworking specifically for military-affiliated students; the dent success center and counseling services. “This Office of Counseling and the Women’s Center for psychowill continue to be a yearly event for our students,” social support; and the Office of Educational Accessibility Levingston said. for educational support. ODU tracks its military-affiliated students Faculty members knowledgeable about veteran reinMary Ann Shurtz throughout their academic careers. “Similar to tegration issues offer support to ODU’s veteran students. other institutions, we’re taking a closer look at how “For more than 20 years, the university has had a email@example.com we track our students and have made it a priortary activities director whose role is to coordinate support ity to work with the registrar’s office and the Office of Institutional and outreach and identify new opportunities to serve our military Research to build a plan to increase our efforts to accurately track our community,” Levingston said. Meanwhile, a military liaison admisstudents from admission to graduation,” said Levingston. sions counselor works with military-affiliated students. Faculty also
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Stratford University offers similar programs to its veteran students. “For the most part, Stratford’s goal is to help them establish career goals out here in the civilian sector and adjust to their new environment,” said Mary Ann Shurtz, executive vice president. And who better to help veteran students adjust than faculty members who have also served in the military? “Our ‘one-stop shop’ military student office, which is staffed by veterans, assists student veterans with transitioning to civilian life and ultimately the civilian workforce,” she said. Similar to the VRC at the aforementioned universities, Stratford’s military student office assesses the individual needs of veteran students, and monitors class registration, attendance, assignment completion and grades. Stratford University tracks the success of student veterans throughout their time there, and focuses on variables like attempted classes, remaining classes, and academic progress. “Stratford also offers career placement assistance and has a strong placement rate,” Shurtz said. At Inver Hills Community College, in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., student veterans must consult with a counselor each term before registration. “That way, we can talk about courses and academics, but it also gives us a chance to check in and see how they’re really doing,” said LeAnne Schmidt, a counselor there. “At first, we were afraid that our student veterans would see this as a barrier to them being able to register. After talking with a student veteran group, however, we learned that their preference is to be given specific instructions, such as needing to make an appointment at a certain time.”
Offering early registration to veterans before it’s available to the general student body helps student veterans to plan ahead for the next semester. When they meet with a counselor, student veterans think about long-range academic and career plans. “Seeing the path to completion is an important piece of the motivation to graduate,” Schmidt said. In addition to perks such as early registration, Inver Hills Community College also hosts a veteran’s lounge and an informal veterans club. “They’re working on becoming a more formal organization on campus, which would [allow them to have] more of a voice about important issues on campus,” said Schmidt. Faculty trained in veteran-reintegration issues includes counselors and a veterans services representative/benefits officer. On occasion, VA representatives come to the school bearing information on health care and mental health benefits. Counselors also work with VA mental health professionals to provide continuity of care to student veterans. By developing the services offered by a VRC or similar office, many schools have pledged their commitment to student veterans. As tracking veteran retention rates becomes a higher priority amongst schools enrolling students using TA or GI Bill funding, a clearer picture of student veteran success will emerge. O For more information, contact MAE Editor Laural Hobbes at firstname.lastname@example.org or search our online archives for related stories at www.mae-kmi.com.
