November 19, 2009

SIUC saluted as a top military-friendly university

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s ongoing commitment to providing educational opportunities to members of the nation’s military and veterans is again receiving national recognition.

For a third consecutive year, Military Advanced Education magazine lists SIUC as one of the nation’s 2009 top military-friendly colleges and universities in the upcoming November/December 2009 issue.

SIUC is one of fewer than 30 universities and colleges in the nation to make the publication’s list in each of the three years, said Glenn R. Berlin, associate publisher of Military Advanced Education magazine.

Thomas H. Beebe, director of SIUC’s Office of Military Programs, said the recognition “means that we are obviously serving the needs of the military out there.”

“We are excited about receiving this honor for a third year in a row,” he said.

“It’s obvious that the dedication we have to the military and to our veterans is such that we are being recognized,” Beebe said. “I’m very happy that we are getting the type of exposure we are receiving. It is second-to-none for the University. It speaks highly for the people who are out there working in the trenches every day recruiting students. It speaks highly to their dedication to the University and their dedication to the veterans, both on- and off-campus.”

About 130 schools are in the magazine’s guide this year, Berlin said. The magazine is “the only publication dedicated to education of service members across military branch lines,” providing information about certifications and degree programs that will advance their military careers as they advance their educations, he said. The magazine also assists service members preparing to transition out of the military who wish to continue their education, and assists schools in finding the right candidates for their programs, Berlin said.

“It gives us great pleasure to recognize the efforts that Southern Illinois University Carbondale puts into assuring that the service members who attend this fine school are connected in every way possible,” Berlin said.

The Office of Military Programs coordinates the activities of the University's three colleges that offer bachelor degrees to active duty military and reserve personnel, their families, retirees, and at some locations, community members. Started in 1973 at Scott Air Force Base, the program is at 39 military and civilian locations in 16 states. The program is in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

The University was among the first to offer off-campus academic programs to military personnel. According to Beebe, the University is serving more than 2,000 veterans, reserve, and active-duty personnel and their families.

There are 1,422 students enrolled in six degree programs. The College of Applied Sciences and Arts offers degrees in health care management, aviation management, electronic systems technologies and fire service management. The College of Engineering offers a degree in industrial technology, and the College of Education and Human Services offers a degree in workforce education and development.

Each college appoints a director to oversee the day-to-day academic matters.

There are 730 on-campus veterans enrolled in a variety of programs as well.

“We are doing so many things for veterans, both on-campus and off-campus,” he said.

Beebe believes the off-campus enrollment will remain stable until the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. Active-duty military personnel “are being asked to do more with less,” he said.

“People and family lives are being disrupted with more rotations; we have people being sent over more frequently than they have before,” he said.

In the past, the off-campus programs generally took 12 to 16 months to complete and include both on-site and online instruction. The time period now might be two to three years because of military commitments, Beebe said.

“But we are seeing them come back to finish their degrees and that is the exciting part,” he said. “We are also starting to look at different avenues to help them work on their degrees while they are over there.”

In addition to recognition from Military Advanced Education Magazine, in August, the University’s success earned recognition as a “Military Friendly School for 2010,” from G.I. Jobs Magazine. That recognition places SIUC among the top 15 percent of 7,000 colleges, universities and trade schools in the nation, which, according to the magazine, “are doing the most to embrace America’s veterans as students.”

More information on veterans services offered at SIUC is available at More information on the University’s Office of Military Programs is available at