Cerritos college veterans_issues_presentation_2011_final__b
WORKING EFFECTIVELYWITH VETERANS ONCAMPUS Cerritos College Veteran Affairs Norwalk, California
Challenges Faced by Veterans Veterans’ success in college can be complicated by: Challenges represented by the career shift from the military to civilian life; physical or emotional challenges as an artifact of warfare and deployment overseas; for recent returnees, the need to reconnect with previous support systems and community; the fact that, as frequently working class and from minority communities, veterans may be the first in their families to attend college.
Challenges Faced by Veterans Veterans’ success in college can be complicated by: the sometimes challenging identity work involved with integrating past military experiences and behaviors into a post-service identity (witness to suffering and intense violence, etc.); worries over the return to employment; GI Funding delays and red-tape; health care delays and navigating the VA.
Guiding PrincipleWhile acknowledging and addressing thechallenges faced by veterans on campus,we must proactively support veterans by utilizing their individual and collective agency and assets
Veterans’ Perspectives Do not feel welcome Want to be with others who speak “their language” Lack of personal support Too much “confusion” “Unfriendly” policies and procedures Lack of funds; benefits slow to arrive Credit transfer Information - courtesy of Sam Wan, Ph.D. VA Medical Center, SF
Veterans’ Perspectives DO NOT assume that you know my politics or beliefs because I was in the military. Listen to me. I may or may not be ready to talk about experiences yet, but I have a story to tell when I’m ready. You must earn my trust, I will trust you if you earn it.
Suggestions from Veterans We are accustomed to being successful and accountable and may be too proud to ask for help. We are not to be feared. Getting to know me and being able to identify issues might help and may make me feel welcome. Be direct and let us know when you see us struggling and offer assistance Hold us to the same standards as other students. The military held us to high standards. We know pressure. We expect to be challenged.
Counseling Services Have a familiarity with military culture as it applies to decision- making, ethics, pragmatism, and virtually any other daily activity having a civilian context. DO NOT make clinical assumptions about a veteran student’s behavior that would otherwise be completely reasonable from a military perspective. Meet with vets for ongoing PTSD and TBI assistance and create/facilitate support groups and classes. Allow vets to "vent" frustration when balancing the stress of school with the alienation of trying to assimilate to a new environment.
The Proactive Campus Know the legal mandates and federal programs available for veterans Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33, 38 USC) Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (Chapter 30, 38 USC) Montgomery GI Bill – Reserves (Chapter 1606, 10 USC) Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP, Chapter 1607) Post Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program (VEAP, Chapter 32) Etc.
The Proactive Campus Create a welcoming and safe environment where veterans are viewed via their assets first and foremost Provide a class for transition from deployment to civilian/academic life Offer in-service workshops on PTSD & TBI and how it affects students Provide workshops for faculty, staff, and community members on the above topics Build alliances with community leadership for veterans services Support the creation of support networks among veterans on campus with ties to off-campus agencies
The Proactive Campus Become a Service member Opportunity College Provide campus veterans leadership opportunities Actively listen to the suggestions of veterans in support of a positive change Create an effective, pro-active student retention and transition system through early tracking/identification, intervention, and student engagement As Veterans Affairs Counselor, accept responsibility for, and maintain an accountability system for assessing and evaluating program management and student outcomes