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A University of Wyoming task force has established a four-part series of recommendations to enhance services for veterans of the U.S. armed services who wish to pursue additional education.
Though UW now offers a variety of services to student veterans, the task force concluded that additional efforts could help to smooth the transition from military life to college life.
The task force was appointed last September by Vice President for Student Affairs, Sara Axelson. Associate dean of students and task force chair, Dolores Cardona, led the group that included more than 20 members representing various UW departments, state agencies and community service organizations.
"The Task Force recommended as the highest priority the establishment of a dedicated, multi-use space for veterans to serve both information/business and social/gathering purposes," Cardona says.
The veterans services center would be staffed by student veterans as 85 percent of students surveyed indicated "they would feel more comfortable if other student veterans staff the office." The center could also serve as a clearinghouse of information for student veterans now that existing resources related to veterans have been identified.
Creating a caring and trauma-informed community was recommended as a second priority. The report concluded that developing personal and professional awareness among faculty, staff and students related to working with student veterans is vital to fostering success both in and out of the classroom.
A new Web site, www.uwyo.edu/Studentaff/veteranservices/, coordinates UW's admissions, financial aid and registration processes to assist student veterans as a third priority. The site incorporates "getting started" information prepared by the Admissions Office, and the Office of the Registrar provides information on transferring military service courses to UW.
A fourth priority is to explore the potential for establishing a veterans learning community. Student veterans would take one or two classes together in support of one another. An intellectual community would be created specifically for first-year student veterans, a refresher "boot camp" would be implemented for returning veterans, and specialized on-line courses and webinars would be provided for veterans and their families.
For a copy of the report, contact Cardona at (307) 766-3296 or firstname.lastname@example.org.