Supporting student veterans
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Steven Lipnicki – Assistant Dean of Students John Koch – Graduate Assistant, Veterans Network Objective: To familiarize you with what is available at GVSU to assist student veterans and faculty Background Student Veteran experiences Resources for Students and Faculty.

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Supporting Student Veterans

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Supporting student veterans

Steven Lipnicki – Assistant Dean of Students

John Koch – Graduate Assistant, Veterans Network

  • Objective:

    • To familiarize you with what is available at GVSU to assist student veterans and faculty

  • Background

  • Student Veteran experiences

  • Resources for Students and Faculty

Supporting Student Veterans


Fall 2010 enrollment

  • 434 student veterans/reservists/family

  • +188 or 76% from Fall 2009 (246)

  • 200+ using new GI Bill benefits

  • 50 dependents/survivors

  • Predictability of continued growth is uncertain…

Fall 2010 Enrollment


What is the veterans network

What is the Veterans Network?


What are the unique needs of veterans

What are the unique needs of veterans?


Transitioning realities

  • Transitioning from Soldier to Student or Combatant to Civilian can be difficult

  • Coping

    • post-traumatic stress

    • Physical disabilities

    • Financial challenges

    • Relationship and family challenges

  • Substance issues

  • Discrimination

Transitioning realities


Ptsd symptoms

PTSD Symptoms

“A normal reaction to an abnormal event.”

Repeated thoughts and images of the traumatic event

Unwanted memories, nightmares, and/or flashbacks

Increased arousal (e.g., difficulty sleeping and concentrating, jumpiness, irritability).

Avoidance of thoughts, feelings, and situations related to the traumatic event

Spectrum of symptoms – not like polio or pregnancy. (May exist even if the person is not diagnosable)


Common struggles

Feeling alone on campus

Feeling overwhelmed by new freedom of life

Economic struggles

Re-connecting with friends and family

Adjusting to academic rigor

Lack of transfer credit

Disclosure dilemma – mental health, relationships, etc.

Common Struggles


Traits of student veterans

Very mature for their age

Very experienced - especially with basic necessities of life – embodiment of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Global perspective – especially those who have been overseas

Heightened sense of awareness

Goal driven – sometimes to a fault (forest for the trees)

Traits of Student Veterans


Resources for students and faculty

Resources for students and faculty


In the classroom

  • Encourage veteran students to contact you if they encounter circumstances that may impact their performance in your course.

  • Accommodate special needs expressed by veteran students

    • Seating preferences

    • Initial hesitation to actively participate in discussion

    • Absences related to VA appointments or reserve-duty commitments

  • Take the time to explain course, assignment, and university policies to veteran students as they may be used to following orders without question.

  • Learn about combat-related disabilities, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

In the Classroom…

Excerpted from NIU Spectrum; Spring 2010 www.niu.edu/facdev


In the classroom1

  • Expect the same classroom responsibilities and performance

  • Provide opportunities for veteran students to work with civilian students on team projects

  • As with all students, know how to teach veteran students who have different experiences, learning preferences and capabilities.

  • Avoid expressing personal sentiments related to war or military personnel that could alienate or embarrass student veterans.

    • All veterans deserve recognition and appreciation for their service regardless of our personal opinions.

  • Involve veteran students, at their own comfort level, in coursework related discussions where they can share their service experiences and enrich the learning experience of all students.

In the Classroom…

Excerpted from NIU Spectrum; Spring 2010 www.niu.edu/facdev


How well is gvsu serving veterans

  • Veterans Network: www.gvsu.edu/veterans

    • University and community resources

  • Peer Support: Student Veterans Organization

  • Communication: Social media- Facebook group

  • Mapworks

  • Veterans Resource Fair(February 23, 2011)

  • Community Collaborations

  • Training opportunities

  • Finding opportunities for recognition & thanks

How well is GVSU Serving Veterans…


Student veteran resources

Records Office – Handles all GI Bill certification

Student Accounts – Handles Vocational Rehab Students Cheryl Lillibridge – 1-2209

Counseling Center / Alcohol Substance Abuse – Barb Palombi – 1-3266

Disability Support Services – Kathleen Vanderveen

Womens Center / Family Support – Ashley Nickels

Veterans Network – General concerns or questions 1-7188

Student Veteran resources


Model for academic success

Model FOR Academic Success


Student veterans faculty

  • Guidance

    • Veterans need to be encouraged to meet w/faculty and make them (faculty) aware of their (veterans) situation

    • Meetings should be in faculty member’s office

Student Veterans & Faculty


Suggestions from a veteran

Suggestions from a Veteran

Each of us is an individual. I may have seen heavy combat or sat in an office.

DO NOT assume that you know my politics or beliefs.

There are many reasons that people are in the military and most are not political.

You do what you are told regardless of political affiliation.

DO NOT be afraid of my identity as a vet. Getting to know me and being able to identify issues in the early stages will not only help but may make me feel wanted and welcome.


Supporting student veterans

QUESTIONS


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