On February 5 and 6, 2024, two members of the Hiram College Student Affairs team attended the annual Ohio College Personnel Association (OCPA) Conference in Columbus, Ohio. OCPA is the premier professional development association for higher education professionals in the state. This year’s conference theme was “Let’s Do This” and attracted nearly 200 participants from Ohio’s colleges and universities. 

Area Coordinator Ethan Scheck presented an educational session titled “Let’s Do Ethics.” This interactive session explored the ethical issues facing supervisors and student staff members within higher education environments. Scheck covered the foundation of ethics and the application of ethical frameworks and theories to enhance supervisory relationships and promote student development. 

    

Ethan Scheck, top left, with fellow presenters from other Ohio colleges and universities.
Ethan Scheck, top left, with fellow presenters from other Ohio colleges and universities.

Scheck is currently working towards his Master of Education in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs. This conference was a means of disseminating his research while attending educational sessions each day. When asked what set his case study apart, he said, “I considered student development theories that focused on social and cultural development on the individual and community level. This allowed me to address many of the issues at play while applying formal theories that have been developed by higher education scholars.” 

After the case study competition concluded, Scheck was announced the reigning champion of the Robert A. Dubick graduate case study competition. Graduate students participated as individuals or in teams of two to tackle a case study focused on developing positive town-gown relationships. Acting as the Dean of Students of a small private college, participants were tasked with developing an action plan for the college president to help foster positive community relations, minimize neighborhood disruptions, and promote healthy decision making among students. Participants had eight minutes to present their assumptions and resolution to a panel of three judges comprised of seasoned student affairs leaders. As a consecutive case study winner, Scheck was awarded a cash prize to offset his educational expenses.  

One thing that stood out to Scheck from this year’s conference was, “every institution is going to have its own struggles with the community in which they find themselves,” he said. “However, it is how the individuals involved in the relationship decide to respond that will ultimately impact what outcomes occur. In all, those involved must be willing to put in the work to create a mutually beneficial experience and relationship that can be utilized in the future.” 

 

By Noah Pilgram