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MAE 8.1 | 41
CCME and NAIMES
Two Missions, One Goal: To Support the Educational Needs of the Military, Veterans and their Families By Linda Frank (CCME past president; SUNY Empire State College), Joycelyn Groot (CCME president; Brandman University), Merodie Hancock (NAIMES past president; Central Michigan University), Ramona McAfee (NAIMES immediate past president; Columbia College), and Louis Martini (NAIMES president; CCME past president; Thomas Edison State College) Whether your organization is new to military education or has years of experience, you will want to make sure you are aware of two key organizations and how both are here to help ensure our servicemembers, veterans and their families receive quality programs and services while pursuing their educational goals. The Council of College and Military Educators (CCME) and the National Association of Institutions for Military Education Service (NAIMES) will be holding an interactive session at this year’s CCME National Conference to explore how both organizations can, individually or jointly, effectively and successfully address and communicate issues impacting the military community in the area of higher education. NAIMES is a member-driven organization which advocates for the military student by partnering with the military education community for the betterment of educational programs for military, veterans and their families. As a force for academic quality and continued improvement, and as a military student advocate (to include veterans, family members and DoD civilians), NAIMES members promote best practices, provide a perspective of a diverse higher learning community, and will take positions that reflect the collective will of the membership. The founding members of NAIMES were institutions that served significant numbers of military students on three or more installations. NAIMES strives to keep its membership small to allow active, thorough and timely exploration and action on key issues. Membership in this organization is by invitation and in accordance with membership criteria, which are (1) be regionally or nationally accredited, (2) provide the institutional diversity needed to fulfill the NAIMES mission, and (3) adhere to SOC standards. CCME is a large member-driven organization and welcomes all organizations who desire to implement and integrate “military42 | MAE 8.1
friendly” practices in their organization. CCME was founded in the early 1970s to provide a venue for the exchange of ideas between military installations and their local colleges as to how better meet the needs of military personnel who desired a college education. CCME’s mission is to promote educational programs and services to support the unique needs of servicemembers, veterans and their families and to facilitate communication among its members and the DoD educational support network. While CCME hosts one large annual meeting each year, they work throughout the year to discuss emerging issues, post information updates through their social media sites, send newsletters and other electronic messages to engage and inform membership, and have hosted webinars when timely and warranted. Although both organizations were each founded separately to support the on-base educational needs of servicemembers, their respective missions have evolved to include representation among the entire military education community. Events that have driven the evolving mission include up-ramp of transition, distance learning education and an enhanced focus on the military family. Today, serving active duty, veterans and their families is the goal of both organizations. CCME and NAIMES are committed to working collaboratively to “up each other’s game” for the betterment of our missions and ultimately, to making a positive impact on how our nation’s educators serve the military. NAIMES is a forum of “industry leaders” representing diverse organizational backgrounds whose membership provides experienced and dedicated input to issues impacting higher education in the military community. NAIMES is a thinktank around the pertinent issues represented by schools that are heavily, historically or uniquely focused on serving the military. CCME is a
conduit to sharing and networking pertinent issues and best practices (primarily through their annual symposium) among the entire membership. CCME serves the broader spectrum of institutions that have small or large, and relatively new to long standing, military populations. This population, which is open and ever changing in the current climate of military education, plays an equally critical role to driving educational support. Working together, these organizations do their best to influence policy and practice to support our active and veteran students and their families. Together, we continue to improve this relationship to improve our ability to give CCME members a voice within the NAIMES environment—and vice versa. One way we have moved to enhance collaboration was in the development of liaison positions on each of their respective boards. The role of the liaisons includes serving as co-chair to the legislative committees and co-facilitator of the Institutions Breakout Session at the CCME annual symposiums. The liaisons leverage the communication between both organizations, with the primary purpose being to keep both engaged about military education issues and opportunities as appropriate to both CCME and NAIMES that benefit the armed forces community; and keep both informed about their respective activities relevant to educational programs and services for military, veterans and family members. We invite readers to attend CCME 2013, February 25-28, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront and to participate in the CCME/ NAIMES concurrent session slated for 8 a.m. on Wednesday, February 27, to share their thoughts, discuss ideas and join in the discussion as to how the two organizations can enhance collaboration for inclusion of the whole. It’s about higher education serving the needs of the military community. Let’s work together to make an impact that matters. O www.MAE-kmi.com
The advertisers index is provided as a service to our readers. KMI cannot be held responsible for discrepancies due to last-minute changes or alterations.
