Veterans in the Classroom
Serving People Not Politics
Steve Frantz – System Director of Student Life, Office of the Chancellor
Don Pfeffer - Director, MDVA Higher Education Veterans Programs
CPT Daniel Price – MN ARNG Military Liaison to the Office of the Chancellor
Jennifer Parta Arno - Counselor, Higher Education Veterans Programs
Photo by CLC and BSU Student Jason Sather
CPT Dan Price
Steve Frantz
To Develop an Understanding of
HOW To Assist
Military Members and Their Families
“Return Home”
Don Pfeffer
Jennifer Parta Arno
Video - ”Remember Me”
Photo: MN National Guard
What is REINTEGRATION?
A Comprehensive Program of the State of
Minnesota
BEFORE, DURING and AFTER Deployment
To ensure ALL Military Members
“Return Home”
1st Brigade Combat Team
34th “Red Bull”
Infantry Division (1/34 BCT)
Soldiers Home of Record
25 AND
UNDER
26- 75
76 AND UP
By the Numbers
Minnesota: 450,000 Veterans
47,000 Disabled
20,000 Minnesotans deployed; 9/01-10/07
9,700 Active Duty Military
7,000 National Guard Members (Army and Air)
2,300 Army Reserve Members
700 Air Force Reserve
200 Marine Corp Reserve
50 Naval Reserve
Each person impacts at least 60 other people
DOD Data
Pre-Deployment
Getting Orders to Leave
Separating from Significant Others
Getting Your “Affairs in Order”
Deployment
From “Citizen to Warrior”
Training to Survive
Using Training to Survive
Returning Home
From “Warrior to Citizen”
Rebuilding Relationships
Reentering the World of Work/Education
All “Stages of Grief” Apply
Separation Process is Individual
Shadow of Injury/Death…
Change in Hopes
and Dreams
…Resolution
Photo: MN National Guard
Six Months Of Training and Twelve Months of Combat Individuals Move From:
SECURITY
SAFETY
ORDER
LAW
COMFORT
TRUST
COOPERATION
‘US’
INSECURITY
DANGER
CHAOS
LAWLESSNESS
DISCOMFORT
MISTRUST
SURVIVAL
‘ME’
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Insecurity
Danger
Chaos
Lawlessness
Mistrust
Survival
How does it feel?
Re-occurring grief
Constant fear/concern
Increased responsibilities
Anger/Resentment
Increased difficulties:
Lack of focus
Change in priorities
“Short Fuse”
What
readjustment
issues
might
these
individuals
face?
Photo: Sgt. Lynette Hoke, MN National Guard Public Affairs
“Warrior to Soldier to Citizen”
300 Hrs From Combat
INSECURITY
SECURITY
DANGER
CHAOS
LAWLESSNESS
DISCOMFORT
MISTRUST
SURVIVAL
‘ME’
SAFETY
ORDER
LAW
COMFORT
TRUST
COOPERATION
‘US’
Photo: Sgt. Lynette Hoke,
MN National Guard Public Affairs
Control Issues
Household Management
Parenting
Budgeting
Relationship Issues
Living with a “Stranger”
Inability to Work/Attend College
How does everyone “Fit In”
“Self Worth” Issues
Emotional/Physical Health Issues
Anger issues
Guilt
Financial Issues
Redefining Myself
Overcome Alienation from
Family and Society
Move from Simplicity to
Complexity
Replace War with Another High
Move Beyond War and Find
Meaning in Life
Come to Peace w/Self,
Spirituality and Others
How does this affect attending
college?
1. Hopes and Dreams
Move from:
“I don’t want to go back home
to the same life I had before I
deployed. Who am I and what
do I want to do with my life?”
To:
“I’ll be OK. I’ve found a new
career path. Working on my
college degree has given me
a new dream with new hope.”
2. Overcome Alienation
from Family and Society
Move from:
“I feel like I don’t fit. No one
can really understand unless
they were there.”
To:
“I’m OK. I’ve found some
friends. I can use what I’ve
learned as a leader.”
3. Move from Simplicity
to Complexity
Move from:
“College is chaos. I can’t do
this. Life here is too
complicated. Too many
choices.”
To:
“With some help, I can find
my way through this. ”
4. Replace war with
Another High
Move from:
“This is boring. I need
adventure. Let’s go do
something exciting.”
To:
“I’m excited about my
classes, and it’s a lot less
dangerous.”
5. Move beyond war and
Find meaning in life
Move from:
“After what I’ve been through,
this is meaningless drivel.”
To:
“I’ve always wanted to be in
college and now I’m here.
6. Find peace with self,
my spirituality and others
Move from:
“I don’t know what any of this
means. Why me? How can I live
with what I saw/did/didn’t do?”
To:
“I need to move on. I’ve found
some forgiveness. I’ll never
forget - but I can move on.”
“Landing on your campus,
but not staying…”
What have we learned?
Why Veterans struggle in College?
 Do not feel welcome
 Overwhelmed – need to get away
 Too many time conflicts
 “Civilians don’t understand me”
 Lack of transfer credit
Why Veterans struggle in College?
 Want to be with others who speak “my
language”
 Lack of personal support
 Too much “Confusion”
 “Unfriendly” policies and procedures
 Lack of Funds/Benefits slow to arrive
When and Why family
members struggle in College –
DURING ALL PHASES
 Lack of personal support
 Too much “things” to keep going
 “Unfriendly” policies and procedures
 Lack of Funds/Benefits slow to arrive
 Overwhelmed –
too much responsibility
When and Why family
members struggle in College –
DURING ALL PHASES
 Not enough time
 “Others don’t understand”
 No time to focus on studies
 “Surviving” has a higher priority
4 Basic Needs
 The need for Safety and Security
 The need for a certain amount of Power Over Our
Environment
 The Sense of Identity
 Fundamental Need to Belong
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 Veterans unique mental health and academic
needs.
 In a classroom setting the following are some
items faculty may observe:
 Veterans may sit next to door
 Loud noises can be disturbing to them
 Unusual items may cause anxiety
-backpacks, crumpled bags, etc.
 Hyper vigilance
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Unique Mental Health Needs
 Veterans may return with
 depression
 anxiety
 readjustment & relationship issues
 high risk behaviors - chemical & substance
abuse, etc.
 an increased risk of suicidal tendencies
 stress reactions
Just as you would with any other student, if you are concerned about
an individual it is important to refer them to campus resources.
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 Isolating behaviors
 Excessive irritability
 Inability to relate to peers & develop friendships
 Excessive absences
 Withdrawn behaviors
 Depressive behaviors & comments
 Hyper vigilance & anxiety
 Resentment
 Lack of focus
 Self-esteem & self-worth issues
32
 Talk to the veteran. They may or may not be ready
to talk about their experiences yet, but they all have a
story to tell.
 Being friendly and talking goes a long way toward
gaining trust. Trust is something that veterans have a
hard time giving to people when they return.
 DO NOT be afraid of the veteran. Getting to know them
and being able to identify issues in the early stages will
not only help the but may make the veteran feel
wanted and welcome.
33
 Each veteran is an individual. They may have seen heavy
combat or sat in an office.
 DO NOT assume that you know a military person’s politics
or beliefs.
 There are many reasons that people are in the military and
almost NONE of them are political.
 Politics have no bearing in the military. You do what you
are told regardless of political affiliation.
34
o Veterans are accustomed to being successful,
they may also be too proud to ask for help
o Let them know you can see they are struggling
o Offer assistance but realize the issues may be
unrelated to being a veteran
o Open communication and genuine concern for their
well-being goes back to “trust”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are many
resources available.
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Suggestions from a Veteran:
Faculty should hold the veteran to the same
standard as the rest of the students. Yes, they
have been to a combat zone. Yes, some of
them might have seen heavy combat. The
military holds them all to a high standard.
The staff and faculty should too.
oVeterans know pressure
oVeterans know and expect a challenge
oVeterans will excel and exceed standards
What can faculty and campuses do to assist veterans
to succeed?
 Welcoming campus environment

