The number of veterans enrolled at Bridgewater State University is up, and so are their grades.
According to the Veterans Center, between fall 2016 and the current semester, the total number of student veterans (undergraduate and graduate) rose to 301 from 248. These students’ average cumulative GPA increased to 3.03 from 2.92 during the same period.
“Definitely, consolidating resources and really getting the Veterans Center up and running and providing a central point of contact helped,” said Michael Siegel, ’98, director of military and veteran student services.
The positive results, which were calculated in conjunction with BSU’s Institutional Research Office, demonstrate the wisdom of not only having a dedicated Veterans Center, but equipping it with a robust staff, and having a greater presence at events such as orientation. These efforts combined, demonstrate to student-veterans that BSU is a welcoming place intent on helping them succeed, Mr. Siegel added.
The Veterans Center opened two years ago this week, but even before that Mr. Siegel and his staff were hard at work. Their efforts paid off almost immediately: There were 45 newly admitted veterans for spring 2016 semester.
Adrian Young, a student-veteran who works at the center, said having a place to go where other veterans are available to give advice, academic assistance, or help locating resources is key.
“That’s a big part of helping veterans perform well,” he said. “This is somewhere they can come if they’re having trouble. There are people here who understand what they’re going through.”
With the numbers continuing to rise along with student-veterans’ grades, the staff of the Veterans Center is not content to rest on their laurels. In conjunction with the center’s faculty fellow, Dr. Melinda Tarsi, assistant professor of political science, Mr. Siegel is conducting research geared to finding best practices to recruit, retain and ensure the success of student-veterans. The results of these surveys and studies will be rolled out beginning in the spring, with implementation of new initiatives based on the findings scheduled for the 2018-19 academic year.
“We want to put the information together so we can create the best student-success initiatives to help our veterans,” Mr. Siegel said. (Story by John Winters, G’11, University News & Media)