From Military Service to the Classroom

From Military Service to the Classroom

An Initiative to Support Student Veterans Servicemembers and Family Members THANK A VETERAN Green Zone Program A training program designed to create awareness about experiences and issues faced by student veterans and servicemembers as they transition from military life to campus life. A Green Zone Supporter pledges to be supportive and encouraging of veterans/servicemembers and

family members on campus. Green Zone Presentation This presentation contains video clips and/or photographs that some people may find emotionally disturbing. Please feel free to leave during these portions of the presentation or to talk to staff after the presentation. Commonly Used Terms Servicemember

Generic term which encompasses Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserves personnel Veteran Any individual who served in the U.S. military regardless of length, time, and/or location of Service OEF- Operation Enduring Freedom War in Afghanistan OIF- Operation Iraqi Freedom War in Iraq 4

Green Zone A location recognized by veterans/servicemembers as a safe place. FTCC All American Veterans Center Who is a Green Zone Volunteer? FTCC staff and faculty who identify themselves: as someone who is aware of the issues and concerns faced by student veterans/servicemembers as someone who is available to assist the student has completed the Green Zone Training

Volunteers are NOT expected to be experts who can solve the problems a sympathetic ear someone who can help the student find the appropriate resources for problem resolution. Who is a Student Veteran/Servicemember? Student Veterans and Servicemembers are a diverse group of individuals. They are: From all branches of the military Range in age, race/ethnicity,

and gender Have served during times of war and peace Have different education goals More likely to have families 7 Student Veterans/Servicemembers FTCC Campus Top majors for FTCC veterans/servicemembers

Associate in General Education: 25% Associate in Arts: 7% Criminal Justice Technology: 5% Associate in Science: 4% Business Administration: 4% 8 The Military Experience 9

Military Experience North Carolina Statistics North Carolina has deployed 50,886 troops to OIF/OEF since 9/11. There are more than 750,000 veterans living in North Carolina. There are 150,000 Active Duty North Carolina residents. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, 2012 10

Emotional Cycle of Deployment: Military Experience Separation from family or loved ones Relocating away from family and friends 11 Military Experience - Deployments Deployments last from 6-18 months Multiple deployments Some serve more than one deployment before being discharged from the military

More than 977,500 have experienced two or more deployments Emotional Cycle of Deployment: Pre-Deployment, Deployment, Sustainment, ReDeployment, Post-Deployment 12 (***(Defense Manpower Data Center November 2011) Pre-Deployment Physically present and Psychologically absent

Faber, Al, Willerton, El, Clymer, S., MacDermind, S.M., Weiss, H. (2008). Ambiguous absence, ambiguous presence: A qualitative study of military reserve families in wartime. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 222230. Pre-Deployment Campus Concerns Notification Possible class withdrawal Coping with unit preparation v. class responsibilities Loyalties to friends, family and unit Romantic relationships Challenges outside the norm

Deployment Psychologically present and Physically absent Faber, Al, Willerton, El, Clymer, S., MacDermind, S.M., Weiss, H. (2008). Ambiguous absence, ambiguous presence: A qualitative study of military reserve families in wartime. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 222-230. Deployment Tough Realities About Combat

Fear in combat is pervasive Unit members will be injured and killed There will be communication breakdowns Leadership failures will be perceived

Combat impacts every soldier mentally and emotionally Combat has lasting mental health effects Soldiers are afraid to admit that they have a mental health problem Deployments place a tremendous strain upon families Combat environment is harsh and demanding Combat poses moral/ethical challenges WRAIR Land Combat Study Team Challenges of OIF and OEF No clearly defined front line or rear areas (FOB)

Highly ambiguous environment Complex and changing missions Long deployments Repeated deployments Environment is very harsh DOD Combat Footage DOD Combat Footage of Ambushed Sol diers in Afghanistan Post Deployment Physically present

and Psychologically absent Faber, Al, Willerton, El, Clymer, S., MacDermind, S.M., Weiss, H. (2008). Ambiguous absence, ambiguous presence: A qualitative study of military reserve families in wartime. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 222-230. Post-Deployment Challenges Physical Cognitive Emotional Social Spiritual

Post-Deployment Challenges Physical Traffic Crowds Unarmed Access to alcohol US Convoy in Iraq Post-Deployment Challenges Cognitive: Loyalty issues to family vs unit

Secrecy vs disclosure Boredom Regrets Thoughts of losses Simplicity to complexity Post-Deployment Challenges Social Separated from buddies Overwhelmed or misunderstood by family Feelings of alienation

Emotional Grief Anger Feeling unsafe Guilt Withdrawal from war rush Numbness Post-Deployment Challenges Spiritual Asking why buddies died Lack of purpose

Changed faith Conflicting values Transitioning from Base to Campus 25 Common Experiences While in the Military Military culture and battlefield skills can be deeply internalized by many Service Members. Sometimes, core beliefs and principles learned through military service can conflict with the beliefs and principles underlying higher education. For example, following

orders and respecting rank and formality may run counter to the independent thinking and informality encouraged in many classrooms. Transition Strengths Veterans/ Servicemembers transitioning out of the military onto college campuses bring a unique perspective Military training Life experience Established Identity A more worldly view Skills taught in the military help students to be successful

Leadership Motivation Time Management Work Ethic Stress Management 27 Transition Difficulties Military skills New profession

Switching gears Non-military Skills and training College Credit GI Bill College Tuition Transition Difficulties

