The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you. –B.B. King
Learning. Continuous learning. It is delighting and inspiring to see people – young and old – furthering their education regardless life situations. Especially for military families completion of the academic education can sometimes be a struggle, thanks to frequent moving, deployments, overlapping schedules… you name it. In the ideal world, academic institutions should be able to show at least some flexibility but is it always the case?
Quite a few universities claim themselves military friendly and show it in their actions and ways treating students affiliated to the Armed Forces, even beyond the tuition rates. But unfortunately there are always also exceptions – bad apples that can easily give a bad name to others.
University of Alaska Anchorage, UAA , received some negative publicity very recently when a professor was not willing to work around the final test for a military student whose mandatory training event happened to overlap with the exam. The local university paper, Northern Light as well as TV station KTUU reported the event: Military students claim mistreatment by professors and Duties or Class . Should a student miss the final and fail the class, or skip the military training and be subject to more severe consequences? A good question, right? Well, not really. It should be rather obvious that a person is not able to reschedule military training – it is not like a dentist or hair appointment, and together with the professor the time challenge would be resolved. Sometimes it is just about understanding and accommodating. Just like in the work life, every once in a while we have to juggle between various commitments and duties. As long as we do not misuse these situations in order to get out of the responsibilities, there should always be space for a consensus.
It is very unfortunate that a military student in this case had to go through public humiliation by the professor and contact the higher up’s at the university until the situation got resolved. Hopefully university learns from this experience, and remembers that people do have commitments also outside the academics. After this particular event, the new Chancellor of UAA, Tom Case , stepped up and expressed his commitment to the education and Military community. Time will tell how well his message reaches faculties and schools throughout the institution.
At least I personally hope that faculty members would understand that not every student in the classroom is 18 and single. Instead, there can be quite a few very mature, dedicated, responsible students, with life experiences bigger than words can ever describe.
How have you managed to make it through the military life and education? Or other life situations while studying? How you faced resistance from the professors?