MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System announced that starting today it will begin accepting applications from campuses for UW VETS Certification, officially recognizing their exceptional commitment to helping student veterans succeed.
The University of Wisconsin VETS (Veterans Education and Transition to Success) Certification highlights campuses that go above and beyond in a wide range of critical supportive services, including counseling, providing a welcoming campus environment, and giving student veterans a voice in university life.
“Recognizing that today’s veterans face significant challenges, it is the responsibility of every institution in the UW System to step up and provide our student veterans with the necessary services to make their educational experience a success,” said UW System President Ray Cross, who served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam.
“The UW VETS certification program is our way of ensuring that our commitment to veterans is tangible and meets the highest standards,” Cross said.
“We are proud to see the UW System stepping up and deepening the state’s long-standing commitment to support the educational and life-long success of our veterans,” Governor Scott Walker said.
“One of the promises our great state makes to the men and women who step forward to serve our country is access to a quality education at one of Wisconsin’s public universities when they return from service,” Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary John A. Scocos said.
“We are proud to support the UW System in this effort to ensure that Wisconsin’s veterans have a smooth transition, as well as ongoing support, from military service into academic life through the UW VETS certification program.”
To meet certification criteria, UW Vets campuses will:
- Train campus faculty and staff on issues that student veterans may face in transitioning to college including scheduling, making connections, study habits, and health and welfare challenges;
- Conduct regular surveys of student veterans to identify needs and get input;
- Establish a campus steering committee composed of student veterans, faculty and staff to share information and provide guidance to campus leadership;
- Provide student veteran-focused orientation programming;
- Identify internal and external counseling resources to assist student veterans with academic, financial and social concerns; and
- Provide a dedicated space on campus where student veterans can meet peers and receive help with benefits, enrollment and connecting to supportive resources.
Following a comprehensive review of campus application materials, Cross will recommend qualified UW institutions to the Board of Regents for UW VETS certification. The first VETS Certifications could be issued by spring of 2016.
As part of efforts to help campuses meet the training requirements for faculty and staff, UW System is providing access for all UW institutions to Veterans on Campus , a Kognito Software suite of two 30-minute online training simulations designed for faculty, staff, student veterans and other students. Developed in collaboration with the Student Veterans of America (SVA), the trainings build cultural competency to manage classroom discussions around issues sensitive to veterans, convey common challenges facing student veterans transitioning to campus life, and build skills to identify, approach, and refer student veterans exhibiting signs of post-deployment stress or struggling to adjust to college life to support services both on- and off-campus.
The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) supports Kognito training as a valuable prevention tool. The training is expected to help improve retention and academic success for student veterans, reduce stigma that could make veterans uncomfortable on campus, and increase the visibility of UW campuses as veteran friendly.
For more information on the UW VETS Certification program or to apply, visit: https://www.wisconsin.edu/veterans/uw-vets-cert-app/