“Space” to gather - with others
with similar experiences
 Accurate and timely information –
“in appropriate amounts”
 “Safe” campus environment
 Someone to “interpret” - “when needed”
What can faculty do to
assist veterans to succeed?

Find out if you have a Veterans Resource Center
on campus and where it is – announce this
resource in class

Know the Regional Coordinator for your college –
great referral

Are there any veterans clubs or organizations on
your campus?

Find out if there are any Veterans activities
happening on campus – share information –
attend
What campuses can to
do to assist family
members succeed?
 “Safe” campus environment
 Accurate and timely
information
 “Understanding” about
deadlines
 Assistance with setting new
priorities/timelines
What campuses can to do
to assist family members
succeed?
 A space/time to gather with others
with the same experiences
 Someone to “interpret” for them -
“when needed”
 Defer tuition & fees
 Some “Time Off”
Family Activities
Family Nights
Equipment/Automotive Repair Days
Communicating to Iraq
Family Photos/Open House
MSCTC Fergus Falls
Central Lakes College
Veterans Friendly Campuses:
Laws and Policies
 Higher Education Fairness
 Protections
 Higher Education Veterans Assistance
 Minnesota GI Bill
 Application fee waiver
 Residency policy
 Tuition deferral policy
 Credit for prior learning policy
 ACE Guidelines
 Deployment policy
Mission:
Help colleges assist veterans, military members and
their families to:
Start College
Stay in College
Graduate from College
**Regional Coordinators
**MyMilitaryEducation.org
MyMilitaryEducation.org
DO
 Provide support and structure
 Recognize service and sacrifice
 Expect good performance, but remember it takes
time to readjust
DO NOT
 Assume the worst
 Label with PTSD (6 to 9 % of Combat Vets may get
PTSD)
 Isolate or make them stand out from their peers
 Make them a spokesperson for “war”
or the military
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 Steve Frantz:
[email protected]
Don Pfeffer:
[email protected]
CPT Dan Price:
[email protected]
Jennifer Parta Arno:
[email protected]
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