2018 Rising Professional Case Study Competition Winners

Congratulations to Darrian Dorrough (Western Kentucky University) and Quinna Hogan (Western Kentucky University) on being named the winners of the 2018 Rising Professional Case Study Competition at the 2018 KAHO Annual Conference. As the winners, Darrian and Quinna will receive complimentary registration for the 2019 KAHO Annual Conference.

Participants were asked to consider a topic around gender neutral housing (GNH), or an inclusive environment where students can live in the same room with any student regardless of sex, gender, gender identity/expression, or sexual orientation, and come up with a proposed plan of action to serve students interested in gender neutral housing on campus without a gender neutral housing policy or plan.

Thank you all of the participants for their hard work and effort during the competition.

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2018 Best of the Bluegrass Award

Congratulations to Collin Bruner (University of Kentucky) and Casey Roley (University of Kentucky) for being awarded the 2018 Best of the Bluegrass Award for their outstanding session Managing Up: Creating a Mutually Beneficial Supervision Relationship presented during the 2018 KAHO Annual Conference.

From the session description: Managing up? What is that? Supervision is a large component of many Housing professional’s roles, but what about finding ways to supervise our supervisor? Let’s face it, most of us want to manage up, but maybe we do not have the tools or tips to successfully and/or effectively do so. It does not come easy to people, especially when you are a new professional in the field of Higher Education. This presentation is adapted from an article by L. McLeod titled, “10 Ways to Get Your Boss to Trust You Completely” and will focus on defining and explaining various supervisory styles, and how supervisees can in turn effectively learn how to ease the workload of their supervisor based on their supervision style.

Managing Up: Creating a Mutually Beneficial Supervision Relationship will represent Kentucky at the 2019 SEAHO Conference, and its presenters will receive a total of $500 to assist with associated costs.

The Best of the Bluegrass Award is awarded to the highest rated session during the KAHO Annual Conference. The winning session is selected to be presented at the following SEAHO Conference, and the presenters receive a total of $500 to assist with the expenses of attending the SEAHO conference.

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2018 Outstanding RA Award Recipients

During the 2018 Annual Conference, the Kentucky Association of Housing Officers recognized the recipients of the 2018 Outstanding Resident Assistant Award. Recipients of the award are selected by the Senior Housing Officer of each of KAHO’s member institutions for their outstanding service to their institution over the past year.

The 2018 KAHO Outstanding Resident Advisor Award was awarded to:

  • Chris Smith (Bellarmine University)
  • Hannah Gibbs (Centre College)
  • Kidus Shiferawe (Eastern Kentucky University)
  • Donovan Cyrus (Morehead State University)
  • Jordan Trull (Sullivan University)
  • Raaziq El-Amin (Transylvania University)
  • Cassidy Flood (University of Louisville)
  • Ines Elena Martin (University of Kentucky)
  • Cara Dillard (Western Kentucky University)

Congratulations to all the recipients and thank you for all your had work and dedication to your institutions and its students.

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2018 KAHO Service Award Recipients

During the 2018 Annual Conference, the Kentucky Association of Housing Officers recognized the recipients of the 2018 KAHO Service Award. Recipients of the award are selected by the Senior Housing Officer of each of KAHO’s member institutions for their outstanding service to their institution over the past year.

The 2018 KAHO Service Award was awarded to:

  • Michael Thomas (Berea College)
  • Cody Cook (Centre College)
  • Katelyn Spooner (Eastern Kentucky University)
  • Hannah Tolliver (Morehead State University)
  • Anna Brown (Murray State University)
  • Marrese Whitsett (University of Kentucky)
  • Michelle Montalvo (University of Louisville)
  • Justavian Tillman (Western Kentucky University)

Congratulations to all the recipients and thank you for all your had work and dedication to your institutions and its students.

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2018 KARH Student of the Year

Congratulations to Sarah Williams of Bellarmine University for being recognized as the 2018 KARH Student of the Year. The Student of the Year is award by the Kentucky Association of Housing Officers on behalf of the Kentucky Association of Residence Halls (KARH) to a student who has made outstanding contributions to their institution and the Kentucky Association of Residence Halls.

