Office of Military and Veterans Services to open in fall
May 26th, 2009
Military veterans and active service personnel will find it a little bit easier to attend the University of Louisville thanks to a new office designed to better meet their needs. The Office of Military and Veterans Services will open this fall.
At least 600 UofL students are veterans, and the university expects by fall to have 750, said Joe Dablow, associate director in the offices of Undergraduate Affairs and Enrollment Management, at a May 26 press conference.
Dablow, a Navy reservist, will be the first director of the new office. It will be located in the Houchens Building on Belknap Campus near the offices of admissions, the registrar and the bursar.
The office is not intended to give veterans an advantage over other students, he said. It is intended to “serve as a resource to give military and veteran students the same opportunity for success as every other UofL student.”
UofL students have more “alikes” than differences, he continued, but the differences between a student enrolling right out of high school and one enrolling from military service are huge.
“High schools have full-time counselors to help juniors and seniors, and our applications process itself is designed generally for high school students,” Dablow explained. Military applicants may be applying to UofL while serving in Afghanistan. The dynamics of doing that are vastly different.
There also are issues associated with the length of time it has been since a student was in a classroom.
“Many UofL students sitting in a college algebra course had algebra last year,” he continued. “Compare that with someone who hasn’t had algebra for four years and last year was serving convoy duty in Iraq.”
The new office will offer services from enrollment through graduation. Its goals are to
- Provide support to military and veterans throughout the enrollment process; actively recruit veteran students; and better facilitate the admissions process
- Provide effective academic and student life support and provide opportunities for veterans and military personnel on campus
- Provide a single-point of contact at UofL for veterans
“This says veterans are welcome here and we are supportive of all your have done and are grateful for your service,” said University Provost Shirley Willihnganz. “It puts us at the forefront of how we serve all students.”
Providing such services is important because a recent study at Cleveland State shows that if returning veterans have just one year of support, they are more likely to finish their degrees, said Tom Jackson, vice president for student affairs.
UofL is rapidly becoming a “veterans-friendly campus,” Jackson said. Much of the university’s progress is because of the efforts of Rodney McGuire, a returning veteran now in his third year at the university who is president of the University Veterans Organization, UofL’s chapter of the Student Veterans of America.
“Arguably he is the person who said very clearly that we can improve the environment for undergraduate students that are veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, so credit for our efforts and successes today really go to (him),” Jackson said.
Plans began to take shape last summer when UofL put together a group to look at how it can improve veteran’s services in light of the possible influx of students coming back to school from military service using the G.I. Bill, which takes effect this summer.
UofL’s Division of Student Affairs earlier this year had its first Veteran’s Symposium. Among the universities that presented at the conference were Cleveland State University, San Diego State University and Montgomery Community College of Maryland — all of which are considered to have best practices in terms of serving veterans. Attendees represented universities from across the United States. A second conference is being planned for spring 2010.