November 9, 2016
LIVONIA, Mich. – Madonna University graduate student Brandon Ash took home a student award from a professional conference he attended earlier this month.
Ash, 29, a graduate student in Madonna’s Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program, was named co-winner of the Fall 2016 American College Personnel Association-Michigan (ACPA MI) Graduate Student Case Study Competition. Students and student affairs professionals from across the state of Michigan attended the annual conference to gain new ideas that could improve learning opportunities for college students outside the classroom. Ash was among the Madonna University team of HESA graduate students and students affairs staff and administrators who attended.
According to Ash, the case study competition was open to any graduate student in a higher education program, or in the field of higher education and/or student affairs who attended the conference. He was partnered with Breeanna Cannon of Eastern Michigan University, and they were charged with creating a solution for a hypothetical situation that could occur at a college or university.
In less than 24 hours -- between 4 p.m. the first day of the conference until noon the second day – the pair came up with a five-minute presentation on how and why they would discipline residence hall assistants who had thrown a party involving alcohol. Using skills and knowledge gained in their respective programs, they determined that the assistants should be fired not only to uphold school policy, but also to set precedent for other resident assistants and students. “The judges were pleased with how we presented our argument,” Ash said. “I definitely enjoyed it.”
In addition to the case study competition, the conference gave students a chance to learn more about the field of student affairs and to network with higher education professionals. In addition to attending sessions on retention and student success, Ash went to a session on building a campus life community -- “something I want to help build at the institution where I pursue my career,” he said. Eventually he would like to work in academic or career advising.
Ash, who completed his undergraduate degree at Southern University in Baton Rouge, works for the residence hall at Madonna University which sponsored his attendance at the conference. Originally from Louisiana, he chose Madonna University for its graduate HESA program and because he has family living in the area.
A state division of the American College Personnel Association, ACPA-MI provides comprehensive professional development for college student educators, including networking, research and publishing. Members represent a wide array of student and academic affairs functions, including academic advising, residence life, career services student activities and multicultural services. They hail from more than 40 different colleges across the state; including two- and four-year, as well as private and public schools.