Over 35 Campuses Represented at Statewide Veteran Education Academy

Friday, March 08, 2019 | 02:27pm

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Courtney Rogers addressed a room packed with representatives from half of Tennessee’s public and private non-profit higher education institutions last Friday for the fifth annual Statewide Veteran Education Academy hosted at the new Tennessee College of Applied Technology Murfreesboro’s Smyrna campus.

“Studies show that veterans in our institutions of higher education often serve as leaders in the classroom for their non-veteran peers. They are generally a bit older, have a greater sense of responsibility and have had true leadership experience,” said Rogers. “These are the kinds of students we want to recruit not only for your campuses, but later for our businesses and communities here in Tennessee.”

The fifth annual Veteran Education Academy focused on educating attendees about the challenges veterans face in transitioning back to the classroom, how to create greater access to campus programs and resources for these students and the importance of data collection to statewide student veteran success initiatives. Since 2015 the Department of Veterans Services has spearheaded data collection efforts at 91 campuses across the state. These efforts have produced the first statewide snapshot of student veteran success by tracking retention, completion and graduation rates.

 “As leaders, educators and support staff we can continue to increase student veteran recruitment and success through the application of best practices – and the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services is committed to providing campuses with the most current best practices information,” said Rogers.

Attendees received presentations or remarks from the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Memphis and the University of Georgia.

“What higher calling can we all have than helping the men and women who have served and protected our country so well make the transition to college and then to the civilian workforce,” said Dr. Flora Tydings, Chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents. “We all honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans – and we are here to support them and their families.”

The first Statewide Veteran Education Academy was hosted in 2015 to bring campuses from across the state together for a day of networking, brainstorming and sharing of best practices on student veteran success on campus. The event is now an annual opportunity for higher education staff to learn from one another and from state and national experts in student veteran initiatives. The Veteran Education Academy attracts close to 100 or more participants every year.

The Department of Veterans Services plans to host its sixth Statewide Veteran Education Academy in March 2020.