Vice Admiral (retired) Mel Williams Jr., the newly named senior associate dean for military and veterans initiatives, announced the GW Veterans Accelerate Learning Opportunities and Rewards program (GW VALOR) at the College of Professional Studies Commencement celebration.
The celebration was held at the Charles E. Smith Center on Saturday, May 18, Armed Forces Day.
The interdisciplinary initiative will provide increased flexibility and career support for veteran and military students and their dependents by emphasizing the innovative and expanded academic opportunities, including online degree programs that GW offers. The initiative is aligned with the university’s newly approved strategic plan, which emphasizes cross-disciplinary programs.
“There are myriad ongoing military and veteran support efforts within GW, and Operation GW VALOR is a comprehensive, collaborative and unified effort among key stakeholders to better share best practices and harness efficiencies while improving our delivery of support,” Adm. Williams said.
Under the GW VALOR initiative the university will offer appropriate academic credit for military service and highlight a variety of flexible undergraduate and graduate online degree programs, online general education courses and certificates for military members, veterans and dependents. In addition, the initiative will include an expanded presence at the university’s Hampton Roads Center in Newport News, Va.
“Our initiatives establish common principles whereby GW will provide top student service, and will be known for individualized, service-oriented programs, and a thoughtful approach towards excellence in learning with practical career placement,” Adm. Williams said.
For example, eligible deployed and post-active duty military service members and veterans interested in political office or public service can pursue a certificate program at the Center for Second Service as well as participate in the Graduate School of Political Management’s Semester in Washington.
Additionally, independent duty corpsman and medics can transition to civilian nursing careers with the School of Nursing’s Transition to Nursing B.A. An online graduate nursing program will also be offered.
The initiative will also highlight general education and degree programs in police and security studies at the College of Professional Studies as well as instruction that will complement military experience in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
The online MPH@GW program launched by the School of Public Health and Health Sciences this spring is also a part of GW VALOR. SPHHS will also offer hybrid instruction for the Executive Master of Health Services Administration, combining a four-day intensive classroom experience with a 12-week online program.
“We want GW to be the university of choice for veterans, military members and their families,” said Adm. Williams. “We will endeavor to fulfill this vision through the day-to-day application of GW’s values, which are closely aligned with the core values of the military services: service, excellence, respect, teamwork and diversity.”
This year George Washington was named a “military friendly” school by “G.I. Jobs Magazine” for the fourth year in a row and to the “best for vets” list of colleges in “Military Times.” More than 1,000 veterans and dependents are using GI Bill benefits at GW this year.
These numbers reflect the continued dedication of GW to military service members and veterans, a relationship that Adm. Williams would like to expand through a continued personal approach.
“An essential element of this initiative is to continue listening to our student GW Veterans student organization (GW chapter of the Student Veterans of America), to honor them, and to improve support for them in their learning and careers,” he said.