Student management

Wayland Receives $592,217 Virtual Center of Excellence Grant for Veteran Student Success

The virtual center will serve Wayland’s Army-affiliated population, which is geographically dispersed across six states and territories – Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii and American Samoa, as well as online. More than 500 veterans currently enrolled in Wayland will be impacted by the creation of the virtual center. Many of these students are taking a combination of online and face-to-face classes and all will be familiar with the Blackboard learning management system that will host the virtual center.

“This is the latest success involving Wayland’s focus on securing federal grants,” said Dr. Bobby Hall, chairman. “We are thrilled not only with this grant, but also with others that we hope to receive in the future.”

“With this grant from the Department of Education, Wayland can take another step in expanding the services we can provide to veterans around the world,” said ElaneSeebo, Senior Assistant to the President. “As the wife of a veteran who proudly served our country for over 30 years, it was especially gratifying for me to be able to participate in the grant process, and I know our veterans will benefit and appreciate more readily available wherever they are.”

She noted that for nearly five decades, Wayland has served military and veteran students by providing educational opportunities on or near military installations and providing a robust, quality online curriculum.

Hall noted Seebo’s leading role in securing the funding.

“Although many were involved in the preparation of this grant, I particularly appreciate Dr. ElaneSeebo’s leadership in leading this grant application and making it successful,” he said. “In many ways, this will benefit many of our students in the future.”

Virtual Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success will include hiring a Veterans Services Coordinator, creating a Veterans Services Advisory Board, and participating in new veterans recruitment activities fighters. In addition to the creation of the VCEVSS Blackboard site, a veteran-specific freshman seminar course will be implemented. Faculty and staff training will be increased and peer support strategies for veterans will be implemented. In addition, the availability of mental health, tutoring, disability support, and career services for student veterans will be increased.

“This new opportunity, the Virtual Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, will serve military-affiliated students across the system by building capacity to improve academic and social support services. This includes offering tutoring, career counselling, financial support and mental health services,” said Dr. David Bishop, Vice President of External Campuses.

The Virtual Center and associated programs are expected to result in increased enrollment of Army-affiliated students, as well as improved retention and graduation rates. Many more faculty and staff will be trained on issues related to student veteran experiences, and increased use of counseling and disability services is planned.

“Success in this endeavor will provide nurturing and supportive services exposing and providing hands-on experience to the Army-affiliated student so that students are more likely to pursue successful higher education and careers,” Bishop said. “We hope to create a one-stop shop, where veterans can engage in synchronous and asynchronous activities, participate in a mentorship program, and receive post-graduation support.”

The grant results from Wayland’s efforts to secure federal revenue streams for university programs, according to Dr. Cindy McClenagan, vice president of academic affairs and graduate studies.

“Under President Hall’s leadership, Wayland began a targeted search for federal grants, with faculty and staff coming together to submit truly top-notch proposals,” she said. “Receiving this most recent CEVSS grant is just further proof of the impressive work our employees are doing to make a positive difference in the lives of our students here at Plainview and across our multiple campuses.”

Of the more than 500 veterans who attend Wayland, 63% are enrolled in undergraduate programs and 37% are involved in graduate programs.