Members of Doane Student Affairs Capture Pair of Case Study Awards

Students walking on Doane's Crete campus

Members of the Doane University Student Affairs staff were part of two separate regional honors for their work on student-service related case studies.

Emma Stewart, Community Director/Residence Life & Education; Jessica L'HommeDieu, Community Director/Residence Life & Education; Jes Slavin, Coordinator of Campus Engagement; and Andrew Brown, Assistant Director of the Hansen Leadership Program were part of the Doane team recognized at the NASPA IV-West regional conference.NASPA is the association for student affairs professionals working in higher education. The case involved an issue of religious diversity and inclusion, and the team incorporated interfaith initiatives they had seen implemented by the new Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

Participants had about four-hours to strategize and create a plan to address the case which described a large undergraduate university that had just received a $500,000 donation, with the stipulation from the donor that $50,000 be allocated for a special space and programming for a Hillel Center for the Jewish students. The designated location had previously been used by multiple religious student organizations, including Muslims and Catholics. These changes were made before the start of the fall semester, so students returning began to express concerns about the new space allocations. Then, the sign reserving the new "Hillel Suite" was found in a dumpster, removed and not reported.

In their presentation before judges, the Doane team responded by outlining plans for immediate and long-term responses. The immediate response addressed the emotional and spiritual stress of the students following the act of vandalism and called upon interfaith spiritual directors to visit campus to provide additional support. The team said that idea stemmed from the Busy Person's Retreat, held at Doane from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2. They expressed the utmost empathy for the students and administrators involved and emphasized their desire to support the students through these massive changes while honoring the wishes of the donor. The team stated a desire to help fellow staff members see these changes as an opportunity for religious diversity education, to provide for students' spiritual development.

Melissa Mossinghoff, Sheldon Hall Community Director from the Office of Residential Life and Education on the Crete campus received recognition for a case-study hosted by the Upper Midwest Region of the Association of College and University Housing Officer (UMR-ACUHO). Each year UMR-ACUHO hosts a case study competition for entry-level professionals and graduate students at their regional conference. This year's conference was held in Omaha and 48 participants were randomly paired together to examine one of two scenarios- one regarding campus safety and security and the other regarding racism and anonymous hate crimes.

Melissa was paired with Page Getter, graduate student and Residence Hall Director at the University of Central Missouri. Melissa and Paige were given 30 minutes to prepare and present on how they would respond in their professional roles and address a situation on campus in which students of color were being targeted by anonymous, racist, and threatening posters.

Melissa and Paige presented short and long-term strategies to address the racism and hate speech incident and received a perfect score winning the case study competition. Melissa has been working at Doane since July 2016 and this was her first attendance at the Upper Midwest Region of the Association of College and University Housing Officers (UMR-ACUHO) conference. Melissa also volunteers in the Multicultural Nexus on the Crete campus, collaborating with Wilma Jackson, Director of Multicultural Support Services.