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                    Instruction is Key BY SUSAN HAWKSWORTH
Former (and current) members of the military have a unique oppor- tunity to enter Fresno Statethrough the Veterans Education Program. Designed to help veterans make the transition to higher education , the program provides an alternate admission route to an undergraduate degree. Students admitted into this program sometimes do not meet Fresno State’s entrance requirements. The Veteran Education Program’s cohort-based model provides a collaborative learning experience for the students that allows them to advance through the courses together, and has proven to be a successful approach for those who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury. The specially-designed entry-level classes create the needed supportive environment for students based on best practices.
Dean Scott Moore, graduate Jordan Cody,
and associate dean Daniel Bernard.
Jordan Cody matriculated in law school following his participation in the Veterans Education Program, and graduation from Fresno State.
          Rebecca Foster
And key to the student success are the instruc- tors and the skill sets they bring to the class- room for this special audience. Instructors are selected to teach in the program based on many factors,including their expertise in con- tent delivery and unique understanding of the many strengths veterans bring to the class- room. “Support for the Veteran Education Pro-
Daher finds that the Veteran Education Program students are not reluctant to speak up in class, and are always willing to participate in discussions. “It really makes my job easy — I give them a topic and they just take over the discus- sion. They are more seasoned than the typical freshmen, having been around the world during their military careers. There is really a sense of togetherness and camaraderie among these students.”
gram students is a little different than what we provide for the standard freshman student,” notes Rebecca Foster who teaches University : In- troduction to Learning and the University. “With the Veterans Educa- tion Program students, this is not their first time away from home, so we’re not advising them on basic skills. We guide them to resources available to them on the Fresno State campus and in the community, to help them make better decisions and take away the fear of the un- known. University classes can be intimidating,” notes Foster. “Being in a class with other like-minded veteran students provides a real team experience, similar to what they are used to from their military back- grounds. We capitalize on their strengths to capture their attention and direct them toward success.”
“ It’s a privilege and an honor to be a
Prior to relocating out of the area, Sandy Richardson also taught University 1 to the veteran students. “The Veteran Education Program students are so eager to learn, so eager to get a degree,” adds Richardson. “Since the students complete the program as a cohort, they always have a sup- port system among themselves. It was really heartwarming to see them around campus as colleagues--not just in class--helping each other succeed. They are not going to leave anyone behind.”
Who ends up learning the most depends on whom you ask. “I really love teaching the Veteran Education Program stu- dents—it’s a whole different experience than my other uni- versity courses. I learn so much from them!” said Foster.
the light goes on and you see that the students ‘get it’ – it is so gratifying to be a part of their success.”
art of this program,” says Daher. “When
   Brandon Daher
For the past five years, Brandon Daher has taught English 5A & 5B for the Veterans Educa- tion Program. He was recruited to teach in the program by Dr. Daniel Bernard, associate dean for the division of Continuing and Global Edu- cation. Daher’s Veterans Education Program classes and his regular Fresno State classes
offer some similarities and some differences. The curriculum is the same for both sets of students, in that they study reading and writing in various genres, with a focus on research, analysis, synthesis, argu- ment, and evaluation. But Dahr’s instruction is a bit different and in- volves more listening.
22 California State University, F R E S N O

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