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Bellevue University Wins CLO Excellence In Community Service Award

Veterans Initiative for Advancement addresses critical development needs.

Bellevue University has a long history of serving our nation’s military service members and Veterans. In fact, Bellevue University was founded to serve personnel stationed less than five miles from its campus at USSTRATCOM.

When Michael E. Echols, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Bellevue University’s Strategic Initiatives Division learned that our nation’s Veterans were not accessing the education they need to be successful in civilian careers, he sprung into action.

The data are compelling:

  • Veterans under the age of 25 are about twice as likely to be unemployed as non-Veterans.
  • Between 240,000 and 360,000 service members separate from the military each year.
  • Veterans are not receiving the academic advising support they need to make the most of their military Veteran education benefits.
  • Veterans have a difficult transition from military life to school to civilian careers as evidenced by low benefit utilization, low graduation rates, and poor initial transition.

Bellevue University created a team of national authorities on Veteran transition and career development to address these issues. The team included retired Brig. Gen. Frank J. Anderson, Jr., who noted, “Veterans know how to work in teams and have strong leadership skill sets. However, they need transition support in applying those skills within your organization. It should not be left to chance for your Veterans to successfully find their way in filling your critical talent needs and optimizing their career choices.”

The result was Bellevue University’s Veterans Initiative for Advancement (VIA). VIA includes much more than the typical Veteran advising services that some universities offer. It is an unprecedented suite of services, technology tools, and educational programs designed by educators in collaboration with Veterans – exclusively for Veterans.

Components of VIA include:

  1. Degree Accelerator: An interactive and personalized online tool that helps Veterans identify strengths through the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator – a tool that helps pinpoint areas of academic strength and areas that may need work – as well as free CLEP/DSST test prep guides. Bellevue University offers Degree Accelerator free to Veterans.
  2. Cornerstone Courses: Interviews with Veterans uncovered that they require a certain background to successfully transition to civilian life, and that they would like to take courses that offer this with other Veterans. Consequently, Bellevue University developed a series of Veteran-exclusive courses that cover essential skills like change management, financial planning, communication, and more.
  3. Military Veterans Services Center (MVSC): MVSC provides resources and assistance to all current military and Veteran students, including a Military and Veteran Support Group facilitated by a VA representative, a VA-authorized military Veteran education benefits advisor, and access to support for post-military transition issues.
Mike with the award
Michael E. Echols, Ph.D.
This extraordinary effort was recognized by Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Magazine with the Silver Excellence In Community Service Learning In Practice Award at the CLO Fall Symposium on September 30, 2013.

“This award affirms Bellevue University’s mission to support our nation’s Veterans,” said Michael E. Echols. “Veterans compose one of the most dedicated, hard-working, and loyal groups of leaders. Our satisfaction comes from serving Veterans in their transition to success in civilian careers and life.”

The Learning In Practice Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards are given annually for excellence in learning and employee development. This is one of many Learning In Practice Awards for Bellevue University from CLO Media and is another in a long list of accolades for Bellevue University’s mission to support Veterans. Bellevue University is listed as Best of the Best for Veteran-Friendly Schools by U.S. Veterans Magazine’s 2013 survey. In 2013, Bellevue University was also ranked No. 3 for Veterans in Best Online Programs by U.S. News & World Report and is in the top 10 for Top Online Education Program Rankings in the category of Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees.


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