2021-22 Annual Report-Military Student Success

Mission

The mission of UA Little Rock Military Student Success Center (MSSC) is to provide our student Veterans, Active-Duty, National Guard, Reserve, and family members with compassion, commitment, excellence, professionalism, integrity, accountability, and stewardship from enrollment to graduation and beyond.

Summary Narrative

1) Enhance recruitment and retention efforts to increase enrollment

The MSSC has added the Clinton School of Public Service and doubled the amount of JD Veteran students. Enrollment has stayed steady throughout COVID and continues to look promising moving into Fall 2022.

2) Strengthen student-friendly operations and customer service

The MSSC added new positions for VA Workstudies and implemented new training for students as they learn VA benefits and processing.

3) Improve diversity and inclusion efforts to provide a safe and inclusive environment for students

The MSSC Director was trained in SafeZone to further improve the department. More to come in Fall 22.

4) Align financial and human resources to operate more effectively and efficiently

The MSSC diligently manages its budget to ensure fraud, waste, and abuse are avoided as it is not acceptable within this department or other UA Systems.

5) Promote student development, engagement, and leadership

The MSSC has a robust student mentor program designed specifically to help transitioning members of the armed services to adapt to their new lives. Through leadership and engagement the program hopes to reduce uncertainty and imposter syndrome, while focusing on making these students feel welcomed into the community of UA Little Rock.


At A Glance

The MSSC serves over 800 Veteran students and 85 staff and faculty members. The department has created ties with Congressman Hill and his Veteran Staff and Senator Boozman’s Veteran staff. MSSC is part of Congressman Hill’s Veteran Advisory Committee. The department is learning and adapting new tools in the areas of recruitment, retention, and care. UA Little Rock’s MSSC is now the second largest Veterans department in the state, second only to UA Fayetteville, utilizing $1.33m in GI Bill funds.


Assessment 1

Type of assessment (learning outcome or operational)

Student Learning: Humanitarian and civic engagement

Alignment with UA Little Rock Goal

Prepare students for success

Activity or experience being assessed

Recruit Veteran mentors for MVP and provide knowledge based training to enhance effectiveness of shared guidance. The goal for this assessment is to strengthen the connections Veterans have with the university.

Assessment artifacts

Created MSSC sign-in log. This, coupled with observations on facility usage, will help guide improvement programs in the future. Evaluation of the recruitment process by all MSSC staff at the end of each semester will target improvement plans for the next semester.

Time period assessment was done

2021-2022

Results

Student engagement is a challenge and directly affects the number of mentors the MSSC can recruit. The UA Little Rock Assessment Partner Program (APP) focus groups findings completed this assessment. Recommendations have been reviewed and appropriate actions will be taken. We now have faculty Veteran mentors in each school and staff mentors across campus. Again, faculty and staff involvement is great but student involvement is low, even though our students continue to demonstrate they could benefit from assistance.

Continuous improvement process

This will be a long term goal but the process will evolve to meet the needs of the students. We will adapt the course and the entire MVP program to ensure students’ needs are addressed. In addition, future training will be ‘train the trainer’ so MSS students can train new mentors.

Tangible items will be offered to enhance participation in educational programming from the MSSC. We will offer food and other promotional items that will attract more students to utilize our knowledge-based events.

WHEN: August 22, 2022
Stateholder involvement / Communication plan

This training will help increase student traffic in the MSSC, build community and increase retention. Using social media and prioritizing face-to-face interactions throughout the school year are incredibly important. The first goal to make this target action attainable will be increasing student engagement. A continuous process of building community is needed.


Assessment 2

Type of assessment (learning outcome or operational)

Operational Assessment

Alignment with UA Little Rock Goal

Improve diversity, inclusion, equality and global understanding in the campus community.

Activity or experience being assessed

Social media and email campaigns are used to improve MSSC messaging. Outreach through meeting with local community members to help disseminate information about our programs and offerings.

Assessment artifacts

Focus group – APP Focus group – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uWn-zHrXSgIN4v5R__8RAyfSuMHDVFr4vNVh_qJ5v08/edit

Time period assessment was done

Early Fall 2021 – Early Spring 2022

Results

The APP partnership is a worthwhile program and offers insight. The way in which departments utilize this tool is what will make the difference. FY23 will offer a reset and allow MSSC to reformulate worthy questions to ask students participating in focus groups.

Continuous improvement process

Utilizing social media and email campaigns to stimulate usage of facilities and programs. Reinstated SAM: Students Affected by the Military Student Veterans Organization.

Promoting the offerings the school already has in place is essential. Students requested information about support, counseling, and scholarships. They have access to these things, though they are unaware that using social media will help bridge that gap.

WHEN: In process
Stateholder involvement / Communication plan

VA Work Study students and students that use the facilities often will be the primary stakeholders. They are involved in random assessments of how foot traffic has increased or decreased. They will also be asked for general ideas for improving their work space.


Assessment 3

Type of assessment (learning outcome or operational)

Student Learning: Knowledge acquisition/construction/integration and application

Alignment with UA Little Rock Goal

Serve as an active partner in the community

Activity or experience being assessed

Workshops for Veteran benefit awareness (education, health, records control) taught Veterans to take a proactive approach to understand their own benefits and where and how to access them. Workshops were interactive and have a 10-question questionnaire they completed on Google Forms after the training to ensure retention of knowledge.

Assessment artifacts

Observations on workshops held – on Nov 4, 2021, Feb 25, 2022, and April 14, 2022. 541 Veteran students engaged and StafFocus/FacFocus: Nov 10 students, Feb 8 students one staff, April 9 students two staff.

Time period assessment was done

Fall 2021 – April 2022

Results

The assessment was very beneficial. While attendance was low, the MSSC did receive helpful feedback and engaging conversations. Many/most UA Little Rock Veteran students did not serve long enough or do not need VA treatment. However, they expressed other areas of interest and ways the MSSC could help them. These suggestions have been incorporated into Assessment Goal 2 and will be built upon.

Continuous improvement process

Again tangible offerings may increase engagement in the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters.

The course will expand depending on the needs of stakeholders. VA health issues demonstrated little to no interest from students. The MSSC is working with the Department of Business to create workshops on credit building and credit repair techniques. This new course will be spotlighted in early Fall 2022.

WHEN: Reevaluation will be made Spring 2023
Stateholder involvement / Communication plan

Social media and email campaigns will begin in late summer and last throughout early fall. This will be a continuous assessment process for the FY23 period.