October 10, 2014

VSU Named to List of Military Friendly Schools

Mark Smith, right, coordinator at VSU's Center at Moody AFB, assists Tech. Sgt. Richard Mize with course selection. Mize is currently enrolled at VSU working on a Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership. 

VALDOSTA—Valdosta State University is listed as a 2015 Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine, an honor the university has received for the past five years.

The 2015 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools for continued efforts in assisting active duty service members, veterans, and dependents in their pursuit of a college degree.
“VSU continues to build strong partnerships with military bases across Georgia, as we offer degree options that meet the needs of working military service personnel and veterans transitioning into a new career field,” said VSU President William J. McKinney. “I appreciate the dedication and commitment to service from our faculty and staff who work closely with active military and veteran students, from advising, to financial aid, and career counseling. VSU is making a difference in the lives of our military and veteran students.”

VSU’s innovative efforts have improved access and college completion for active duty service members and veterans in the past several years. In 2010, the university established the office of Adult and Military Programs (AMP) to provide adult learners – especially military and veteran students – with the tools and resources needed to earn a college degree. The professional AMP staff provides individualized assistance from academic advising to guidance in transitioning from military to college life.
“It is often difficult for students of all ages to navigate a large and complex higher education system,” said Dr. Jerry Merwin, director of AMP. “I have been an adult learner, so I think I understand what they face when they decide to go back to college and earn a degree. It is often a real challenge to try and balance family responsibilities and work. We want to help the students with their planning and decision making so that they can make better choices.”

VSU continues to maintain a strong military presence with off-campus educational offices and programs located throughout Georgia, including Moody Air Force Base, Marine Corps Logistics Base, and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. Support personnel are available to assist active duty military, their dependents, and veterans in selecting a degree program offered online or in a traditional classroom setting.
In 2013, VSU began accepting credits from the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). Active and retired military personnel who have earned an associate’s degree from the CCAF are eligible to begin working on a Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership or Bachelor of Applied Science in human capital performance.

With a longstanding history in serving adult learners – including recognition from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning – VSU is a lead institution within the University System of Georgia in offering Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). Designed to provide college credits, PLA recognizes knowledge gained from prior work settings, professional training, military service and professional certificate programs. Students develop a portfolio that contains sufficient supporting information and documentation to affirm college-level learning.
VSU continues to develop opportunities for active duty military and veterans to advance their educational goals, including a Master of Education in workforce education and development at Moody AFB and providing flexible terms and course locations for sailors at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
“There are a number of ways we assist active duty personnel and veterans with degree completion,” said Merwin. “One of the main things is making them aware of a range of options in majors that will match their background and career plans.” 

Building professional relationships with military personnel, the AMP staff facilitates communication with advisors in academic departments to help prospective and current students receive a better understanding of degree requirements. 

For more information, visit the AMP office at 229-253-2873 or visit the website at http://www.valdosta.edu/academics/amp/.