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Veterans guaranteed the '8 keys' to success at Oakland University

Thursday, July 3, 2014
Veterans guaranteed the '8 keys' to success at Oakland University

Above: The Veteran Support Services office at Oakland University provides a supportive, welcoming environment to more than 300 veterans, service members and dependents of veterans. Below: While serving in the Navy in East Africa, OU's veteran liaison Jeffrey Schuett shakes hands with Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta.
 

by Kelli M. Titus

Oakland University is encouraging the educational advancements of those who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces of the United States through a commitment to the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success.

“Signing the 8 Keys to Veteran’s Success document is one more example that OU is a military-friendly institution,” said University Registrar Steven Shablin.

For many service members, adjusting to civilian life can be a challenge. The U.S. has a variety of groups, organizations and government agencies dedicated to assisting veterans in this transition, along with colleges and universities nationwide aiding them in their endeavors.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Education, and Defense collaboratively identified and established strategies to aid veterans and service members in obtaining their educational goals, creating the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success. These keys focus on ways that colleges and universities can support veterans as they pursue their education and enhance their careers.

Participating educational institutions:

  1. Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans;
  2. Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership;
  3. Implement and early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming;
  4. Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designed space for them;
  5. Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans;
  6. Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention and degree completion;
  7. Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans, and;
  8. Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans

Oakland University actively supports the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success by dedicating staff, groups and support services to aiding service members.

“For these eight keys, Oakland is meeting them with flying colors,” said Jeffrey Schuett, U.S. Navy veteran and liaison for OU Veteran Support Services.

The University’s Veteran Support Services initiative provides a camaraderie that Schuett says is reminiscent of his time in the Navy. Veterans from all branches of military service are welcome to gather at the North Foundation Hall space, as well as at the annual Jumpstart event, to talk, collaborate, network and become a part of a tight-knit community.

“Oakland University is committed to serving our veterans who so bravely served our country,” Shablin said. “Supporting these kinds of initiatives requires service from a variety of offices in Academic Affairs, Finance and Administration and Student Affairs who work daily with our veterans in support of their academic goals.”

Gregory Galey is an officer with the United States Air Force and a 2011 Oakland graduate. After serving in the Air Force for four years, Galey spent two years at OU obtaining his bachelor of arts degree in political science.

“The faculty and staff at Oakland are actively supportive,” Galey said. “They helped guide me seamlessly through getting my benefits, listened to any concerns and offered a lot of opportunities.”

For Galey, Schuett, and many other veterans, access to higher education is important. With help from the 8 Keys to Veterans’ Success, service members are provided greater support in obtaining a degree, certificate or license; credentials that are valued by employers and serve as a vital step in future career success.