Book by Robert Ackerman & David DeRamio
Review by: Anne M. London
College of Community and Public Service Undergraduate Advising Center
Grand Valley State University
By March 2007, just over 1.5 million members of the armed services had been deployed in either Iraq or Afghanistan. The expanded educational support available under the Post 9/11 GI Bill means that the number of these combat veterans who will become college students will likely increase (p. 12). Although the basic needs of students who are veterans are similar to those of non-veteran students, veterans face a myriad of additional challenges that colleges must address if we are to help ensure the success of these students. Because advisors play a crucial role in student success, it is important that we become familiar with how to best assist this growing student population.
Creating a Veteran-Friendly Campus: Strategies for Transition and Success is a collection of articles (chapters) written by college professors, administrators, financial aid staff, and student life representatives. Other contributors include veterans and directors of various military programs. These authors focus attention on the challenges faced by students in the military who are deployed or return to college after deployment. Also discussed is the need to connect these students with resources that can help provide them with a sense of community and support. The roles of student organizations for veterans are explored including how they serve as student advocates and mentors. Thriving veterans’ student programs are presented as examples for those seeking to create programs to aid in student success. The book concludes with a chapter on the legislation created to assist veterans with their educational pursuits.
Advisors who work with veterans will find several chapters in this book helpful. There is an entire chapter focused on women in the military and the gender identity and emotional issues they face when the return to college. Discovering the challenges faced by this student group aids in the identification of ways in which we can help meet the needs of these women.
Advisors seeking to serve as advocates for change on their campuses will find that this book provides a strong foundation for achieving that goal. Much of the information contained in the chapters revolves around successful strategies to assist veterans although there is little information specific to the role academic advisors play in the collegiate success of these students.
The differing perspectives the various authors bring to the text help readers gain a deeper understanding of this issue than had the book been written by a single author. The views of a variety of higher education personnel were well represented although the addition of an advisor’s perspective would have been ideal. Still, this is a helpful and well-written resource that will benefit college administrators and those seeking to strengthen or create a veteran support system within their institutions.
Creating a veteran-friendly campus: Strategies for transition and success. (2009). Book by Robert Ackerman & David DeRamio (Eds.). Review by: Anne M. London. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 88pp. $29.00. ISBN: 978-0-470-53735-0