Student Veterans

 

The University of Alaska is welcoming increasing numbers of student veterans to our classrooms and online learning environments.  It is important for the UA community to appreciate complex transitions and design our offerings to be user-friendly and supportive.

DSS works with many student veterans who have been injured and many times, the ways in which these individuals are impacted are not immediately obvious.

  1. Student veterans with hidden injuries may be less likely to disclose or request accommodation. 
  2. Students with disabilities use the accommodation process to achieve equal access – disclosing disability then working with UAA to identify reasonable adjustments to put in place.
  3. Universal Design reduces barriers and minimizes the need for accommodation - UD benefits everyone. 
 

Help UAA Become More Student Veteran Friendly

  1. Clear - Processes and language should be clear. (websites, forms, brochures, handouts, and other materials should be simple and intuitive to navigate)
  2. Available - Departments and individuals should provide different ways for contact to occur (office hours as well as email or live chat, online forms as well as paper based forms)
  3. Accessible - Everyone should become more aware of how online information can be used with assistive technologies (UAA provides workshops regularly)
  4. No Run Around - We should strive to be student centered (go beyond the minimum effort to ensure that questions are answered and students don't get the runaround)
  5. User Friendly - Think about nontraditional students when designing programs (types of events, times, days, locations, advertising methods)
  6. Aware - Educate yourself (see our resources list below; Invite a facilitator for a staff meeting devoted to ideas for supporting student veterans in your particular area)
  7. Collaborative - Partner with Organizations - VA, American Legion, Student Veterans group, etc
  8. Responsive - Seek and Provide feedback (ask those you serve if you are meeting their needs or if there are areas in which you can improve and provide feedback to others)
 

Resources to Learn More

Videos like the one featured above help portray individual experiences. There are some great articles that can help increase awareness as well. Consider examples such as:

Check out the Consortium Library for these excellent resources:

  • Down Range: To Iraq and Back
  • Once a Warrior: Wired for Life
  • Healing from War
  • Until Tuesday:  A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him
  • Webcast: Psychological Needs of Returning Veterans
  • Video: Hidden Wounds (57 minutes)