Montana State University
MSU STRATEGIC INVESTMENT PROPOSAL FOR INSTITUTIONAL PRIORITIES
PROPOSAL OVERVIEW
TitleAssistant Director for Disability, Re-entry, & Veteran Services Request Date2012-11-29
DepartmentDisability, Re-entry, & Veteran Services Emailbyork@montana.edu
RequestorBrenda York Phone2824
INSTITUTIONAL BENEFIT
Campuses Bozeman Billings Havre Great Falls FSTS Extension MAES
Cross Depts Student Accounts, Housing, Academic departments, all Student Services offices,(i.e., Counseling, Dean of Students, Financial Aid), Facilities, Human Resources, Extension. Also other MSU campuses in consultation about veteran services and disability services.
TIMEFRAME
Proposed Dates Start: July 01, 2013 End: N/A
PROPOSAL SUMMARY
Hire an Assistant Director of Disability, Re-entry, & Veteran Services to meet the needs of the increasing student population served by this office. The number of students requiring Veteran Services has increased 36% and students requiring Disability Services has increased 26% for 2010 to 2011 and 21% for 2011 to 2012. Re-entry students (nontraditional age) has seen inquiries and visits for advice about returning and/or beginning school increase due to the economy, job displacement, etc. Veteran Services has developed a state and nationally recognized program. Thus creating an increase for outreach and engagement.
STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT
Engagement Goal: Members of the Montana State University community will be leaders, scholars and engaged citizens of their campus, local, state, national and global communities, working along-side community partners through the mutually beneficial exchange and application of knowledge and resources to improve the human prospect.

With increased staff, the Director will be able to participate on state and national committees for Veterans educational benefits, ensuring that the studentsí voice is heard by appropriate audiences through her. Tending to the daily operations and participating strategically cannot be done by one person any longer.

With respect to ADA issues, the director will be able to strategically plan for and create programs that incorporate universal design for disabled students in an academic setting, along with addressing transitional issues facing students with disabilities in regards to access.

Nontraditional age student recruitment and programs can be further advanced with the hire of an Assistant Director.

Access Goal: Montana State University is committed to widening access to higher education and seeks to ensure equality of opportunity for all.

Adding an Assistant Director to the DRV staff will allow the department to assist more students in their educational pursuits. The current forecast is for a downsizing of the military, and it is estimated federally that 80% of those leaving the military will use their educational benefits. These students have additional needs of adjusting to the life of a private citizen and being a non-traditional student. Developing strategies to ensure that these students continue to be served well requires advance planning that the current Director does not have time to address, given her daily duties.

Stewardship Goal: Compliance with the myriad of federal rules governing ADA and VA benefits presents a staggering amount of work. Ensuring adequate staffing to maintain compliance with these regulations is a key component of being deemed a veteran-friendly school.

COST AND REQUIREMENTS
Funding Type: One-Time Only Funding Base (3-yr Recurring) Funding
  FY13 FY14 FY15 Base ($) OTO Startup ($)   FTE;
Salaries       55000  4000    1.0 
Benefits       17600       
Materials & Supplies              
Travel       2000       
Contracted Services              
Capital              
Other Operations              
TOTAL 74600  4000    1.0 
Please comment, if necessary, regarding cost and requirements.

This position is expected to be a professional position, reporting to the Director.  This position is expected to supervise other staff as well.  One-time costs would include furniture and a computer.  Compliance requirements and policy changes may necessitate annual travel to obtain professional knowledge critical to success of the department.

PROPOSAL SCOPE
Describe the Proposal

The Assistant Director will report to and directly implement the strategies developed by the Director, manage programs, and supervise, in the Director’s absence, the office of Disability, Re-entry, & Veteran Services.  The person in this position, when making decisions, will affect the university, office, and students in a variety of avenues

 

Current staff consists of:

 

Director, Brenda York: Plans strategically for the department, serves on national committees to advocate for students; communicates regularly with our congressional delegation; supervises daily operations, including reviewing reconciliations of the over $2.4 million per year received by MSU from the VA and following up with the VA office on discrepancies; works directly with students in need; serves on-call for crisis situations; prepares and certifies the billing to the VA for each of the students receiving VA benefits.  DRV also has numerous outreach contacts with local, state, and federal offices and schools.

 

ADA program staff are as follows:

Program Manager: works with students with disabilities, assesses documentation and works with students on academic accommodations. 

