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Sonoran Desert Institute

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CCME Symposium

SDI Attends 2018 CCME Symposium

This year’s Council of Colleges for Military Education’s (CCME) Professional Development Symposium was held in San Diego, California, on March 26–30, 2018. Sonoran Desert Institute’s Walter Howard attended and had this to say, “I felt more prepared to attend this year than I have in years past, and there was a much-needed focus on what concurrent sessions to attend that will benefit organizations such as Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) as it continues to grow. Every day started with a keynote speaker, which consisted primarily of Navy Seals, and kicked off sessions to attend that generated small group discussions.”

Building Alliances for Veteran Support. This presentation discussed how the University of Phoenix uses alliances to provide support and resources in areas such as transitioning to civilian life, career readiness, and mental health, ultimately helping veterans to achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals.

Collaboration on Campus and with the Community: Epic Steps to Veteran Victory. University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) overcame obstacles and created solutions in serving student veterans. A lot of discussions took place on how they have engaged their student veterans in the community.

Engaging Student Veterans in the Greater Community. A variety of common obstacles are preventing student veterans from connecting to and engaging with opportunities. Transition theories were discussed as topics on the number of veterans that don’t transition from military service.

How to Best Serve Military Students. Participants reviewed military-connected student populations provided by the University of Oklahoma College of Professional and Continuing Education, which has developed a policy for deployed students and has resulted in the college being recognized as a “military friendly” institution.

Is it Hoo-ah, Hoo-rah, or Hoo-yah?: Military-Affiliated Populations as a Cultural Identity on Campus. The University of Northern Colorado made the UNC Veterans Services a cultural center on campus as part of the newly formed Office of Equity and Inclusion. This change has allowed Veterans Resources to focus more readily on the cultural issues that military-affiliated students experience when attending college. While college spaces for veterans differ in size and resources, it is essential to show colleges how adopting a cultural lens can benefit their student population.

Next Set of Orders: Best Practices for Colleges to Ensure Student Success and Military/Veteran Focus. University of San Francisco (USF) discussed their “best practices” that have developed a solid structure facilitating success for our military and veteran students, and included developing a military liaison role, recognition strategies, and “Boots on the Home Front” and “Got your Six” initiatives.

Virtual Green Zone: Online Military Orientation Training for Staff and Faculty. Among topics highlighted were the characteristics of the military-connected learner and the military experience, the transition process, and the role that institutions of higher learning play. The training is delivered using the Adobe Connect platform and is comprised of video testimonials from student veterans, military-connected staff, and faculty members. University of Maryland University College (UMUC) provides their faculty/staff with “digital badges” for those that complete the training.

SDI is continuing to grow as a school and with that comes an increased effort to ensure the success of its students. Conferences, such as the 2018 CCME Professional Development Symposium, help to give SDI the tools to make sure this happens. The attendance of these conferences is driven by SDI’s dedication to American service members as well as non-service member students. As SDI continues to grow and improve, stay tuned for updates on future conferences as well as new student programs!

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