Ohio University

HRL Foundation Supports Professional Development Opportunity for Graduate Student

Michael Brannigan
Graduate Resident Director Michael Brannigan

“When I first started work as a hall director, addressing student conduct intimidated me. At the time, I thought the process was more of a punishment than an educational opportunity for students,” shared OHIO Graduate Resident Director Michael Brannigan. However, with experience, addressing conduct of residence hall students became a passion for Brannigan, seeing it not only as an occasion to enforce policy but to show care for students. “The best relationships I have had with students began in the context of a conduct conversation. Some people think it is ancillary to a hall director position but I think it is essential to what we do,” said Brannigan.

Interested in furthering his experience and passion for student conduct, Brannigan, a second-year graduate student in OHIO’s College Student Personnel program, applied for and was awarded the Bracewell Assistantship through the Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA). Through this competitive assistantship, Brannigan received admission to the national ASCA conference held in Jacksonville, Florida, and attended by over 800 student conduct professionals. Lodging, meals, and extensive professional development opportunities were provided through the assistantship, while the Housing and Residence Life Foundation covered the cost of Brannigan’s travel to the conference.

Working hand-in-hand with ASCA leadership, Brannigan finalized event details, coordinated sessions, managed event social media, prepared spaces for presenters, and served as a point-person for logistics during the conference. “This experience stretched me. I usually prefer to take things in more passively, but my active role on the conference committee forced me out of my comfort zone and helped me take advantage of so many more opportunities that the conference had to offer,” shared Brannigan.

The conference also offered opportunity for Brannigan to network with former co-workers, OHIO alumni and potential employers.

Housing and Residence Life (HRL) Executive Director Pete Trentacoste is pleased that the donations from alumni and friends to the HRL Foundation, established in 1972, have been utilized in meaningful ways. “Professional development opportunities, like the one Michael had through the ASCA conference, can help define a young professional’s career trajectory after graduating from OHIO,” said Trentacoste.

While reflecting on the ASCA conference, Brannigan shared that a significant benefit of the experience were the relationships he built, both with his peers and with mentors, finding solidarity with those who shared his passion for student conduct. “I look forward to exploring these relationships more, and growing this type of work in the field of student affairs,” said Brannigan.

This professional development opportunity was partially sponsored by the generous gifts of those who donate to the Housing and Residence Life Foundation. To learn more about the foundation or to contribute, visit OHIO Make a Gift.