From the nomination:

At Bellarmine University we have many stand out student leaders who are always willing to step up and help their organizations, peers, and administrators. Sarah Williams however, outshines all of those students with her passion, drive, and desire to make a difference in the community in which she lives. Sarah has worked for Residence Life since her Sophomore year and has been interning in our office for the past two summers to gain more experience in Housing and Residence Life in order to prepare her for her graduate work in Student Affairs next year. On top of serving as our Senior Resident Assistant she is also interning in the Student Activities Center and serves as our NCC for our Residence Hall Association and Vice President for our National Residence Hall Honorary, as well helping with several other initiatives on campus as well. During her internship this past summer, Sarah was instrumental in helping our professional staff implement our new online training module and serving on our training committee to plan, facilitate, and evaluate or training for 52 Residence Life student leaders. She also helped create our new sociogram model and help to reframe the delivery of our BASIC community building model, and helped rewrite the RHA constitution to meet the current needs of our students through a new Hall Council model. This year, she is working to re-constitute the RHA and Residence Life team in Relay for Life, which is no easy task. What is amazing about Sarah is her care for others. She would willingly do anything she physically could for any of her colleagues, residents or campus administrators. I know that personally, my life and experience at Bellarmine has been much better by having her in it and I know the same is for our residents and those involved in RHA and NRHH. Due her experience, dedication and passion for Residence Life and especially RHA and NRHH, Sarah Williams is more than deserving of Student of the Year.

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2018 Graduate Student Award

Congratulations to Anna Brown of Murray State University for receiving the 2018 Graduate Student Award at the 2018 KAHO Annual Conference. The Graduate Student Award is awarded annually to one recipient for their outstanding service to their institution.

From the award nomination:

Over the last year, Anna Brown has dedicated herself to Murray State University with a passion and focus that is truly awe-inspiring. She pushes boundaries, challenges the department to think from new perspectives, constantly advocates for innovation and care, and unites members of our community as we pursue achievement of our goals. She has drive and determination at levels usually only equated with Olympic athletes and scientists on the cusp of their next discovery. As a graduate resident director in her final year, she will be leaving a legacy shaped by the extraordinary contributions and service that she has generously provided in her time here.

“Anna [Brown] was the strongest influence in elevating the culture within Regents College, more than any other factor. She created a stronger, inclusive community and supported her resident advisors in a way that that they could perform at their optimum. Her communication skills are exceptional. She considers her words before speaking. Whether giving performance appraisals (one-on-ones), or showing compassion to the residents, she always seems to say the right thing to the benefit of the hearer. Organized, proactive, thinks days/weeks ahead when she plans…all this allows her to accomplish multiple tasks that strengthen the organization. I’ve been in the industrial and academic worlds for over 40 years, and Anna may be one of the strongest employees I’ve worked with. As College Head, she kept me in the loop when she knew the information would help me in my work. If I ran an empire, Anna would be my go-to person. She has been a blessing to me, Regents College, and the university.”

-Professor Mickey Miller
Department of Organizational Communication
College Head of Regents Residential College
Murray State University

Walking the halls of Regents Residential College today, the vintage fixtures and original 1960s cinderblock walls look the same as they did a year ago. The room furniture has not been drastically changed; the murals in the stairwells from a class of students a decade ago have not been painted over; and the building itself has not, of course, been picked up and relocated to a more central area of campus. And yet, if you were to stop and talk to students on campus about their views on Regents College, their answers would be so in contrast with those from the year prior that you might think they were talking about another building entirely.

“Ratchet Regents.” Anna Brown despised the phrase from the moment she heard the first resident use it. Over the past ten years, Murray State University, like many other institutions, has been in the process of renovating and rebuilding our campus housing. Newer, more expensive halls with brighter finishes, updated amenities, and that new building smell offer a stark contrast to their aged and well-loved neighbors, and Anna knew that students would make comparisons, but this was different. The resident was not speaking out of disrespect and had voiced the comment in the fond, joking way that you might use a crass nickname for a loved one, but the reference material for the phrase held implications that Anna recognized as problematic immediately.

In further discussion with the resident, and then her staff, Anna became aware that “Ratchet Regents” was well-known campus slang. Where her staff and prior Resident Directors had accepted the phrase for what it was, Anna set out immediately to make the change she saw was needed. In the following weeks, Anna would have meetings with her staff, her college council, and the residents through floor meetings in program focused on re-branding Regents College. During her meetings, she used the rebranding as an avenue to begin exploring social justice with her students as well, exploring the meaning of words, opening up discussions on microaggressions and language. She spoke to them about pride in their communities, their personal brand, and what the way that messages are received. She asked that they not only refrain from using that phrase and others, but to not be afraid to confront others when they were using offensive language. She dedicated herself to the project, like she always does, and her work has had a lasting impact on that community.

Regents College residents now refer to themselves as “the GREAT Regents.” Their resident engagement is at an all-time high; they had a record number of candidates go out for leadership positions last Spring; and, when Board members toured the building earlier this month and asked students about their experience, and why they had decided to stay in the building when we had open spaces in a newer hall, they were told by returning residents that they didn’t want to live anywhere else.

