Q and A with Fletcher Brown, Director of Military and Veterans Services

As we celebrate our veterans not just on this day but year-round, we sat down to speak with Fletcher Brown, Director of Military and Veterans Services here on the Regis Northwest Denver Campus.  Brown shared what faculty, staff and students should know when working with a veteran in the classroom.

Q: What should faculty, staff and students be aware of if they have a veteran in their class?

A: I think to keep in mind that veterans have lived a whole world before they've gotten here. They bring in world experience that your typical student straight out of high school or even community college has not experienced. Some veterans have little experience challenging authority, completing broadly defined assignments, or feeling confident when expectations are unclear.

Q: What are some examples you can share that would be helpful for people to know about?

  • Create a trusting and caring classroom environment through your approach to all students and your teaching style so that veteran students feel comfortable to approach you and discuss their unique needs and challenges.
  • Encourage veteran students to contact you if they encounter circumstances that may impact their performance in your course.
  • Accommodate any special needs expressed by veteran students. This may include (but not be limited to) wanting to sit in the last row of the class to avoid exposing their backs, sitting away from windows, being hesitant initially to participate in discussions and missing class due to VA appointments or reserve-duty commitments.
  • Be willing to take the time to explain course, assignment, and university policies to veteran students as they may be used to following orders without question. Veteran students may not know they can ask for permission to submit assignments late for valid reasons, appeal grades, or request special accommodations, when necessary.
  • Learn about disabilities, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) some veterans may suffer so that they can be referred to appropriate campus services for necessary accommodations.
  • Expect the same classroom responsibilities and performance from veteran students as non-veteran students (neither increased nor decreased expectations).
  • Help veteran students to successfully work together with civilian students on team projects and interact with them effectively. Some veteran students may prefer working only with other veteran students yet it is important to help veteran students integrate with civilian students and vice versa.


Q: Is there a way faculty can navigate those conversations in a classroom so everyone’s voices can be heard, including veterans?

A: I think a lot of it is prefacing opinions with “this is my opinion, or this is what I have witnessed … this may not be your experience” and then sharing out rather than stating that as fact. It goes a long way without setting off triggers. With a veteran, stating it clearly as “this is just strictly my opinion from this is what I have witnessed” helps. Some simple classroom strategies will benefit not only veterans but also many other students. If possible, professors should invite students, either orally in class or with a note on the syllabus, to talk with them individually. Veterans, in particular, may have specific requests that go beyond the need for extended time and quiet testing conditions.

Q: What kind of feedback have you received from veterans and active military students?

A: That the Regis University faculty and staff have been a great support for the Military community at our school. Class management is important to them. They do very well with the course requirements, in fact they thrive on having a mission plan in place to follow. They often see the teacher as the military authority and respect their word as fast and final. There is also a level of maturity to consider when working with Veterans.

Q: What are some services you provide for veterans and active military students if they come to the Veterans Center on campus?

A: There are a variety of resources we provide. Everything from assisting with VA educational benefits questions to assistance scholarships, tutoring, Disability Services, or if they're having food or housing insecurity challenges, we can help with any of that. If you just need a quiet place to study, meet with tutors, or just looking for a place to find comradery and talk … this is the place to do it. It's a very open space and it's a great and very supportive group.