Supporting Military Connected Students

Military-connected students getting help at UW-Superior

About Military-Connected Students

Military-Connected students are growing in number on college campuses, those students are identified as active-duty service members, reservists, members of the National Guard, and veterans. In 2013, there were over 1,000,000 student veterans and beneficiaries receiving education benefits.

UW-Superior provides military-connected students with a direct point of contact on campus through our Veteran and Nontraditional Student Center (VNSC). The VNSC supports military veterans and families, as well as students who are older, have spouses or have children, throughout their educational journey at UW-Superior. 

Aside from the VNSC, faculty members are typically the most consistent point of contact and serve a key role towards student Veteran success. This page provides resources and guidance to additional online resources that can better equip instructional staff with the means to help student Veterans in many different ways.

Most of these resources identified here are provided through the VA Campus Toolkit, an extensive online resource center with topic specific materials to provide faculty, staff, administrators, and other students. Topics covered on this page are focused on faculty and their role in creating a Military-connected friendly campus.

Who are Today's Student Veterans?

From the VA Campus Toolkit website:

Characteristics of Student Veterans

  • 73%-80% of Student Veterans are male; 21-27% are female.
  • With only 10-14% of military personnel being women, female Student Veterans are over represented in post secondary education.
  • Only 15% of Student Veterans are traditionally aged college students. Most Student Veterans are between the ages of 24 and 40.
  • 47% of Student Veterans have children.
  • 47.3% of Student Veterans are married.
  • 62% of Student Veterans are first-generation students.

Go to the complete Characteristics of Student Veterans Handout

- See more information and access resources at: Who are Today's Student Veterans?

Tips for Making Your Syllabus Veteran Friendly

As part of the VA Campus Toolkit the link below takes you to a printable single page handout that provides guidance on how to make your syllabus Veteran friendly. This handout includes a suggested Veteran-friendly statement to address special circumstances associated with active duty military and Veterans. 

Additionally the handout offers more suggestions on how you can create a syllabus that reflects awareness of student Veterans as a student group, expressing your interest in their success and your desire to work through issues that may arise for those still serving as Active Duty, Reservists or in the National Guards.

Tips for Making Your Syllabus Veteran Friendly

Tips for Showing Support

This VA Campus Toolkit printable single page handout provides guidance specific to the roles as administrators, staff and faculty.

From the handout - Tips for Faculty:

  • Encourage Veteran participation in campus groups and activities. Veterans bring tremendous life experience, diversity, and skill (e.g., leadership and teamwork) with them to the campus.
  • Encourage students to approach you with questions after class and during breaks or to use office hours and email. The relationship with a faculty member or advisor could be the single item that helps the Veteran remain in school.
    • For instance, this relationship may help the Veteran feel more connected to the campus, may help the Veteran navigate a new system (many Veterans leave higher education because they grow frustrated with the process and inability to obtain benefits), or feel support from an authority figure.
    • Further, if a student is a National Guardsmen and has to drill on a weekend, he or she may be away from home from Friday through Monday. This could affect the student's ability to complete an assignment or study for an exam.
    • Some flexibility with assignments, tests, or attendance policies, based upon a particular situation, should be considered.
  • Recognize that a Veteran is a non-traditional student who may hold multiple roles (parent, spouse, employee, Reservist/Guardsman). Encourage communication and exhibit flexibility related to these many demands.

Link to complete Handout

Tips for Making Referrals

Excerpt from VA Campus Toolkit Handout on - Tips for Making Referrals

You are on the "front lines" with student Veterans and are in a unique position to identify the ones who may need help. In many situations, expressing your concern and discussing the requirements of your course will be enough to address the problem. In other situations, additional help may be needed. Here are some tips for facilitating a referral to counseling services.

What should I do to prepare to talk to a student?
Learn as much as you can about the counseling center and support services for student Veterans.

  • Learn about the staff - is there someone who specializes in Veteran issues?
  • Learn about the services - do they offer support groups for student Veterans? Individual therapy? How many sessions?
  • Learn about peer supports - is there a peer mentor program for student Veterans? Is there a student Veteran Organization on campus?
  • Learn about outreach programs - are there outreach efforts for student Veterans?
  • Keep a list of phone numbers available so you can give student Veterans specific contact information. By learning what is available at your counseling center, you can answer basic questions students may have and you can tell them about available programs.

See the complete Handout page

Adjustment Issues in the Classroom

This VA Campus Toolkit Handout covers classroom specific issues and includes insights related to such topics as distractions, provocative content, sitting quietly, sleepiness, unstructured setting, campus culture/climate, privacy, relating to others and respect.

Adjustment Issues in the Classroom Handout

What is the VITAL Initiative?

VITAL Education and Training for Faculty and Staff
Most veterans are entering college for the first time or returning after many years away. We understand that concerns may arise from working with Veterans. We strive to reduce stigma by consultation and liaison services to the campus community. Our purpose is to educate faculty, staff, and students about the unique strengths and challenges facing student veterans. 

Taken from the VA Campus Toolkit VITAL training for Faculty and staff to see more visit:
VITAL Education and Training for Faculty and Staff