Individual academic advising for nontraditional student veterans is helping to elevate them in their quest to perform better in the classroom at Middle Tennessee State University.
“The advising experience really developed — providing me with purpose, motivation, direction — a lot in the last two to three years,” said Ray Huntley, 42, a Murfreesboro resident who will graduate Saturday, Dec. 16, during 9 a.m. commencement ceremonies in Murphy Center.
Advising has helped Huntley, a residential construction management and land development major, obtain and maintain a 3.4 GPA.
The work of the academic advisers across campus “continues to amaze me,” said Dr. Hilary Miller, director of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center. Miller said the advisers fully understand the importance of classroom success for all students, including the veterans and their family members trying to earn MTSU degrees.
“Not only do they work to ensure that our large population of students using military educational benefits are taking the correct courses and following VA and Department of Defense policies, they also provide our students with general academic and occupational counseling,” Miller said.
“The advisers, like the Daniels Center, serve as a point of contact in what can be an overwhelming system.”
Huntley, who retired from the U.S. Army after a 22-year career, calls the advising assistance he received from College of Basic and Applied Sciences adviser Jennifer Danylo “top-notch.”
“I went to her every semester to make sure I was on track,” Huntley said. “She never steered me wrong.”
Miller said the student veteran/advising relationship “is a big deal.”
“We have more than 900 veterans, current military members and dependents using VA/DOD benefits,” she said.
“With this great of a population, it is important to recognize that built into this new advising policy is an incredible amount of institutional support. This truly is a commitment by MTSU toward military-connected student success.”
Dr. Brian Hinote, who is an administrative fellow in the MTSU Office of Student Success, said that office is proud to partner with the Daniels Center and the outstanding advisers to serve student veterans and their families.
“MTSU administrators, faculty and staff are dedicated to supporting all of our students both inside and outside of the classroom, and as a top destination for veterans and their family members, we are deeply committed to serving those that have served our country in such powerful and meaningful ways,” Hinote said.
Hinote said the latest initiative “is emblematic of this commitment, and reflects the great work that is taking place in the Daniels Center and in all of our advising offices across campus.”
The 9 a.m. commencement includes students from the College of Graduate Studies, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Jones College of Business and College of Education.
The 2 p.m. commencement ceremony will include the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, College of Media and Entertainment and University College.
MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)