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Advice for Faculty from Veterans

Know your students. Gather information at the beginning of the semester that will help you create strong working groups, a sense of community, and possibly anticipate some patterns of discussion.

Faculty should take notice of what type of student the veteran is. For example, are they the type that needs to be told what to do or can tasks be implied? Identifying these study habits will help to keep the student motivated and help him/her to feel as though the faculty does care about student success.

If group assignments are a part of the syllabus, then identifying the veterans and assigning them to work together (unless, of course, the groups are self selected) will give them a common ground to start with and will also build a certain camaraderie.

Don't overlook female veterans! Many faculty members unconsciously assume most veterans are male.

Don’t assume:

  • that veterans are all suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • are “unpredictable”
  • are conservative Republicans

Take advantage of the full range of experience and knowledge a veteran can bring to the classroom. Many are well-traveled, have had experience with diverse cultures, and have lived with, worked with, and relied on people of all races, classes, and backgrounds. At the same time, don’t always pointedly ask a veteran to speak “as a veteran,” as if she or he can speak for all veterans. Even if the veteran appears “young” and might “pass” as a traditional-aged student, his or her experiences may be very different from traditional-aged students.

If you want to keep up with some of the issues and thoughts related to veterans, you can read some blogs. Check out the following, recommended by USA Weekend:

  • Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Dr. Mary Anne Hannibal, Director
    Stouffer Hall, Room 137
    1175 Maple Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-7800
  • Fax: 724-357-2281