Things to keep in mind about Student Veterans in the classroom: May have difficulty relating to classmates May find loud noises to be disturbing May become anxious with changes in the classroom May have excessive absences May have symptoms of trauma from military

experiences ***(Pfeffer, 2010) 29 Invisible Wounds Can impact the ability to concentrate and complete assignments PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder TBI Traumatic Brain Injury MST Military Sexual Trauma

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after a person has gone through an extreme emotional trauma that involved the threat of injury or death. PTSD is experienced by some, but not all Student Veterans/Servicemembers Have some knowledge of PTSD, BUT DO NOT expect that every Student Veteran/ Servicemember will have these symptoms ***(American Psychiatric Association, 2000) 31

PTSD in the Classroom Student Veterans may: Sit in the back of the classroom so they can have a clear view of everything around them Be easily startled by noises (pens dropping, shuffling in a backpack, whispering or other noises from classmates) Be withdrawn from class discussion Have difficulty maintaining emotional control during difficult topics 32

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) A blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain. Severity of injury can vary Mild: brief change in mental status or consciousness Severe: extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury Some, but certainly not all Student Veterans, may have experienced a TBI Have some knowledge of TBI, BUT DO NOT expect that all Student Veterans/Servicemembers will have experienced

a TBI ***(, 2010) 33 Other Wounds of War Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) A spinal cord injury occurs when trauma or disease damages the spinal cord and results in partial or complete paralysis Military Sexual Trauma (MST)

Includes sexual assault, sexual threats, bullying, and unwanted touching or grabbing that occurred while in the military ***(Spinal Cord Injuries, 2010; VA MST, 2010) 34 Suicide Prevention Program Army initiative Soldiers are taught to: Ask, Care, and Escort (ACE) anyone who mentions suicide. Usher to a Behavioral-Health Care provider,

chaplain or primary care provider Never leave a friend alone Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK Encourage your military/veterans to seek help Seeking help is a sign of courage Considering the Needs of Student Veterans with Disabilities

Some Some Some Some Veterans of OIF/OEF have PTSD symptoms. have mild TBIs. have physical injuries. of these veterans are coming to our campus. May be experiencing a disability for the first time

Unaware of services on campus with a documented disability May not want to identify as having a disability Stigma Implications for future in the military Active service members *** (Jones, Young, & Leppma, 2010; Thomas et al., 2010) 36 Considering the Needs of Student Veterans with Disabilities What the Green Zone volunteers should know:

Do not ask or suggest that the Student Veteran/ Servicemember has a disability, but inquire about the issues they are experiencing to better provide the appropriate resources Become familiar with information provided on Disability Support Service website for those who may request such services counseling_services/special_populations.aspx Students may need extra help navigating the system and understanding what help is available to them Provide the student with contact information if requested for Disability Support Service Office Assist in making an appointment, if needed

37 Considering the Needs of Student Veterans with Disabilities Services on FTCC Campus Special Populations Support Services, curriculum Carrie Nance

[email protected] 910.678.8479 Cumberland Hall 313A & 314A 38 Easing the Transition Have an open dialogue about frustrations Provide them with information about various services and resources available as seems appropriate Veteran Certification (All American Veterans Center) Job Center Counseling Services

Disability Support Services Office VA Hospital Wounded Warrior Project Remember that each student is unique in their experiences 39 Easing the Transition What Student Veterans want faculty to know: We are having normal reactions to an abnormal experience. No two veterans are alike. Each of us has had different experiences.

Do Not assume that you know my politics or beliefs just because I was in the military. I may or may not be ready to talk about my experiences. Trust can be an issue for me. Being friendly and listening can go a long way toward building trust. Do Not be afraid of me. We are accustomed to being successful and may be too proud to ask for help. 40 ***(Pfeffer, 2010) Suggested Questions To Ask The

Veteran What is your branch of service? How long in the military? How many deployments? When, where, how long How has your experience been at school? What was your job and where did you go?

What are your career goals? How are you and your family doing? Do not ask if they have killed someone Do not ask how they were injured 41 Questions To Ask The Veteran IF A SERVICE MEMBER OR VETERAN OPENLY DISCUSSES HIS OR HER EXPERIENCE: DO NOT INTERRUPT, DO NOT MINIMIZE, DO NOT OFFER YOUR POLITICAL BELIEFS

ABOUT THE WAR. JUST LISTEN 42 Things to Remember Students veterans are a unique population with different experiences. There are numerous ways to help Student Veterans/ Servicemembers just as there are for other student populations. Developing trust with this population is important. Following-up with the Student Veterans/ Servicemembers and

carrying out what you say you will do is essential. 43 HOW CAN I HELP? Faculty members are often the only point of contact for student Veterans. Faculty can help student Veterans in many different ways. Find out how to make your syllabus Veteran friendly, and how to understand and help with specific classroom behaviors. How can I help Student Veteran

Privacy Some Veterans may not want to bring attention to their service. There may be many reasons for this, one of which is that he or she may not wish to speak of his or her experiences. What can I do? Be respectful of a person's desire to disclose or not disclose his or her Veteran status. If you are interested in providing Veterans in your class an opportunity to covertly disclose his or her status, you could hand out note cards during the first class to gather information about the students. Students could include Veteran status or information about their past military experiences.

Matt Thewes 910.678-8296 [email protected] GCB 202 Arthur Goodman Faculty & Program Manager [email protected] Questions?

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