Clayton State University’s long-standing support of veterans was recently recognized by Military Times magazine in its “Best Colleges for Vets” issue. Clayton State was ranked ninth in the “Online & Nontraditional” category.
The ranking is based on a survey completed by Tina Lake, Veterans Resource Center Coordinator. According to Military Times editor Amanda Miller, the “Best for Vets” brand has caught on to the extent that ranked colleges and universities report a surge in enrollment inquiries. Clayton State already has approximately 400 student veterans.
This is not the first time Clayton State has been ranked by a publication targeted to the military. The December 2010 issue of Military Advanced Education magazine selected Clayton State among its top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities.
According to Shiraz Karaa, associate director of Counseling and Psychological Services, the target readers of Military Advanced Education include military and military education office personnel, government employees, higher education institutions, the Pentagon, and the White House. The honor was based on a survey and short essay submitted by Karaa.
For that matter, this is not the first time this fall that Clayton State made news for its support of veterans. On Nov. 25, Clayton State President Dr. Thomas Hynes held a special signing ceremony to indicate Clayton State’s embracing the U.S. Department of Education’s “8 Keys to Veterans’ Success,” in the process acknowledging that the University already applies the “8 Keys;” creating a culture of connectedness on campus, coordinating and centralizing campus efforts for all veterans, collaborating with local communities and organizations to align services and supports for veterans, implementing an early alert system, utilizing a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information relating to veteran students (i.e., retention and degree completion), and developing systems to ensure sustainability of effective practices.
The Military Times ranking is indicative of Clayton State’s active role in supporting veterans, which dates back to Feb. 6, 2008, when, under the direction of Karaa, a Veterans Coffee Social was the first campus-sponsored networking opportunity for student veterans. Shortly thereafter, in April 2008, the Clayton State Student Veterans Association (SVA) became an official student organization.
Not long after that, in August 2008, Clayton State launched a new Army ROTC/Military Science program.
In November 2008, the University established the Veterans Information Page, an on-line resource for veterans, established. In July 2009, the Veterans Task Force was established and in April 2010, the Student Veterans Association was awarded the Outstanding Student Organization Activity/Program of the Year Award at the Clayton State Student Leadership Awards ceremony.
The University’s first wide recognition as a veteran friendly campus came in August 2010, when the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia selected Clayton State as “Veteran Friendly” and invited a campus representative to join its Military Outreach Coordinators Committee, and awarded Clayton State $20,000 to open a Veterans Resource Center. Then, in February 2011, Clayton State was again represented as a military-friendly USG institution at the Council of College and Military Educators Symposium, in Tampa, Fla.
The Clayton State Veterans Resource Center (VRC) held its grand opening on Mar. 16, 2012 and had offered a centralized venue regarding veteran information and resources and provided veterans with a sense of camaraderie and peer support. The VRC also provides referrals for on campus services as well as referrals to VA facilities and local military support. The VRC also has information for new students, postings for employment opportunities and events, and provides a place to meet and study with other veterans and military students.