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How to help veterans succeed in college

As we’ve noted before, more universities and colleges are working to help military veterans adjust to college life. Even so, there is a long way to go, as Ryan Gallucci recently reminded readers of the New York Times’ “At War” blog. Gallucci, who is the deputy legislative director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, provides a good overview of services currently available to student veterans and suggests some ideas for improvements.


Helping veterans graduate

We’ve noted before the paucity of data available tracking how veterans perform once they enter college. Now, at the New York Times, James Dao writes about why that data is important in helping veterans face their unique challenges as students of higher education.


Understanding student veterans

With soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to a down economy, many veterans are choosing to enroll in colleges and other higher education programs. Indeed, the recent increase of student veterans in higher education has been the fastest since the GIs of World War II flooded college campuses in the late ’40s and early ’50s. Now, as they did then, colleges are scrambling to understand student veterans and help them succeed.


Civic engagement–or activism?

Over at The Chronicle for Higher Education‘s “The Conversation” blog, Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, takes aim at partisan activity in the college classroom. Four years ago, Wood argued against the practice of some colleges awarding class credit to students who volunteered on a presidential campaign, worrying that “when the distinction between academic study and political activism is lowered, political activism tends to dominate, and real education is thrust aside.”


Civic Provocations

Earlier this year, the “Bringing Theory to Practice Project” published a monograph  that encourages colleges and universities to reexamine their core purposes and to “advance education as a public good that sustains a civic society.”


The book that drove them crazy

Celebrating the release of a new 25th anniversary edition of Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students, Andrew Ferguson argues in The Weekly Standard that Bloom’s diagnosis still holds true–that America’s colleges are still not preparing their students for lives well-lived as citizens.


Arms and the University

At Inside Higher Ed, Mitch Smith interviews the authors of a new book that looks at ROTC in higher education, Arms and the University: Military Presence and the Civic Education of Non-Military Students. Authors Donald Alexander Downs (University of Wisconsin at Madison) and Ilia Murtazashvili (University of Pittsburgh) argue that a strong ROTC presence on college campuses helps the military by providing an officer corps that reflects the nation and benefits the colleges themselves by exposing students to the military and lessening the civil-military gap.


Democracy on autopilot

In January, the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement released its “national call to action,” “A Crucible Moment: College Learning & Democracy’s Future.” As we noted at the time, the report “urges every college and university to foster a civic ethos that governs campus life, make civic literacy a goal for every graduate, integrate civic inquiry within majors and general education, and advance civic action as lifelong practice.”