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Vaccaro Presents Workshop on Reintegration of Veterans into the University Setting

Christian Vaccaro, research associate with the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Research and Training Institute, presented a workshop entitled “The Invisible Work of Veterans Reintegration in the University Setting” at the Valuing Veterans in Higher Education conference, March 31 and April 1, 2014, at Slippery Rock University. 

Workshop Description:

OIF/OEF student veterans face challenges during reintegration. For many, navigating Institutions of Higher Education while coping with mild, moderate, or severe psychological and physical trauma can lead to poor academic performance, dissatisfaction with campus services and student life, and dropout.  

As important, and for the vast majority of student veterans, is the challenge to shed perceptions from other students, faculty, and administrative staff that all student veterans are distressed and needing intensive services. Although often coming from a place of caring, this ill-informed characterization of veterans can work counter to the goals of universities to provide greater support.

One way student veterans attempt to shed the stigmas associated with the veteran “sick role” may be through non-disclosure or limited disclosure of their veteran status. A culture of non-disclosure can impede the transmission of knowledge about and use of campus services among veteran students and lead to strained efforts in outreach for building a university-based veteran student community.

The preliminary analysis provided in this presentation is a case study that aids in further defining the parameters of this problem and offers a narrative of the efforts made by a cooperative consortium of university-based organizations is search of a solution. Information provided can be used as a guide for other U.S. universities making outreach efforts for recruitment, retention, community building, and delivery of campus services to OIF/OEF veteran populations.

Research funded through IUP University Faculty Senate Grant SFA-1314 Vaccaro/Papakie

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