Georgian is providing new ways of supporting military-connected learners, including those currently serving, veterans and their family members. As a military-connected college, Georgian will offer an exceptional education, coupled with scholarships and academic, social and mental health supports to help these learners thrive and succeed as they transition from military to civilian life.
The decision to implement this designation across all Georgian campuses was in recognition of and gratitude for the military community – including those at the college who’ve served or who have connections to the military. It also aligned with Georgian’s 2022-24 strategic plan, and the college’s values of excellence; unrivalled student access, supports and services; community engagement; integrity; inclusion; and sustainability.
The new designation was based on several factors, and included collaboration with existing partners in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), specifically, Canadian Forces Base Borden.
Dr. Rebecca Sabourin, Dean, Engineering and Environmental Technologies, Skilled Trades, served for 27 years in the CAF as an aerospace engineer and is excited about the potential to strengthen ties within the community while maximizing student potential.
“Becoming a military-connected college creates value at Georgian in several ways,” said Sabourin. “We’re supporting an underrepresented and underserved student population by fostering learning in a postsecondary environment, and these graduates, some of whom can receive federal funding, will have an economic impact on the community and the region.”
In January, Georgian surveyed more than 12,000 students, and 165 self-identified as being military-connected as either CAF veterans, members of the regular force, foreign military veterans, members of the reserve component, civilian members of the Department of National Defence, or immediate family members.
An example of how Georgian is offering academic support is through a one-year pilot project beginning fall 2022 to provide a communication credit for military-connected students who have completed the CAF Developmental Period 1 (DP1), which is a foundational military training period.
Providing a supportive environment focused on the well-being of all military-connected students is a key element of the new strategy. Georgian employees who work with military-connected students will take part in seminars to learn more about military life circumstances such as employment differences and personal challenges so they can enhance their knowledge to serve this unique population.
In addition, the college is creating a community in which veterans and their supporters can meet and flourish. The Georgian College Military Veterans Club provides a support network where students and faculty can connect and share their experiences.
“This is helpful since the transition from military to civilian life is often fast with little time to adjust,” adds Sabourin. “Many go back to school as mature students and sometimes find it a challenge to be surrounded by younger peers who may not share the same life and work experiences.”
The college officially welcomed the first cohort of military-connected students this fall.
Members of the military community are encouraged to visit GeorgianCollege.ca/military to learn more about all the military-connected college supports, including sources of federal funding, as well as to find out if they’re eligible for the communication credit.