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April 13, 2017

Pitt joins local vets’ alliance

Pitt has joined 18 other local academic institutions in forming the Western Pennsylvania Veterans Academic Alliance.

Edwin Hernandez, director of the Office of Veterans Services (OVS), spoke about the initiative at the March 29 meeting of the University Senate student admissions, aid and affairs (SAAA) committee.

Hernandez said the alliance will facilitate the sharing of ideas and resources.

“We’re talking about best practices: how do we best support our student veterans,” he said. “And also collaborative type of opportunities so that we can feed from each other and really help our student veterans build bigger networks … with their peers across the region.”

Hernandez also highlighted a new yearly presentation by OVS and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion that addresses faculty and staff interactions with student veterans.

When committee co-chair Harvey Borovetz expressed interest in faculty mentorship of student veterans, Hernandez said he intends to develop relationships with each college and unit.

“I think the University is truly military friendly in a number of different ways, but we can do so much better in marketing that information out to the community and marketing it out across the University,” said Hernandez.


In response to a committee member’s inquiry at the Feb. 8 SAAA meeting, committee co-chair Juan Taboas reported that Pitt’s economic mobility rate is not known.

Committee member Lance Davidson had expressed interest in exploring Pitt’s ranking in a recent comparison of economic mobility among U.S. college students and whether Pitt has any strategic efforts for helping students move up in economic status.

Taboas said: “Mobility is calculated as a combination of access, which means ‘Did you get into that school?’ How many people from the lower income range are accepted into that school? Success rate is do you actually jump in quintile from the lowest to the highest,” he said.

Marc Harding, chief enrollment officer and a chancellor’s liaison to SAAA, suggested the committee reach out to Juan Manfredi, vice provost for undergraduate studies, to begin the process of calculating the rate.
—Katie Fike

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