MAE RESOURCE CENTER Advertisers Index American Graduate University........................................... 34 www.agu.edu American Military University............................................... 8 www.amuonline.com/mae The Art Institutes........................................................... 41 www.veterans.artinstitutes.edu Ashford University. . ........................................................ 20 www.military.ashford.edu/mae Auburn University.......................................................... 40 www.aubemba.org Baker College Online. . ....................................................... 3 www.bakercollegeonline.com Barry University............................................................ 29 www.barry.edu/mae Berkeley College............................................................ 12 www.berkeleycollege.edu/military Brandman University...................................................... 26 www.brandman.edu/gi Capitol College.............................................................. 43 www.capitol-college.edu/mae Columbia College........................................................... 18 www.goforgreater.org DeVry University............................................................ 11 http://lp.keller.devry.edu/mae1a Empire State College....................................................... 32 www.esc.edu/military Excelsior College. . .......................................................... 21 http://success.excelsior.edu/degreesformilitary Florida International University......................................... 28 www.fiupmba.com Fordham University........................................................ C4 www.fordham.edu/vets Fort Hays State University Virtual College. . .............................. 9 www.fhsu.edu/virtualcollege/military Hawai’i Pacific University................................................. 15 www.hpu.edu/military Indiana Tech................................................................ 35 www.military.indianatech.edu Jones International University........................................... 10 www.jiumilitary.com Kaplan University.. ......................................................... 27 www.military.kaplan.edu Liberty University. . ......................................................... 24 www.luonline.com/mae Los Angeles Film School................................................... 14 www.lafsforvets.com Northern Virginia Community College. . ................................ 31 www.nvcc.edu Park University............................................................. 38 www.park.edu/mae Regis University. . ........................................................... 19 www.regis.edu/cps/military Thomas Edison State College............................................. 16 http://military.tesc.edu Tidewater Community College. . .......................................... 30 www.tcc.edu/military University of Maryland University College............................. C2 http://military.umuc.edu/degreefits University of Phoenix........................................................ 5 www.phoenix.edu/mil Upper Iowa University..................................................... 39 www.uiu.edu/mae Webster University.. ........................................................ 36 www.webster.edu/military Western Governors University............................................ C3 www.wgu.edu/maeg
A LEADER IN CYBERSECURITY EDUCATION SINCE 2001
master’s and doctorate programs in information assurance.
Calendar February 24-26, 2013 Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the U.S. 2013 Annual Meeting Alexandria, Va. www.amcsus.org February 25-28, 2013 CCME 2013 Symposium San Diego, Calif. www.ccmeonline.org March 2-5, 2013 The American Council on Education’s 95th Annual Meeting Washington, D.C. www.aceannualmeeting.org March 26-28, 2013 VA ACME Conference Virginia Beach, Va. www.vaacme.org/conference
April 8-10, 2013 Sea-Air-Space 2013 National Harbor, Md. www.seaairspace.org April 29-30, 2013 Women Veteran Entrepreneurship Corps Competition and Conference McLean, Va. https://countmein.org/webform/ Women-Veteran-EntrepreneurCorps-Competition-andConference-Registration May 19-22, 2013 ASTD 2013 International Conference & Exposition Dallas, Texas www.astdconference.org
MAE 8.1 | 43
Military Advanced Education
Garland H. Williams, Ph.D., USA Col. (Ret.) Associate Regional Vice President, Military Division University of Phoenix A: In 2010, we established a ground centralization team that centralizes the academic and financial advising for all military ground students to ensure they have the most current information. We ensure the advisors in our military division know in-depth about the GI Bill and how any changes may affect our students and their finances and, therefore, their degrees.
