January 2014

Meeting Date: 
January 30, 2014

ACA Monthly Meeting
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Glenn Maloney Room, SSB


8:15      Breakfast and Social Time

Sponsored by ACA

8:30      Welcome

Rob Poyner welcomed the membership back from winter break and the first 12 class days.  Noted that the By-laws are in need of some revision and more information on that will be coming soon.

8:35      Veterans Affairs Outreach & Student Veteran Services

SSB 4.104

Jeremiah Gunderson, Coordinator of Student Veteran Services, spoke about their office being the “hub of a wheel,” a place for student veterans to go to help find the appropriate services and resources to connect with.  There has been an increase in the number of veterans and family members using educational benefits nationally and UT has seen a 277% increase in benefits requests since 2008.   UT has recently been ranked 2nd best school for student veterans in the nation.

The SVS office’s mission is guided by the book Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America's Wars and Those Who Fought Them by James Wright and finds it important to remember that “veterans need navigators,” having spent mush of their time in the service following orders.  The office mainly helps with:

Healthcare Concerns & Referrals
Residency Status
Job Search
VA Benefits (of any type)
GI Bill
Hazelwood Act

Jeremiah stressed that many student veterans are not aware of their office and encouraged the membership to refer any student veteran to them.  The SVS website also has lots of resources for all student veterans at any stage in their college career.

Jeffrey Moe, Student Veteran Outreach Coordinator, also spoke about the VITAL (Veteran Integration To Academic Leadership) Initiative that seeks to recognize the important skills and strengths that veterans develop and help relay those to the workplace and academic arena.  He also addressed the unique mental health concerns that student veterans face.  In a recent national survey of 525 student veterans, 46% reported some form of suicidal ideation, 34.6% reported severe anxiety, 23.7% reported severe depression and 45.6% reported symptoms of PTSD.  The final statistic is especially unique to student veterans and can cause many difficulties in the classroom environment.

Jeffrey offers individual counseling for student veterans and also works with many other offices to help them succeed, including Services for Students with Disabilities, Student Emergency Services, Student Judicial Services and many VA health care facilities.  He also coordinates with faculty and staff on professional development and consultation regarding specific issues student veterans face.

8:55      Undergraduate Writing Center

FAC 211

Alice Batt, Undergraduate Writing Center Coordinator, stated that employers say writing is the top skill they are looking for in hiring.  The UWC has existed at UT for 20 years and meets one-on-one, face-to-face with 10,000 undergraduates a year.  She stressed that they are not a “fix it shop” but rather talk with students about how to improve both the specific piece they bring in but also their writing skills in general.  They do assist students will grammar, but they emphasize helping students learn to find and fix their own errors, rather than simply marking to paper for the student.

The UWC is open Mon-Fri during long semesters and summers.  They have a new online appointment scheduling feature as well as assisting students on a walk-in basis.  The center is happy to provide accommodations to students needing a distraction-free environment or extended time or other accommodations.  They are also offering a Friday afternoon workshop series, each week addressing a common issue or question students have about writing.  They also offer presentations on a number of topics.

Finally, Alice mentioned that a large number of the student workers are undergraduates and they encourage students from all disciplines to apply.  They hold an open house in October for more information on applying and then student workers take a class in the spring semester to prepare.

9:10      Archer Fellowship Program

Dareth Finn, Marketing and Alumni Relations Manager, and Rose Mastrangelo, Program Coordinator, spoke about the Archer Fellowship Program, which is part of the UT System Office of Federal Relations.  The program hosted the first cohort in Spring 2001 and now has programs for undergraduates in Fall and Spring and graduate students in Summer.  Dareth discussed the three components to the program:

Participants live together in townhomes
Alumni network after completion
Students earn 15 hours of in-residence coursework
CMS347D, CMS373D, GOV370L, GOV662L
Students complete a 40 hour/week internship
Not placed, must find their own, but Archer Center will help and support the process

The program is looking for students from all majors and political viewpoints who are interested in public policy and public service.  Eligibility requirements include:

3.0 GPA
Previous work or internship experience
Leadership experience
Upper Division standing (by time of participation)
GOV core classes completed (by time of participation)

The application deadline is in February (Feb 17this year), interviews will be conducted in early March and admissions notifications will be sent out in mid-April.  There is some funding available to help with the cost including scholarships and Financial Aid.  Students should talk with Rose if they are concerned about the financial feasibility; there is help available.

Interested students should attend an info session and start taking actions that will make themselves quality applicants (keeping up with current events, looking for work or internship experience, getting to know professors, other).

9:30      Professional Development Day

Beth Andre and Justin Brady reminded the membership about Professional Development Day coming up February 13.  The keynote speaker will be Dr. Beverly Chiodo, a professor at Texas State.  The registration information will be sent out again later today.  The registration page has all of the presentations and their descriptions for the membership to start planning which sessions they’d like to attend.  The cost is $25 to attend, which includes breakfast and lunch, and payment options can be selected when registering.

9:35      Moment of Reflection

A moment of silence was taken in remembrance of staff members we have recently lost.

9:40      Announcements

ROAD reminded the membership of the webinar to be held later today from 1-2:30pm in in BAT 5.108.

Kristen Anton announced the ACC to UT Marketplace that will be held in February.  She has sent an email looking for volunteers from each college or school to participate.  Contact her with questions.  She also introduced Sara Oaxaca, the advising intern in the Vick Center.  Sara will soon be available to meet with students who are exploring majors.

The FUNdraising Committee reminded the membership about the Meet & Greet Happy Hour on Feb 6 at Gabriel’s.  The event is designed to honor new advisors and all members are invited to attend and get to know the newer members of ACA.

Many new advisors were announced:
Yma Revuelta introduced Laura Wick, new to Engineering
Rhonda Waller introduced Thierry Kehou and Sierra Anderson, new to Study Abroad
Megan Conner introduced Anneke Chy, new to International Relations & Global Studies

9:50      Group Photo taken

Professional Development Day: Feb 13, 8:30am-3pm, SAC Ballroom; Networking event to follow at 3:30pm

Next Meeting: Mar 5, 8:15-10:00am, SAC Ballroom