The Department of Communication Studies has become the first academic department on campus to be designated as “veteran friendly.”
The recognition comes after faculty, staff and graduate instructors completed extensive training to help them better understand the unique challenges facing student veterans upon transitioning to academia and how to foster a supportive academic environment.
“The partnership with WVU Veterans Affairs was motivated by a desire among faculty to better understand and serve our student veterans,” said Communication Studies Department Chair Matthew Martin. “As a department, we want to make sure we are able to accommodate the men and women who have served our state and country, and we also want to make sure they know that they are valued and welcome in our department.”
The veteran friendly designation has been extended to all four of the department’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs: the B.A. and Ph.D. programs in Communication Studies, the M.A. program in Communication Theory and Research and the online M.A. program in Corporate and Organizational Communication.
“ As a department, we want to make sure we are able to accommodate the men and women who have served our state and country.” — Matthew Martin, Communication Studies Department Chair
WVU Veterans Affairs Director Jerry McCarthy hopes that other departments will adopt the example set by Communication Studies to build stronger programs for student veterans. “We are mandated by state law to give training to all departments. This valuable training and collaborative effort will build effective veteran programs across campus and ultimately increase educational attainment for veterans,” said McCarthy. “Veterans bring unique challenges to campus and we want to do everything we can to assist them with a smooth transition from military life to careers through education.”
Students in COMM335 (Social Media in the Workplace) are also collaborating with WVU Veterans Affairs to develop a strategic social media plan targeting student veterans. McCarthy said, “Social media has become a vital part in recruiting, retaining and graduating our students and that includes our veteran students.”
WVU Veteran Affairs is a one-stop-shop for student veterans. The office assists enrolled students and students who are on or off active duty. It is involved in developing, implementing and supervising special programs and veteran organizations on campus. Additionally, the office offers counseling and academic advising.