A long tradition of military-friendly programs and services at Ferris State University has been recognized by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.
MVAA, housed within the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs announced that Ferris is among 28 institutions of higher learning receiving gold-level status in their Veteran-Friendly School program. These public and private universities, colleges and institutions qualify in at least six of seven criteria related to staffing, resources and information focused on veterans, or their dependents.
The University’s Associate Director of Admissions Services Charlotte Tetsworth credits Veterans Program Specialist Adam Forbes’ work and Jacob Schrot’s efforts as veteran resource representative as key contributions, and said as veterans, they offer a special perspective.
“They have similarities in life experience that just seems to resonate, they are working with people who have been through what they’ve been through,” Tetsworth said. “They just relate better.”
Ferris established a Veteran Resource Center in the University Center earlier in 2015, and an annual breakfast is held for these students on Veteran’s Day. Commencement ceremonies also include recognition of those who served in the military. While some of these elements factor into the MVAA rankings, all are intended to make veterans feel welcome and accepted.
“That puts us at a higher level for veterans to identify, ‘Yes, this is a place for me,’” Tetsworth said. “That, paired with the unique programs we offer at Ferris, puts us in a really good position to recruit some quality veterans to campus.”
There are currently 485 military veterans or dependents of those who served who are Ferris students.
Tetsworth said that they expect in the next report to gain MVAA approval for monitoring and evaluation of student veteran academic retention, completion and graduation rates. Ferris would then meet all the agency’s criteria. The program’s efforts have also been recognized by the federal government.
Despite these successes, some work remains for Ferris’ administration, faculty, staff and students. The campus community is encouraged to make use of Kognito, an online training mechanism available on the University website. The interactive program provides examples to help users identify signs of stress, and learn how to connect those in need to support services.
“I just want to make sure that everybody checks out Kognito and goes through that, so we can truly stand behind the veteran-friendly campus that we have here,” Tetsworth said.
PICTURE CAPTION: Pictured is Charlotte Tetsworth, Associate Director of Admissions Processes.