“I moved into Regents Residential College in the fall of 2017. When I stepped foot in this building I had no idea the impact it was going to have on my life. Like many others, when I first got here I was a terrified freshman. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was beginning to doubt whether college was for me. During that time, I had a wonderful RD who showed me I was wrong, and Regents welcomed me with open arms.
The RA’s fought to build a strong community and bond each floor together. I loved the girls on my floor and quickly realized that a home is not always composed of those of blood relation. Regents was my home; it was the one place on campus that I knew I belonged.”

-RA Staff Member
Regents College

In the same way that that Anna drives her staff and students to strive for and be better, Anna pushes us to do this at the department and institutional level as well. In the last year, she has worked tirelessly to improve our staff trainings; she was part of a group of Resident Director who drafted a proposal for increased compensation for student staff; and she has supported our chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary and Residential College Association. She has advocated for expansions in our social justice and mental health response trainings for staff and worked with campus partners to ensure that our staff and students have a great understanding of their resources on campus than ever before. The work that she has done has revitalized our department.

Finally, Anna is also impacting a potential future generation of Student Affairs professionals. In the last two months alone, I know of ten conversations that Anna has had with junior and senior students who have come to her to speak about seeking graduate work in Housing and Residence Life. She has inspired them through what they have seen is possible. Anna Brown gives me hope for the future of Student Affairs and Murray State University.

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2018 KAHO New Professional Award

Congratulations to Jolissa Yonker of Eastern Kentucky University for receiving the 2018 New Professional Award at the 2018 KAHO Annual Conference. The New Professional Award is awarded to the housing professional who has worked between one and three years at their institution for their outstanding contributions and service to their institution.

From the award nomination:

This nomination is to support Jolissa Yonker as the Outstanding New Professional for KAHO 2018. Jolissa is currently a 3rd year RHC at Eastern Kentucky University. She is the RHC of Martin Hall, the “Crown Jewel” of campus. I provide this information because it was no small feat for her to obtain this building and this nomination will hopefully provide details to support her extraordinary performances. This nomination is grounded in three areas of recognition: student support, staff development, and leadership.

Jolissa cares deeply for her students and their successes. She believes that every student has the capability of being great and can achieve their goals. Jolissa will easily sacrifice her self-care to make sure that her students are given attention and satisfied. To support this claim, her supervisor writes this: “During move-in this year, Jolissa encountered a student who was trying to move in, but was not registered for classes. The student shared some struggles she had during her first year, including being homeless, and Jolissa quickly pulled together a team and plan to help this student. She worked with colleagues to make sure the student could temporarily move in, while also helped the student develop a plan. The Monday after move-in weekend, Jolissa met the student at 7:30 AM to get them to various offices across campus that could assist the student. The amazing part about Jolissa is this is only one example out of dozens where she has gone above and beyond to advocate for her students.”

It is well known that Jolissa has a true talent for putting together a team and developing them into the best staff on campus; her accolades include two-time “Hall Staff of the Year Award” winner and two-time “Hall Olympics Champions”. Being with her staff and bonding with them is her niche. Her former RA, now GRHC, provides this: “Jolissa invests in her staff both within the RA role and beyond. She keeps the staff excited for achieving their best and encourages us to think beyond the RA role to further professional development. Jolissa is a role model and someone that I strive to be like. She is an inspirational leader.”

Finally, being a 3rd year RHC, Jolissa has taken the mantle of being a leader for the RHCs. She plays to her strengths of Includer and Woo as she continues to try and bring the RHCs together to form close relationships and effective teamwork. Some of her colleagues say this: “Jolissa is always there with a smile on her face and the energy to get the room going in a good mood. Her humble personality and positivity for others make her one of the rarest colleagues, one that puts others before herself so that they may succeed. I know that when I am working with Jolissa it will not only be productive, but will be loads of fun for everyone.”

Her former supervisor sums up some of her greatest qualities with this: “Another great quality of Jolissa’s is her great ability to build bridges across campus and throughout the Richmond community. She has a knack for “woo-ing” even the hardest of hearts so that her residential community and department can be successful. Her friendly personality and “can do” attitude has allowed her to build friendships with colleagues in numerous departments and be shoulder-tapped for several campus-wide committees.” I proudly nominate Jolissa Yonker for the KAHO 2018 Outstanding New Professional Award. I hope that the statement and supporting examples have fulfilled your criteria for her nomination.

