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Oct. 13, 2006 Communique

Statement

Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor
Jessica Cramer, student co-executive
Dawn Cordova, student dean, Letters, Arts and Sciences
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
In re: military affairs task force

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs supports its students who balance their work in the classroom with military service.

We can do more to ensure that our communication of this value, and our expectation of our campus community members, is clear.

That was the conclusion of a task force of faculty, staff and students who reviewed UCCS policy and practice in the treatment of students with military commitments. The task force was formed Sept. 5  by Chancellor Shockley-Zalabak in response to student concerns. She charged the committee to review UCCS policy and practice in the treatment of students with military commitments.

The task force undertook a rigorous review of existing policies, encouraged student comment, and contacted educational offices at local military bases to inquire if any problems were occurring.

We wish to thank the task force members, led by Jenenne Nelson, associate professor, Nursing, for their work.

While the task force found no substantial problems, it made several recommendations we believe will further clarify UCCS policy and help students understand both their rights and responsibilities.

The recommendation, and our response to them, follows.

Recommendation: Develop a checklist for all military students who have military deployments/activations during the course of a semester. The checklist should identify a single point of contact to assist student and students will be expected to produce copies of their orders.
Response: Tamara Moore, dean of students, will be the point of contact and will assist students who are deployed while a new Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs is created. The checklist is completed and is available at http://www.uccs.edu/~deploy.

Recommendation: Develop a policy requiring students to notify faculty at the beginning of the semester if there is potential that they may be activated.
Response: Tamara Moore, dean of students, has drafted such a policy, modeling it on current policies for student-athletes. She will lead discussion of this draft with Faculty Assembly and Student Government with the goal of having such a policy adopted before the end of the fall semester.

Recommendation: Request a statement in all course syllabi notifying students about their personal responsibilities if called to military service.
Response: Tamara Moore, dean of students, will work in conjunction with David Moon, associate vice chancellor, Academic Affairs, and Tom Napierkowski, professor, English, and Faculty Assembly chair to draft such a statement for inclusion in course syllabi for the Spring 2007 Semester.

Recommendation: Encourage the UCCS Veteran Affairs Office to inform students about their responsibilities if activated/deployed during the semester.
Response: The Veteran Affairs office will soon expand to become the Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs and will provide students with the checklist. The office will inform students of their responsibilities to ensure all applicable benefits are received.

Recommendation: If a UCCS student elects to withdraw from a course due to military activation or deployment, a statement should be added to the student’s transcript that states the withdrawal was the result of military duty.
Response: The Office of Admissions and Records will provide a mechanism so students, at their discretion, can indicate whether course withdrawal was the result of military duty.

Recommendation: Continue with the 100 percent tuition refund for students who elect to withdraw from courses due to military activations or deployments.
Response: The current UCCS refund policy will continue.

Recommendation: Develop a UCCS policy that specifically addresses students who are called to active duty or deployed during the course of a semester. Post this policy on the Web with the checklist.
Response: Jim Henderson, vice chancellor, Student Success, will collect all policies identified in the checklist and relevant policies for withdrawal from courses and tuition refund and combine these into a single policy statement.  The resulting policy will be labeled as “relating to students called to active duty or deployment” and will be circulated to campus governance groups for comment prior to adoption. The adopted policy will be included in the UCCS Bulletin, Student Handbook and Planner, and on the UCCS website.  

Recommendation: Request that the Army and Air Force add a statement to their deployment out-processing checklist that directs military members to make arrangements with the university to complete coursework or withdraw from the university prior to deployments.
Response: Dana Rocha, who will direct the expanded Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs, will contact the military installations. She will provide them with a draft statement and request that it be added to their checklists. 

Recommendation: Have the Information Technology Department develop for each course listed on the UCCS web site an “information chain” to help students understand where they should direct questions or concerns. This chain begins with the course instructor and continues with the department chair, the associate dean and dean of each college.
Response: Jerry Wilson, director, Information Technology, will work with the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to determine how such a list would be created and accurately maintained.

Recommendation: Develop a Frequently Asked Questions information page for military students, answering questions related to military activation/deployment.
Response: Dana Rocha, who will direct the expanded Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs, will develop a list of frequently asked questions for military students as part of the expanded role of this office.

We look forward to working with student government leadership, and university governance organizations representing faculty and staff, to implement these recommendations and to continuing to meet the needs of students who combine academic coursework with service to our country.