It’s been a while since VSU offered Adult and Military Programs (AMP) but now, nearly three years since it closed, the program has reopened.
While the program has undergone a few changes, AMP Assistant Director Nathan Metzner said the student population they aim to impact remains the same.
“The students which we strive to serve [are] the non-traditional students, meaning military students, adult students (23 and older), transfer students, and students who have certain circumstances that make things a little more difficult,” Metzner said.
The program first began in 2010 and was started by Dr. Jerry Merwin, but according to Metzner, around spring 2016, when VSU was undergoing many changes to their administration as a whole, the program “sat dormant.”
Much of this is due to then-director Dr. Merwin’s move to becoming the Director of Public Administration Programs, a position he still holds today.
The program’s dormancy also had “everything to do with reorganization,” Metzner said.
Because of the way allocation was set up for the entirety of the program, AMP was left with hardly any personnel to oversee it. They continued on with the program for a small time before it fell inoperative.
While the student population AMP serves has stayed the same, their mission has too, but only to a certain extent. Some goals they are hoping to set forth is giving non-traditional students a support system and focusing on success and retention rates for those students.
“We act as kind of a hub and spoke,” Metzner said of the programs goals. “If a student has an issue or question or concern they can come to us and we can kind of direct them to the right people, or spear head it ourselves.”
One thing that is different now than it used to be is the program is no longer trying to create degree programs for these students. Instead, they are hoping to work with student services, career opportunities, and other off-campus institutions to find ways to best help these students transition to VSU.
It is also working on “military outreach.” AMP has worked closely with other institutions to examine what other schools are doing and implementing some of those ideas to better serve its “veterans and military affiliated students.”
While the main reason the program went inoperable for a while was due to tumultuous timing at the university and personnel changes in administration, AMP wants to do one thing differently this time around.
“One of the things [we are working on] is maintaining our focus more directly,” Metzner said. “We [want to] find several services we are able to provide, whether it’s training for faculty and staff, [or] programs for students and focusing our efforts on those to be able to bring our knowledge to the campus as a whole.”
Some other things AMP is hoping to do this time is work with students both one-on-one and in mass to hold classes, and work on career development.
Since the program just re-opened in January many students have not taken advantage of this yet, but Metzner spoke about past students talking to him about how they have personally benefited from these programs.
“[Those students get out of it] having someone at the school who is interested in their concerns, that speaks their language and is more interested in them than a broader side of it,” he said.
Metzner went on to say he personally fits the mold of who they are trying to help so he can “empathize” with students to better help their transition.
This program acts as a go-between and allows students to get better suited to their college experience and helps them branch out through college activities.
Non-traditional students can visit the office of Adult and Military Programs located at the 3204 unit of Pound Hall on North Campus. They also have offices at Camden and at Moody Air Force Base.
Story written by Maria Sellers, Staff Writer.
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