UW-Whitewater course geared just for veterans
- Associated Press
- September 1, 2013 - 6:00 PM
WHITEWATER, Wis. — A University of Wisconsin-Whitewater English professor has created a composition class especially for military veterans and their families in the hopes that it will allow them to discuss their experiences and feelings with other students who can better relate.
Students in Composition 102 read poetry, short stories and essays with military themes. They're also encouraged — but never pressured — to share their own personal experiences, The Janesville Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/14QtILp ).
Associate professor Erin Celello said she wanted to help veterans connect with other veterans to whose lives traditional students might not be able to relate.
"There is freedom for veterans in a community of their peers, who understand their experiences," Celello said. "They can express their views in a way they might not be able to in a course with the average freshmen."
Nicholas Doucette took one of Celello's previous classes and said it helped him re-adjust to being back home. The former U.S. Marine served eight months in Afghanistan, where he helped clear the streets of roadside bombs. When he came back to college most students seemed more interested in interacting with their cellphones, he said, but being in a class with veterans made it easy to strike up conversations.
Doucette said the syllabus seemed unremarkable at first — until he realized the reading material helped him unearth emotions he couldn't find the words to express.
"When you have such a close connection to what you are studying, it makes the learning process a whole lot easier," Doucette said.
Celello said her secondary goal is to teach veterans to think analytically and come up with questions. Military writing requires concise and direct communications, she said, and she hoped her class would encourage veterans to rediscover their creative sides.
© 2013 Star Tribune