MARYLAND'S COLLEGE COLLABORATION FOR STUDENT VETERANS
On January 31, 2011, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown convened 21 presidents and officials from community colleges and universities throughout the state to sign the Maryland Campus Compact for Student Veterans. The name of the agreement was changed to Maryland’s College Collaboration for Student Veterans in July 2011, after it was realized that there was another organization already in existence with the name “Maryland Campus Compact.”
Among others, the Lt. Governor was joined by William “Britt” E. Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland and Sandra Kurtinitis, President of the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC). The agreement seeks to ensure the educational success of veterans who choose to return to a Maryland school through greater awareness and understanding of the unique challenges student veterans face. It also encourages open communication about recognized best practices in the academic and support services provided to veterans in an effort to improve and educate Maryland campuses.
The agreement was sparked by a troubling essay published inthe student newspaper at CCBC detailing a student veteran’s war experience and CCBC’s controversial, but necessary, decision to remove the student until a psychological evaluation could be performed.
After the agreement was signed, representatives from the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs and several colleges throughout Maryland formed an Advisory Committee to begin implementing the concepts that were included in the agreement. The Advisory Committee agreed to coordinate a Student Veteran Conference for all colleges and universities in Maryland. The purpose of the conference was to meet with all higher education staff/faculty who deal with student veterans in any way, in order to share best practices of serving student veterans on campus.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Jerry Boden – Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs – firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick Young – Towson University – email@example.com
Joanna Starling – Montgomery College – firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Barnhart – UMBC – email@example.com
Dwayne Bourgeois – PGCC – firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheryl Miller – AACC – email@example.com
Jackie Cymek – CCBC Essex – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellen Robinson – CCBC Catonsville – email@example.com
Joseph Bozeman – Morgan State University – firstname.lastname@example.org
Olayta Rigsby – Howard CC – email@example.com
Tasha Vanterpool – UMCP – firstname.lastname@example.org
1st ANNUAL STUDENT VETERANS RESOURCE PROVIDERS CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
The 1st Annual Student Veterans Resource Providers Conference in September 2011 was attended by 39 of the 50 higher education institutions in Maryland.
2nd ANNUAL STUDENT VETERANS RESOURCE PROVIDERS CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
The 2nd Annual Student Veterans Resource Providers Conference in September 2012 was attended by 39 of the higher education institutions in Maryland.
BEST PRACTICES FOR STUDENT VETERAN SERVICES
Several colleges have a full-time student veteran coordinator - they are:
Through the generous support of FIPSE, The University of Maryland has established a Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success. The Center is designed to increase awareness, communication, coordination, and information dissemination across all campus units (academic and administrative services, physical and mental health services, campus life/student involvement, etc.) serving veterans. As a result of the grant, the University has enlarged direct service to prospective and current veteran students by enhancing the previously fledgling Veteran Student Life office which now serves as the hub for information and resources available to a diverse veteran student population. Recognizing the University of Maryland campus community as a single “Center” we have worked tosupport and provide leadership opportunities to veteran members of the campus community by intentionally redesigning and resourcing academic, student service, social, and advising programs.
The following initiatives have been realized during this grant period: a regional conference was implemented to support the career development of veterans, modes of communication were enhanced through social media and new publications, new internship opportunities were offered to student veterans, outreach efforts were increased in the local community, courses specific to veteran students were piloted during the academic term, and new opportunities were developed in order to engage veterans and veteran issues in and out of the classroom experience. Leveraging the investment of the U.S. Department of Education and the FIPSE grant, the University has enlarged the financial support for individual veterans through an aggressive development campaign that has funded scholarships and corporate and individual gifts that have resulted in new programs as well as a new physical Veterans Center. Admissions colleagues have launched an aggressive campaign to secure first year, transfer, and graduate veteran students. This campaign will be enlarged in coming months with the inclusion of veteran student interns working in this area. Campus research (facilitated by the University’s Veteran Student Services Committee in conjunction with nationally renowned university research faculty) has commenced and is increasing our collective understanding of the veteran experience. The findings of this research will assist the University in increasing enrollment of veteran students and will ensure their academic, personal, and professional success at the University of Maryland and in higher education nationally. The University has established an extensive network of supportive partnerships across campus and regionally to continue to serve veterans in at this institution and in higher education, in general. The University of Maryland continues to advance its agenda to develop as a model institution in serving veterans.
In the coming months, a new publication and partnered educational film will be introduced to new and returning faculty, staff, and teaching assistants that will enhance their understanding of the rewards of having veteran students at the University. This outreach will complement the ongoing and training efforts provided by Veteran Student Life staff. Veteran students have been warmly welcomed to the campus community with a special veteran orientation program and their on-going success has been supported by a strong team of student cadre leaders who will continue to serve as peer mentors to incoming veterans. The cadre leader program and the successful work of the TerpVets student organization has further enhanced outreach and supportive efforts to promote retention and academic, social, personal, and professional success among our constituency.