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KAHO Unbridled Spirit Award Recipient

Congratulations to Marrese Whitsett of University of Kentucky for being honored with the KAHO Unbridled Spirit Award at the 2018 KAHO Annual Conference. The KAHO Unbridled Spirit Awarded is presented to any individual who has demonstrated significant and lasting contribution and service to their institution while embodying an unbridled spirit in service for the betterment of their institution, state, region, or the professional in general. Recipients demonstrate a record of service as a positive change-agent in service to their students, colleagues, and peers.

From the award nomination:

Marrese Whitsett currently serves as the Resident Director of Blazer Hall at the University of Kentucky, where he has worked since July 2016. As a RD, Marrese is a master of his role and has continued to take on increasing responsibilities to better serve our department and students. Marrese began his career at UK in Roselle Hall, a small, suite-style residence hall on the North side of our campus. When Roselle closed to undergraduate students, Marrese moved to Blazer hall, which houses athletes and international students.

When Marrese arrived in Blazer, it was known as the hall with the most conduct and a disjointed staff dynamic. While he knew there would be challenges, Marrese worked to adopt a positive staff mentality and work to create an environment that supported his residents’ individual success. Specifically, Marrese developed a family-style approach to his staff supervision that helped to ensure his staff could rely upon one another. This has helped to enhance the community in the hall as well as their relationships with residents.

In Marrese’s second year, he took on the daunting task of planning Fall RA training for the department. It was clear in every meeting that Marrese was on top of every task associated with Training and wanted to make sure that we could provide a positive experience for our staff. In a time of uncertainty in our department (currently finishing a reorganization), Marrese maintained a consistent presence and ensured that training went off without a hitch. On top of his opening responsibilities, this was a tough ask, but Marrese was an excellent leader and delegator throughout the process.

Marrese has been a constant, professional presence in our department and has mentored many students and staff members through some tough changes. Since being at UK, Marrese has had over four supervisors, and still maintains a positive attitude. Marrese also represented UK at RELI in 2018 and continues to find ways to be involved in SEAHO. I believe he is an excellent candidate for this recognition. He accomplished all of this while the University of Kentucky Office of Residence Life went through a series of changes. The entire leadership team went through a reorganization. Some staff members were moved to other departments, while others endured the stress of reapplying for their jobs. Knowing that our department was short staff and without leadership, Resident Director Marrese Whittset did not hesitate to take on extra responsibilities to support his department.

It is not uncommon, nor is it wrong, when staff become overwhelmed and or frustrated when a department is transitioning and or experiencing hardships. However, Marrese Whittset an RD of 2 years embodied the unbridled spirit that many of us strive to achieve. The spirit to be a team player, a mentor, an aspiring student affairs professional and so much more. Without Marrese and his willingness to take on more, without additional compensation, without being asked to do so, just because he knows it was the right thing to do, our department is so much better for it. Thank you Marrese for all that you do. This department owes you more then we will ever be able to offer you.

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SEAHO #MentorAllYear

The SEAHO Graduate Issues and Involvement Committee is excited to announce the launch of #MentorAllYear! The goal of this initiative is to take #SEAHONext to the next level and connect Graduate Students and Professional not only at the SEAHO Conference but throughout the year!

Are you a #SEAHOGrad that would like to be mentored by an amazing SEAHO Professionals?? Well now is the time to sign up! Follow this link https://goo.gl/forms/fgn6IJ0MDYntpGV32 to be paired with a mentor!

SEAHO Professionals…Are you ready to mentor and support a #SEAHOGrads?? Well please don’t hesitate to sign up to become a mentor! Follow this link https://goo.gl/forms/Mn5qAxYbTaLyQGJo1 to be paired with a mentee!

Not attending #SEAH019? NO WORRIES! The amazing thing about #MentorAllYear is that the SEAHO Graduate Issues and Involvement Committee will assist you with building relationships throughout the year!

The SEAHO Graduate Issues and Involvement Committee will begin sending out Mentor/Mentee pairs starting October 15th! Matches will continue to be made as they are received by the committee! Don’t wait, sign up today!

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Deadlines Extended!

Great news KAHO!

The deadlines to submit nominations and/or interest in KAHO Governing Council positions, KAHO Annual Awards, KAHO Service Awards, KAHO Scholarships, and program proposals for SEAHO 2019 has been extended through this weekend – September 23, 2018.

Information about Governing Council positions can be found here.

Full details about KAHO Annual Awards, Service Awards, and Scholarships can be found here.

Information about program proposals for SEAHO 2019 can be found at https://www.seaho.org/general/custom.asp?page=programsub

And for those still looking for information about KAHO 2018 – October 4-5 hosted at the University of Louisville – can find all that information at https://louisville.edu/housing/guests/kaho

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