 

Program Coordinator:  Works with physically disabled students, coordinates sign language interpreters, helps with test proctoring and set up, and works with assistive technology.

 

Veteran Issues Staff are as follows:

 

Student Service Specialist (0.75 FTE): supervises Vet Center and assists the Director in certifying billing to the VA for every student receiving VA benefits, as well as following up with the VA on billing discrepancies. 

 

5 different part-time veteran work study students assist the office’s operations, and are all paid through federal VA program.  Their work contributes greatly to the functioning of the team. 

 

Program Assistant: Temporary generalist front-desk position, coordinates calendars, proctors testing, sets up meetings with students, and assists where needed.

 

The major responsibilities of the new position will be to:

 

  • analyzes psychological reports, psycho-educational assessments, and medical assessments received by Disabled Student Services in support of student requests for accommodations and services under the Americans with Disability Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;

 

  • understand and supervise processing of all GI Educational benefits, supervising and overseeing reconciliations between the Veteran Administration and Montana State University;

 

  • promote and advance nontraditional programs and recruitment;

 

  • meets individually with students to discuss their diagnostic results, learning styles, and academic concerns; determines student eligibility for services;

 

  • facilitates the provision of support services and accommodations; provides vocational, academic and disability related counseling to students with disabilities, re-entry, and veterans; counseling activities include initial interviews, general assessment, advisement, registration assistance, collection of verification documentation and maintenance of student files;

 

  • assists students in selecting an appropriate mix of courses each term and advise them on learning strategies, institutional policies and procedures, and other personal and academic matters; assist students with the best possible resources to help them, if needed.

 

  • act as a  liaison with state, federal and local agencies and organizations to facilitate effective referrals; consults with medical and mental health professionals, VA federal staff, state legislators, and federal entities;

 

  • responds to requests from agencies/individuals for information on MSU-Bozeman programs and services, policies institutional responsibilities, and student rights and responsibilities;

 

  • provides consultation, support, and training to faculty and staff regarding student educational issues, and faculty and staff rights and responsibilities under disability law and  in regard to understanding veteran needs;

 

  • advises faculty, staff and administrators on effective strategies for responding to the needs and demands of students from DRV;

 

  • advises parents of students with disabilities on the changing roles of parents when a child enters post-secondary education and assists with that transition;

 

  • helps and implements programs to work with veterans for transition from military to higher education;

 

  • represents DRV at conferences and meetings and through committee assignments;

 

  • provide engaged interaction with many constituents;

 

  • provides advocacy for students as appropriate; maintains accurate records for each student utilizing services in compliance with state and federal regulations;

 

  • advises Director of need for policy change or implementation, drafts policy and assists the director both to enforce existing policy and to implement new policy;

 

  • mediates conflicts between students and on/off campus parties to facilitate resolutions that satisfy mandates set by state and federal laws;

 

  • seeks to improve all services through self-education, research, and networking;

 

  • meet with and advise non-traditional age students;

 

  • participates in departmental activities and performs other related duties as assigned by the Director of Disability, Re-entry, and Veteran Services.
 
Describe the broader impacts and benefits of this proposal

The addition of an Assistant Director to the DRV office will help MSU-Bozeman maintain the excellent work currently performed for these groups of students.  The Bozeman office has built up a national reputation of excellence, and maintains a very good relationship with the Veterans Administration.  Annual compliance audits have shown favorable results.  As we gain prestige, more veterans come to MSU’s veteran-friendly campus.   As our Veteran population increases and with always changing regulations, it will take more time and effort to remain in compliance and serve our students. 

 

Increasing access while maintaining stewardship of our resources is key to the continued success of the office.  The Director of DRV will have the assurance that day-to-day matters are handled while she works to strategically move the department forward. 

 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Implementation Plan

April 2013:  start hiring process

July 2013:   proposed start date of new hire

 
Assessment Plan

The number of students served by the office will increase by at least 20% by 2015.

The number of reconciliation issues that remain unresolved with the VA will decrease by 20% by 2015.

Compliance with veteran-friendly school status requirements will be met or exceeded every year.

Increase nontraditional students by 10% by 2015.

 
If assessed objectives are not met in the timeframe outlined what is the plan to sunset this proposal?

If the number of students within these 3 programs decreases instead of increasing, this position can be eliminated.

 
SIGNATURES
Executive/VP: James Rimpau (rimpau@montana.edu)