Q: What makes University of Phoenix unique in the benefits and programs you offer to military servicemembers? A: Primarily, it’s the way we’ve developed the graduation team concept, which is a team of advisors assigned to each student from enrollment through graduation. For prospective students who self-identify as military, they’ll interact with an advisor who’s a former servicemember. They speak the same lingo, and together they can quickly determine if University of Phoenix is the right fit, with the right programs and the right schedule. Many of our advisors also are earning their degrees with us, so they have experience fitting school into an already busy life and thus model success for our students. Also, just the way we’ve structured our on-campus learning format is unique—with courses offered one at a time, once a week, at night, with additional coursework completed through a learning team. Getting a degree can be daunting, but this learning format gives them a chance to see they can do this. Q: What are some of the university’s main goals in meeting the future challenges of online education for the military? A: The key challenge is that as technology changes, we also need to change. Our “new classroom” is entirely web-based and encapsulated in a web syllabus. Once you’re enrolled, all you need is an Internet connection, and you’re good to go. The idea of online education being different or not as good as on-campus education is going away. The University of Phoenix has adopted an instructional design to attain the same learning outcomes for students regardless if the curriculum is presented online or on campus.
demand for accessible education among servicemembers. That demand grew even more with veterans wanting to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits. To meet that need, we require all of our enrollment advisors to have military experience because they have the background and mindset to best help our students. We’re also changing the conversation we’re having with those students to make sure we’re the right fit for them. And we’ve greatly increased our team of representatives who work with veteran organizations and installations to help prospective students understand the university and what we offer. Q: How does your school help transition servicemembers to academic life? And to post-education civilian life/advanced military roles?
Q: How has your school positioned itself to serve military students?
A: In addition to our military-trained advisors guiding new students into academic life, we have about 20 trained advisors to help them with their interviewing skills through their post-education transitions. They can translate skills students learned in the military into workplace skills understood and valued in corporate America. The university helps all of our students with Phoenix Career Services, enabling them to determine their career goals and align their education with those goals. Additionally, we’re helping to connect our students with corporate partners that offer veteran hiring programs.
A: In 2004, the university launched the military division in response to growing
Q: How has your school’s commitment to military students evolved over the years?
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Q: From what you’ve seen, in what ways is getting a college education impacting your military students? A: Their discipline, combined with a degree, will make them better prospects for entering the corporate world than the traditional 18-year-old student who goes straight into college from high school. Q: What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned since assuming your current position? A: I’ve been learning how organizational skills from the military translate into both academic and corporate settings. For example, in the military, you make decisions quickly. But in the academic world, people seem to take more time in the decisionmaking process and seem to talk extensively about the decision before anything is final. I’m trying to find ways to influence that, and it’s taken a lot of patience for me to adapt. In a business setting, I’ve been trying to learn about the things that are important to University of Phoenix as a corporation and what I can do proactively to ensure the military division provides the proper support. Additionally, in the military, conversations—online and in person—are very direct. In a non-military setting, I’ve had to learn to be more conversational in my communication or else risk being seen as cold and unyielding. University of Phoenix is a collaborative environment, and it’s to the organization’s benefit for me to adopt a less direct style of communication. But after serving 28 years in the Army, some old habits die hard. O www.MAE-kmi.com
At WGU, you graduate with more than an accredited bachelorâ€™s or masterâ€™s degree; you graduate with more real-world experience, more essential skills, and better preparation for the workplace. A nonprofit, online university, WGU offers more than 50 affordable, online degree programs in IT, business, teacher education, and healthcare, including nursing. With tuition for most programs under $6,000 a year, as well as VA and GI Bill benefits available to those who qualify, WGU may be a perfect fit for military veterans, spouses, and active-duty personnel. Visit www.wgu.edu/maeg to learn how you can graduate with more with a degree from WGU.
Western Governors University | 1.866.225.5948
Study at the only New York City university ranked in the top 25 “veteran friendly” colleges and universities by Military Times magazine. For more information, visit www.fordham.edu/vets
Rose Hill • Lincoln Center • Westchester
Fordham was one of the first universities in the country to commit to full participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, which removes any financial obstacles between eligible post-9/11 service members and a Fordham education. And today, even in the face of a new national cap, we have reaffirmed our Yellow Ribbon commitment to cover all tuition and mandatory fees for eligible post-9/11 veterans and dependents. That guarantee applies to any of our three campuses and to any of the 10 schools to which you are admitted.
Fordham is proud to be a Yellow Ribbon University. eeo/aa