Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Veterans with Disabilities in Higher Education

During September, this SIG began collaborative meetings pulling together representatives from the AHEAD-Veterans SIG, SVA (Student Veterans of America), NACADA, and NASPA to identify and work on barriers/challenges confronted by student veterans and student veterans with disabilities. Originally, we thought we would hold bi-annual meetings; however, during our first conference call, it became evident that monthly meetings are needed and encouraged to become most effective in our prospective work.  As always, we will keep you updated as this work progresses.

Other SIG updates for the month:

  • AHEAD is creating listservs for all SIGs.  Your email address was automatically added.  You can opt-in or opt-out of all listservs by logging in at ahead.org and editing your membership record under Member Resources on the right side of the page.  Additionally, you are not restricted to only three SIGs; those preferences can be made on your member record as well.  More information on the SIG listserv will be distributed as it becomes available.  Please let us know if you have any questions.  
  • In early September, ACICS came under scrutiny by Department of Education.  ACICS is a national accrediting body for many of the for-profit schools including the Career & Technical Schools across the country.  ITT Technical Institute collapsed shortly after this occurred, which displaced several thousand student veterans.  There's no accurate number of veterans with disabilities who were enrolled in ITT.  The Department of Veterans’ Affairs notified former ITT student veterans and outlined several issues they might now be facing, along with some tools to ease their transition to another school.  Your school may have an influx of student veterans as those that were displaced enroll in nearby schools.   
  • If you would be interested in serving as a mentor to a veteran, here’s your chance:  Veterati is a nationwide network of successful American professionals providing career mentorship to transitioning veterans.  With 1.5 million service members in transition to civilian jobs in the next five years, many of those will be looking for mentorship—a familiar element of military and veteran culture.  They will likely need formal schooling to acquire the skills needed for a new career.  Veterans with disabilities will need help understanding disability in education.  The Veterati platform provides the tools for matching available mentors with mentees, based on an inventory of talents and needs.  It’s sophisticated and free.  Setup takes a minute and the time you spend mentoring a veteran is valuable.  We encourage you to sign up as a mentor and lend your experience.  
  • We have posted information on our SamePage platform regarding an important resource:  Cohen Veterans Network (CVN).  Mental wounds are just as difficult to heal as physical wounds – and treating them is just as important. Through a national network of Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics, veterans and their families are eligible for free, personalized, and evidence-based mental health care along with access to comprehensive case management support and referrals to deal with other stresses like unemployment, finances, housing, and legal issues.  CVN’s skilled staff has experience working with veterans and their families.
  • Again, we wanted to remind you of the conference proposal submission deadline of November 8, 2016, for the 2017 AHEAD Conference.  If you are interested in presenting based on your research, experience, or best practices for supporting student veterans and student veterans with disabilities this is a good opportunity to do so.  If you have not presented before and would like assistance in developing a proposal, please contact Dan Standage or Jorja Waybrant and we would be happy to help.  As a side note, this is the 40th annual conference for AHEAD.
  • We also want to make sure you are aware of other upcoming conferences that will also have presenters on the topic of student veterans:
    • Student Veterans of America (SVA) NatCon 2017.  Conference runs January 5, 2017 through January 8, 2017 – in Anaheim, CA.  The price for this conference is exceptionally reasonable at $100.00 for General Attendance, less if you are a student.  They also feed you all day and food is great.  Disney is a major sponsor of NatCon.  This is an excellent conference if you are interested in learning more about this specific student population.  It is very well organized, informative, and will provide great insight into what you can do in your job to best support student veterans with disabilities.
    • NASPA 2017 conference. Runs March 11, 2017 through March 15, 2017 – San Antonio, TX. NASPA offers both a Veterans Knowledge Community and a Disability Knowledge Community.  
    • NASPA 2017 symposium on military-connected students. Runs February 9, 2017 through February 11, 2017 – Washington DC.