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UW-Eau Claire earns inclusion in 2014 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities

March 14, 2014

MAE-TOP-Schools-Logo-webEau Claire — For the second year in a row, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been named in Military Advanced Education's 2014 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities.

The guide provides military veterans and potential students with information about academic institutions that go out of their way to implement military-friendly policies in support of returning servicemen and women. This year, institutions were evaluated on their military culture, financial aid for veterans, flexibility, on-campus support and online support services.

"Our veterans are so important to our community and they bring life experiences to the classroom and to the campus that enrich all of us," said Dr. Beth Hellwig, UW-Eau Claire vice chancellor for student affairs. "We want each of them to have a successful experience at UW-Eau Claire and have collectively been working toward that end goal."

Inclusion in the 2014 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities is UW-Eau Claire's fourth recognition since fall 2013 for its support for military veterans. In September, the university was named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the fifth straight year. In November, UW-Eau Claire was named to the Military Times "Best for Vets: Colleges 2014" list, and U.S. News & World Report named UW-Eau Claire one of the top public colleges and universities in the Midwest for military veterans.

"We work very hard to continually improve our supportive services for veteran students, so to receive this recognition again is a great honor," said Miranda Cross-Schindler, military education benefits coordinator. "We constantly evaluate how helpful our services are for students who are making the transition to college life and regularly solicit feedback to identify possible areas of improvement. Strong, effective interdepartmental relations and the support of university administration allow us to practice our motto, 'You Served, We Care.' We place a great value on the sacrifices that these students made while serving our country and want to make sure their college experience is welcoming, rewarding and memorable."

Senior Steven Dalsky, a veteran student and management major with an operations/materials management emphasis from Eau Claire, said having a full-time military benefits official on campus is a huge value for veteran and military students.

"To me personally it means a great deal to attend a university that strives to support and offer services to veteran/military students," Dalsky said. "We can ask questions on campus about benefits, correct problems and have issues forwarded to university administrators in real time. UW-Eau Claire has given us a dedicated lounge where we can study, relax and interact with other veteran/military students. Miranda also works closely with Bonnie Isaacson, the nontraditional student adviser and co-chair of the Veterans Advisory Committee, to address and meet the needs veteran/military students have. The teamwork and efforts of these two women are the driving force in UW-Eau Claire's success in supporting veteran/military students."

The following are examples of initiatives on behalf of veterans at UW-Eau Claire:

  • The Veterans Center, which provides a place for veteran students to meet other veterans, as well as for veteran students, faculty and staff to learn about resources available to them, attend programs on veteran needs, participate in support groups and access a telehealth network through a partnership with the Veterans Administration Hospital in Minneapolis.
  • The Veterans and Military Education Benefits Office (Schofield 128), which assists veterans in applying for their G.I. Bill benefits and advises them about other benefits available from the state and federal governments. The office operates under the supervision of Miranda Cross-Schindler, military education benefits coordinator. Support for Cross-Schindler's position came from UW-Eau Claire's Blugold Commitment, which is a differential tuition increase of $1,200 phased in over four years to preserve and enhance the distinctive UW-Eau Claire educational experience.
  • The Veterans Advisory Committee, which reports to the provost, consisting of staff from the university's offices providing veterans services and three veteran students. The committee meets several times a semester to talk about veteran students' needs and concerns, and makes recommendations to the provost.
  • The Veterans Club, a student organization that serves as a network of support for military veterans and their families at the university, educates the university community regarding the experiences of military veterans and provides service to the community.
  • Veteran support services through the university's Counseling Services.
  • Veteran support through the university's Services for Students with Disabilities office.
  • Keynote speakers, educational sessions for faculty and staff about veterans' issues and other special events and programming.

The following UW-Eau Claire academic staff members are available to talk with reporters about the university's support for student veterans:

  • Jacqueline Bonneville, assistant dean of students, 715-836-2003 or bonnevjk@uwec.edu.
  • Miranda Cross-Schindler, military education benefits coordinator, 715-836-5212 or crossmk@uwec.edu.
  • Bonnie Isaacson, nontraditional student adviser, 715-836-3259 or isaacsbj@uwec.edu.

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SL/JP


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