NEH teams with Warrior-Scholar Project to Expand Academic “Boot Camp” for Veterans Attending College

NEH teams with Warrior-Scholar Project to Expand Academic “Boot Camp” for Veterans Attending College

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chairman William “Bro” Adams and Yale President Peter Salovey announced Tuesday that a new partnership between NEH and the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) will expand the reach of programs that help veterans transition from serving in the military to four-year undergraduate programs.

The $350,000 award will allow the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP), which began as a pilot program at Yale University in 2012, to offer workshops at eight additional campuses across the country, along with a Director’s Training Course. The project is being supported as part of NEH’s Standing Together Initiative, which seeks to promote understanding of the military experience and support returning veterans.

Post-9/11 veterans have an immense degree of untapped potential to succeed in higher education institutions and to move on to successful careers. Yet even when the GI Bill and other sources of funding are helping pay tuition, college can present other significant challenges. WSP helps ease this transition through intensive “academic boot camps” led by prominent professors, administrators and student-veterans. Student veterans and alumni of the program also discuss how to adapt to changed social circumstances and suggest strategies for overcoming obstacles to fitting in with the student body.

“As a Vietnam veteran, I understand some of the challenges that today’s veterans face,” said NEH Chairman Adams, who was in New Haven on Tuesday to attend a luncheon with Salovey and professors who teach students in WSP.  “Engaging with philosophy and history as a student just out of uniform helped me understand my own experiences and gave me ways to think about my post-military life. By using the humanities to help a new generation of veterans make the transition, we’re setting them up to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

During the intensive boot camps, veterans read key works in the humanities—including those by Herodotus, Sophocles, Thucydides, Hobbes, Tocqueville, Frederick Douglass, Isaiah Berlin, and Robert Dahl. These texts form the centerpiece of classroom discussions and written exercises, providing the veterans with an introduction to academic reading and writing. The texts, which raise questions about the nature of liberty, government, and war, also help them work through their own experiences.

After starting at Yale, the WSP boot camps expanded to Harvard and the University of Michigan and are now at eight additional campuses across the country. They are open to enlisted veterans and transitioning current service members who plan to enroll in or transfer into a four-year undergraduate program. Veterans do not have to be students at the institutions hosting the boot camps. Each veteran who has completed the Warrior-Scholar Project and started college has stayed in college.

WSP is offering spots for more than 150 veterans at boot camps scheduled for the following 11 schools (locations and dates remain subject to change):

•              Vassar College (January 2015)

•              Yale University (May-June 2015)

•              Harvard University (June 2015)

•              University of Michigan (June 2015)

•              University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (June 2015)

•              Syracuse University (July 2015)

•              Cornell University (July 2015)

•              Georgetown University (July-August 2015)

•              University of Oklahoma (August 2015)

•              University of Chicago (August-September 2015)

•              University of Southern California (August 2015)

The Warrior-Scholar Project has received two previous NEH grants. The first grant of $30,000 allowed veterans from around the country to attend two boot camps held at Yale in 2013. A second grant of $100,000 supported another two-week program at Yale, along with one-week pilot programs hosted by Harvard University and University of Michigan during the summer of 2014.

Founded in 2011 by Yale University graduates, the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) runs immersive academic boot camps hosted at America’s top universities for enlisted military veterans. The majority of enlisted personnel exiting the military have not been in a classroom setting for several years, and find it hard to transition, being unprepared for the fundamentally different social and cultural environment. WSP helps veterans rediscover and develop the skills and confidence necessary to successfully complete 4-year undergraduate programs in higher education. WSP unlocks their educational potential and transforms the way veterans view themselves as students. For more information, visit, email or call (203) 937-2310.

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