Higher ed's misconceptions about veterans

October 15, 2018
  • Admissions and Recruitment
  • Enrollment Management
  • Meetings, Workshops, and Trainings
  • SEM Conference
  • Veterans and Service Members
water color stars and stripes in the background with the text "Veterans Day AACRAO SEM 2018" displayed When he began his career outside the military 17 years ago, Chris Lucier felt hobbled by employers’ stereotypes about a veteran’s experience. A ROTC graduate, Lucier served 21 years in the U.S. Army in seven different states and one foreign country before he retired in 2001 as a lieutenant colonel. Then he chose to enter civilian life, and a civilian job market that didn’t necessarily know how to assess his the skills and attributes he had gained leading, training and managing soldiers and equipment in armored units.

“Out of 100 times I’d submit an application for a job, I might get one interview, especially if I was seeking a job in higher education.” Lucier said. “But finally my application came before a guy who was veteran himself and knew what I could bring to the job, and he gave me a chance.” With no admissions experience, Lucier was hired as a senior associate admissions director and has progressed to being a Vice President for Enrollment Management at two institutions, currently  at the University of Delaware.

“In many ways, veterans are misunderstood,” Lucier said. “The perception is that the military is very rigid and hierarchical, but veterans who serve as employees and students are actually very flexible and adaptable. They can change direction on a dime. They’re very results-oriented and they bring a level of discipline and persistence that will help them to succeed.”

In addition, veterans are used to working in teams, so, although they may have challenges transitioning into the campus or workplace culture, they generally acclimate quickly and have a “can-do” attitude, Lucier said. 

Foster veterans’ success 
The 2018 AACRAO SEM Conference kicks off on Veterans Day, and AACRAO will honor our active duty military and veterans across the world by focusing on issues that impact their access to and success in pursuing postsecondary education. 

As part of that work, Lucier will facilitate a panel discussion presenting administrative, advocate, and student perspectives on these issues. 

“We’ll talk about supporting student veterans and also discuss hiring veterans in higher education,” Lucier said. “That’s my story and I think we veterans have a lot to offer to higher education. 

Learn more about AACRAO SEM 2018 and join the conversation, November 11-14, 2018, in Washington, DC