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Conference at UA to Share Higher Ed Vision for Veterans
The UA is seeking to share and gather strategies to advance intiatives to help veterans succeed in higher education. The conference will be held on campus Sept. 15-17.
The University of Arizona is continuing to establish itself as a leader in higher education services for veterans by hosting a national conference to gather and share strategies to advance the field.
The Veterans in Higher Education Conference at the Student Union Memorial Center Sept. 15-17 will showcase signature UA initiatives within Veterans Education and Transition Services such as the student-run VETS Office and the Veterans' Reintegration and Education Project.
"The conference provides an opportunity to engage in dialogue with national partners, share the innovative approaches the UA has initiated and learn from others who are interested in advancing veterans in higher education," said Amanda Kraus, program manager for Veterans Education and Transition Services and project director for the Disabled Veterans Reintegration and Education Project resource center.
The UA serves more than 1,000 student veterans. The VETS Office, now in its fifth semester, serves more than 100 veterans a day, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The VETS Office is located in the Student Union Memorial Center and offers student veterans a dedicated lounge, access to computers with free printing, a quiet study and tutor room, a game room, backpack and book storage and a book depository.
The office launched the semester with a room-filling open house on Wednesday that featured Col. David Sutherland, special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and UA President Robert N. Shelton meeting and greeting UA student veterans.
In partnership with the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration in Tucson, the VETS Office on Tuesdays hosts a VA psychological counselor and a post traumatic stress disorder support group.
"Many of our services are not offered at any other campus in the country," said UA student Robert Rosinski, historian and vice president of the UA VETS Club. The partnerships, he said, have gained the UA's program recognition from the Student Veterans of America as the premier student-founded, student-run veterans' center in the country.
The UA counts on the experience of more than 200 staff and faculty veterans and student veteran feedback to provide an integrated approach to serving veterans through the following partnerships:
- A specific contact for veterans at the UA Office of the Registrar that understands and helps veterans access and coordinate GI Bill benefits for use at the University.
- Priority registration for classes for registered veterans.
- A premier adaptive athletics program.
- The Veterans' Reintegration and Education Project, a congressionally directed grant that uses research and outreach to understand the experiences of disabled veterans as they transition and integrate into higher education.
The conference will showcase another unique UA partner, the Veterans City Court program in Tucson.
The court serves veterans arrested on misdemeanor charges in Tucson or who have warrants for their arrest. UA James E. Rogers College of Law student veteran volunteers advise veterans of the benefits of opting in to the court's diversion program and also handle their cases if the veteran is accepted into the program.
The conference is hosted by the VETS Office and will feature:
- Keynote addresses by Gwen Dungy, executive director of NASPA, and sessions from local and national experts, as well as roundtable discussions on hot topics related to the student veterans' community and higher education.
- Representatives from the Tucson City Veterans Court will present on the relationship between Veterans Court and the UA.
- An opening reception with a welcome from Shelton.
- A performance of Coming in Hot, based on "Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq."
- A tour and dinner at the Pima Air and Space Museum – 80 acres, more than 300 aircrafts and 100 years of aviation history.
Registration is reduced for UA faculty and staff members and students and is free for UA student veterans.