Nathan Davis, director of Xavier’s Center for Veterans Affairs, and John Wolfe, PhD, visiting faculty in philosophy, examine the unique role of a Christian liberal arts university like Xavier in the treatment of veterans suffering from the psychological trauma of moral injury.
They give their presentation, “The Habit and the Drum: Returning Veterans, Moral Injury, and The Role of Christian Education in the Healing Process,” at the IAPCHE Internationalizing Christian Higher Education conference from Thursday, May 23, through Saturday, May 25, at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.
An influx of veterans returning from service war zones such as Afghanistan and Iraq are taking advantage of educational benefits provided by the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which means more veterans are enrolling in college classes. Christian universities have a unique opportunity to educate, mentor and minister to these veterans, many of whom are suffering both physically and psychologically.
After being trained to kill, many veterans have to relearn what it means to be human in civilized society.
Wolfe and Davis’ presentation includes a discussion of the concept of moral injury and current methods of treatment by the Department of Veterans Affairs, similar to that for post-traumatic stress disorder. They argue that effective treatment of moral injury can happen in the academic environment of a liberal arts, Christian university, an environment where returning veterans can be nurtured and educated at the same time.
Xavier is equipped to provide positive, proactive measures to address the needs of veterans suffering from moral injury. Xavier’s Center for Veterans Affairs has a part-time counselor on site and offers special core courses focused on the needs of veterans. The program also promotes employment through the Hire-A-Hero program and offers specific study abroad opportunities, including a spiritual healing pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy.
To learn more about moral injury and the Center for Veterans Affairs, please contact Davis at 513-745-3620.