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UA Sustaining Veteran Awareness
Two levels of workshops will be offered: general information and awareness, and train-the-trainer. Both are part of the UA’s plan to sustain and enhance veteran services on campus.
The University of Arizona has built a reputation as a national leader in creating a supportive environment for military service personnel.
To help sustain this tradition, the UA's Disabled Veterans' Reintegration and Education Project is sponsoring workshops to increase campus awareness of military culture and the transition these service members undergo in acclimating to civilian and college life.
Stefanie Ulrich, director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Center for Psychological Services, will lead workshop sessions and share her expertise in post-traumatic stress disorder and veterans' services and cultural issues in diagnosis and treatment as well as provide insight into veterans and trauma.
The "Military and College: Bridging the Gap" and "Train the Trainer" workshops to be held June 18-19 are open to UA faculty and staff with an interest in understanding, anticipating and responding to the needs of student veterans.
Amanda Kraus, assistant director at the Disability Resource Center and adjunct assistant professor at the UA Center for Higher Education, said many of the returning service members have invisible disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder that can be triggered by subtleties the general population may not be aware of.
"We want to share how even the design of a test can leave exclude people with certain disabilities, and more importantly with the workshops we want to share with those who prepare tests and instruct classes or work with the student population in general how they can be as inclusive and sensitive as possible," said Kraus.
There are two levels of workshops: the first are general information and awareness sessions, and the others are train-the-trainer sessions.
"A key component of the workshops is the train-the-trainer sessions, as they will further help the UA institutionalize veteran services," Kraus said.
The train-the-trainer sessions will aid in disseminating and sustaining the lessons learned during the workshops, as those who sign up for the session will share the information with faculty or staff within their own department and with other departments to raise campus awareness.
In 2008, the UA was awarded a congressionally directed grant and began the Disabled Veterans Reintegration and Education Project launching several campus initiatives for enrolled and prospective student veterans to create a veteran-friendly campus.
Approximately 500 veterans have utilized a program or service supported by the grant, including credit-bearing transitions courses, personalized GI Bill counseling, a student-run veterans' center, admissions and financial aid support and a premier adaptive athletics program.
Funding from the grant ends this month, but thanks to a campus-wide effort, many of the veteran support programs have been institutionalized to sustain services.