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Promising Practices

Promising Best Practices Research Results

As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq come to a close many who have served in the U.S. military will begin their transition home and readjustment to civilian life. For many, this will mean enrolling in a higher education institution, using their earned education benefits.

The pending influx of student veterans means that higher education must become aware of the special needs of this population, become more veteran friendly, and develop competency in veteran culture.

The aim of this research is to compile a list of national higher education promising best practices, to assist institutions to better understand how they can effectively serve their student veterans.

From Timm Lovitt's Promising Best Practices: Veteran-Supportive Institutions of Higher Education in King County (Veterans Training Support Center, 2013). See the full report: download pdf, 99 pages

Promising Practices

Annual Student-Veteran Focus Groups

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Identify the needs of student veterans by conducting annual focus groups.

Promising Practice

Each campus is different in terms of student populations and their needs. Some campuses have higher numbers of veterans and military family members attending and some only have a few. What works on one campus may not work on another; there is no cookie cutter mold. Therefore it is highly recommended that institutions take the time each year to sit down with their student…

Avoid Isolating Your Veterans

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Recognize that criticism of the military can be taken personally by student veterans and cause them to feel isolated.

Promising Practice

While sharing our personal and political beliefs is an important part of the higher education experience, as it helps us create a more informed understanding of the world, staff and faculty must be aware that there are many instances in which these beliefs can be taken as a personal insult. This is especially true when it comes to…

Welcome Your Veterans

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Welcome veterans to your campus instead of thanking them for their service.

Promising Practice

Thanking a veteran for their service has become an increasingly common tradition. It is believed to be a sign of respect that communicates gratitude for all that the individual has had to sacrifice during their time in the military. However, it should be noted, that not all veterans receive this gesture with the understanding of it being grounded in warm intentions. Some…

Veteran Friendly Signs & Symbols

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Welcome and recognize veterans by using familiar signs and symbols.

Promising Practice

Transitioning to a new environment can be quite overwhelming. One must learn where various offices and services are located, figure out key points-of-contact, and try to learn about the different policies in place. For veterans this transition can be exceptionally difficult, as most of their questions and issues, while in the military, are taken care of in one centrally-located…

Annual Veteran-Awareness Training

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Encourage faculty and staff to attend annual trainings on veteran-related matters.

Promising Practice

Going to trainings on veteran-related issues is important. It helps build up cultural competency about veterans and military family members and ensures that the campus is better equipped to serve them effectively; however, it can be difficult finding time to attend such trainings. Therefore it is recommended that institutions provide additional incentives to…

Veteran Cultural Competency Training

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Attend veteran cultural competency trainings and learn about the invisible wounds.

Promising Practice

Many veterans and military family members deal with different issues than a lot of traditional students do. Some of these issues may include: being a first-generation college student, having to relearn successful studying habits, adjusting from service member to student, becoming accustomed to physical injuries, and living with invisible injuries. These issues are…

Tracking Veteran-Specific Data

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Track veteran-specific data and use it to help develop policies, programs, and services.

Promising Practice

One of the most critical pieces in becoming a more veteran-supportive campus is being able to track and measure progress. Progress is a measurement of efficiency, and is needed in order to justify an increase, and/or sustain, in the allocation of resources. Without the ability to objectively analyze programs designed for veterans and/or military families the…

Military Service on Enrollment Forms

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Ask about ‘prior military service’ on enrollment forms.

Promising Practice

Most institutions of higher education already ask incoming students about possible veteran status. This is because some grants ask for the data, or the institution has set a strategic goal that requires this kind of information. However, it should be noted, that not everyone who has served in the military identifies themselves as a veteran. This is because the term ‘veteran’ can be confusing…

Veterans Advisory Committee

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Create a veteran’s advisory committee to help direct institutional policies, programs, and services.

Promising Practice

Creating a veteran-supportive institution is a complex and comprehensive endeavor. It involves crafting a strategic plan, establishing metrics and collecting data, and facilitating collaboration between numerous departments. Often times these efforts are completed without staffing. Many institutions have found a way around this by forming a…

Veterans in Your Strategic Plan

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Incorporate veterans and military family members into the institution’s long-term strategic plan.

Promising Practice

There has been a significant amount of veterans enrolled in higher education since the end of World War II. This is because one of the main benefits that a service member earns is an education award. Commonly known as the government issued (G.I.) Bill, it allows veterans the opportunity to go to college for free, or at a reduced rate. In the past ten…

Best Practices Research Results

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Promising Best Practices Research Results

As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq come to a close many who have served in the U.S. military will begin their transition home and readjustment to civilian life. For many, this will mean enrolling in a higher education institution, using their earned education benefits.

The pending influx of student veterans means that higher education must become aware of the special needs of this population, become more veteran friendly, and…