How to Support Our Troops in the Classroom and on Campus

From Rucksack to Backpack: Ensuring Student Veteran Success

Colleges everywhere are seeing an influx of veterans onto their campuses. As enrollment numbers rise, ensuring the academic success and retention of this special population is more important than ever.

The transition from deployment to college life can pose a significant challenge for student veterans. While service members bring many assets – maturity, leadership experience, cross-cultural experiences, and a sound commitment to finish what they start – they also often carry visible and invisible disabilities that can make the transition difficult.

These challenges don’t need to prevent veterans from succeeding in your college. You can leverage the strengths of the veterans in your classroom and provide a positive experience for both teacher and student. Learn how in From Rucksack to Backpack: Ensuring Student Veteran Success.

In this one-hour seminar, our expert presenters help you anticipate challenges and offer an innovative, cohesive approach to your student veterans. Led by Bruce Kelley, Justin M. Smith and Ernetta Fox, all from the University of South Dakota and leaders in the field of student veterans and students with disabilities, the seminar explains the proven ways you can better serve the veterans in your classroom and at your institution as a whole.

Topics Covered
Institutions of higher learning have an obligation to support student veterans and need to exert the same type of effort and energy on the academic success and retention of student veterans as they do for first-generation students and other unique populations. That support may require changes to policy, procedures, curriculum and course design, student services, and campus climate.

In Soldier to Student II, a study released in July 2012, the American Council on Education reported that many institutions do not adequately prepare their faculty to help veterans make the transition to the college classroom. The report noted that despite the considerable increase in veteran enrollment “it is somewhat surprising that fewer than half of all institutions with military/veterans programs offer professional development training opportunities for faculty and administrators.” (p 16-17) Twenty-eight percent of the respondents said their institutions were in the process of developing such opportunities.

This seminar lays the foundation. In just 60 minutes, our expert presenters teach you how to:

  • understand the ways communication and decision-making styles differ between military and academic environments
  • navigate sensitive issues or topics in the classroom
  • encourage veterans to build on their unique experiences
  • redesign courses to enhance their success
  • leverage their strengths in the classroom
  • imbed learning activities that promote their success in coursework
  • streamline and/or reorganize policies and procedures to benefit them
  • create a classroom environment – both physical and emotional – to facilitate learning
  • assist in campus and classroom reformatting to become veteran friendly

Who Will Benefit
Student veterans are enrolling in all types of higher ed institutions. As a result, this seminar is designed for public and private, two-and four-year schools, as well as vocational schools.

Professionals in these roles will find the information particularly helpful:

  • Faculty and instructors
  • Teaching Assistants
  • Deans and other academic leaders
  • Student services professionals

Get the recording of this seminar on CD or on-demand! Both include the complete transcript and all supplemental materials.

An optional Campus Access License is available for an additional $200. It allows the purchasing institution to upload the CD of the seminar onto the institution’s password-protected internal website for unlimited access by the entire campus community.

From Rucksack to Backpack: Ensuring Student Veteran Success will give you innovative approaches to teaching, administrative services, and student support so you can facilitate returning veterans’ successful transition from soldier to student.


If you have any questions contact Customer Service at 800-433-0499 or (608) 246-3590 or email us at

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