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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

G.I. Jobs names URI ‘military friendly school’

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List honors top 15 percent of colleges, universities, trade schools

KINGSTON, R.I.—August 18, 2009–--G.I. Jobs magazine has placed the University of Rhode Island on its 2010 list of military friendly schools. The list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students. The schools are not ranked within the list.

Schools listed range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools.

“This list is especially important now because the recently enacted Post-9/11 GI Bill has given veterans virtually unlimited financial means to go to school,” said Rich McCormack, G.I. Jobs publisher. “Veterans can now enroll in any school, provided they’re academically qualified. So schools are clamoring for them like never before. Veterans need a trusted friend to help them decide where to get educated. The Military Friendly Schools list is that trusted friend.”

Colleges have long coveted veterans in the classroom because they bring maturity, life experiences, different perspectives, diversity, leadership, and a worldliness to the classroom that benefit other students and faculty.

However, the transition from the military life to campus life can be a difficult one. Long before the new G.I. Bill took effect this August, URI was hard at work on ways to ease that transition by removing any enrollment roadblock and by establishing support for student-veterans while at URI.

The URI Supports Student Veterans Committee formed two years ago. Among its members are faculty, staff, and students from URI’s Kingston and Feinstein Providence campuses, as well as representatives from federal, state, and local veterans agencies. The committee has established web pages on the Admission (http://www.uri.edu/admission/Veterans.html) and and Enrollment Services (www.uri.edu/es/acadinfo/acadyear/veterans.html) websites and designated individuals to answer questions. A veterans office is open and staffed at the URI Feinstein Providence Campus (http://www.uri.edu/prov/futurestudents/veterans.html). In addition, each academic college has a specific person to answer veteran-related questions. Also University College’s University Advisor Center has designated advisors to serve veterans and a faculty mentor group has formed. A student-veterans committee has formed and a veterans’ education fund initiated.

First chaired by Fran Cohen, dean of students, the committee is now co-chaired by Nancy Kelley, assistant dean of the College of Human Science and Services and Christine Dolan, education specialist, special programs at URI’s Feinstein Providence Campus and School of Education.

Next month URI’s student-veteran committee will begin work on a number of goals including creating student-veteran orientations for veterans and their families, hiring and training student veterans to serve as peer mentors for other student veterans, and increasing faculty and staff awareness of student-veterans as non-traditional students.

“We earnestly welcome the opportunity to work with all veterans and active duty members to help to make our university the best choice for them to achieve their educational goals,” says Dolan.

The military friendly list was compiled through exhaustive research starting last May when G.I. Jobs polled more than 7,000 schools nationwide. Methodology, criteria and weighting for the list were developed with the assistance of an academic advisory committee consisting of educators and administrators from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Toledo, Duquesne University, Coastline Community College and Lincoln Technical Institute.

Criteria for making the list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students and academic accreditations.

Other Rhode Island schools on the list are Rhode Island College, the Community College of Rhode Island, Providence College of Continuing Education, and Roger Williams University.