UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

UNCG spurs dialogue on ‘military-friendly’

022713Feature_MilitaryFriendly2Part of our mission at UNCG is to foster a campus-wide culture of inclusion.

As Provost David H. Perrin welcomed the attendees of the “Creating a Military Friendly Campus” to UNCG, he said, “As the most diverse institution in the UNC system, it makes sense for us to broaden our reach and embrace all that military-affiliated students bring to our campus community.”

Those attending the conference ranged from staff, faculty and students at UNCG to staff at universities throughout the region. They shared ideas, research and practices and came to know one another. Dr. Tom Matyok noted the conference presented an opportunity for dialogue – for a group of interested, committed people that will grow.

Session topics ranged from families and diversity, to the impact of stress and distress, to policies, systems and supports.

With recent troop drawdowns in the Middle East, UNCG’s veteran community has grown significantly, Perrin explained. “The number of students receiving VA benefits grew from 259 in 2008 to 476 last year. With additional troop drawdowns on the horizon, we expect the number of veterans we serve will grow and we are taking proactive steps to ensure we are prepared.”

Among the steps taken so far:

  • The establishment of the Chancellor’s Task force on Military, Veterans, and their Families in November 2010.
  • It released its report with 24 recommendations in November 2011. The university has already implemented a number of these recommendations and many others are in progress.
  • UNCG has targeted its efforts in three areas: access, support services and outreach.

UNCG’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program provides nearly $200,000 in scholarship money to cover the difference between the VA’s authorized in-state allocation and ineligible out-of-state costs for post-9/11 GI Bill recipients, the provost said. UNCG’s financial contributions to the Yellow Ribbon Program benefitted 22 students during the 2012-13 academic year. UNCG has also established a Veterans Bridge Loan program to help students make the financial transition from the time of separation from service to the real-time disbursement of financial aid funds.

University departments such as the Registrar’s Office, Undergraduate Admissions and Student Affairs are working together to strategically position specialized staff that have the needed expertise to identify UNCG’s military-affiliated students and ensure they are supported inside and outside the classroom from the time they apply for admission to the day they graduate.

Also, the Student Veterans Association has become revitalized, providing peer support and social engagement activities.

“Our student veteran population produces outstanding students who earn high grades and exhibit maturity and persistence in the classroom,” the provost said. “Our military-affiliated population success rates are consistently impressive, as evidenced by an 87 percent retention rate and a 72 percent graduation rate.”

UNCG has been on the “Military Friendly School” list published by GI Jobs Magazine for two consecutive years. And this year, UNCG was the only public university in our state deemed “Best for Vets” by Military Times Edge Magazine.

After the conference’s conclusion, Matyok reflected that the most productive aspect of the conference was “the horizontal engagement.” People could engage – and now can continue to engage – in meaningful conversations that address the needs of active duty military, veterans, and their family members on college and university campuses.

By Mike Harris
Photo: Dr. Tom Matyok speaks at the start of the conference. Among those visible are Provost Perrin and Dedrick Curtis, UNCG’s veteran services coordinator, on front row, far left.