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Ohio University to assess, coordinate veterans' services

OHIO dean serves on national standards committee for campus veterans? services
Jan 14, 2010
By Mary Reed

On Sept. 11, 2001, Doug Franklin walked into the classroom where he taught UC 115, College Experience, and -- just a week into the quarter -- said to his students, ?This is gonna be my last class with you.?

After that, the now-retired Navy reservist, Ohio University?s associate dean for recreation and wellness, coordinated the call-up of his reserve unit from his location in Athens. He then went on active duty for a year at the National Military Joint Intelligence Center in the Pentagon.

?There was no process as an institution for me to check out (of my job), there was no process as an institution for me to check in,? Franklin recalls. Now part of a newly formed Veterans Committee on campus, he is trying to do something to make services better for the 400-plus students on campus who are receiving Veterans Affairs benefits -- and not only for Ohio University, but for the entire nation.

Franklin has been tapped by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education to chair a national committee to create veterans? programs and services standards. ?I believe I?m the only veteran on (the board of) CAS so it would make sense that I would take the lead on developing these standards,? he said.

?The key thing about military friendly campuses is how they treat their service members when they?re called up,? Franklin said.

Fortunately, when Michael Logue got the call in November 2004, he was able to withdraw from his classes without any financial penalty. By March 2005, Logue was in Iraq. After his first mission at Haditha Dam, ?a rocket went past my head,? Logue remembers, ?The next day, a Humvee hit a mine.? All told, 23 of the 160 members of his unit -- dubbed Lucky Lima* -- were killed.

It was the return to school that proved to be the more difficult transition. ?It?s a tough transition from the war zone to being home,? Logue admits. Now a 24-year-old senior avionics major, he says he?s happy he chose Ohio University, his older brother?s alma mater, and that most people have been friendly. Still, there has been some difficulty. ?When you?re out in town in the evening, you always get asked, ?Did you kill somebody???

?Marines end up finding each other somehow,? Logue says, and soon enough there were six or seven guys who were getting together regularly to talk and share information about navigating the VA (Veterans Administration) system. Logue and fellow student Jesse Williams decided to make it official, so they joined Student Veterans of America and put together a constitution for the Ohio University Combat Veterans Club, focusing on social guidance and promoting awareness of both the contributions and the needs of veterans.

Logue is now a member of the Veterans Committee and is helping Franklin and other committee members with next steps.

Franklin uses military terminology to discuss those next steps, starting with a SWOT analysis: Strengths (strong ROTC program, library resources and staff), Weaknesses (coordination of current veterans services around campus), Opportunities (growth in the number of veterans on campus, a higher profile) and Threats (funding in the current economic climate).

Committee members will distribute a survey among campus stakeholders, look at what other campuses are doing, search out best standards, and then Franklin?s group will create the CAS standards. Franklin?s goal is to have the national standards finalized by Veterans Day 2010. ?What we?re doing here at Ohio University seems to match up well with what I?m trying to do with the (CAS standards committee),? Franklin said. ?My goal has always been to do a parallel.?

The national standards will identify a series of ?shoulds? and ?musts? in the areas of mission, leadership, human resources, ethics, legal responsibilities, equity and access, diversity, organization and management, relationship to the VA, financial resources, technology, facilities and evaluation.

For example, a must standard might say that a university must have a trained individual working with veterans' services. ?Who?s gonna argue with that?? Franklin asked.

As for Logue, he knows what he would like to see come out of the committee: ?A one-stop area where a veteran can get answers -- the correct answers -- on how to relate with the VA.? He is confident the Veterans Committee will achieve much. ?As it is right now, OU is not recognized as a military-friendly school. We want that accomplished.?

 


Krista Bradley contributed to this story.

* Following this link takes you outside Ohio University's Web site.

 

Published: Jan 14, 2010 2:52 PM

 
Lima Company Memorial

OHIO student Michael Logue is a 2005 veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The memorial seen here was erected in honor of the members of his unit who were killed.

Photo courtesy of: Michael Logue 



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