The Ohio College Personnel Association recently recognized Ohio State by awarding the Student Life Wellness Coaching Program the Innovative Program Award and Adan Hussain, the program coordinator of Open Doors and the Bias Assessment and Response Team in the Office of Student Life’s Multicultural Center, the Mark G. Noffsinger New Professional Award.
The OCPA’s vision includes “a diverse, connected and energized network of higher education professionals” who seek to collaborate to meet the needs of university students and their schools in the state of Ohio, according to the OCPA website. The organization offers annual awards that recognize people and groups who are innovative and have an impact on students.
Awards were presented in mid-January during an annual conference in Worthington, Ohio, according the OCPA website.
Todd Gibbs, the Student Wellness Coaching program manager who accepted the Innovative Program Award, spoke about the program.
“Wellness coaching is one of the newer services at the university … What we look to do is provide services for the entire student population from the perspective of wellness and positive psychology,” Gibbs said. “We are really looking at what is going right for students, what their strengths are…and the point is that you can figure out how to navigate the challenges or transitions that you are facing right now.”
Gibbs said that wellness coaching is currently expanding.
“We are doing this now as a group initiative. We work with existing student groups on campus,” he said. “We will come in for three to five sessions and kind of equip every student with this coaching skill set so that students can be the ones who support each other. We talk about how do we create a culture of care, or community of caring, on our campus.”
The program uses students as wellness counselors to promote mental health and focus on individualized, intentional conversations, Gibbs said. The initiative of positive psychology and building students’ capacity for taking control of their own lives and decisions has been noticed by other institutions.
“We have had about 60 schools who have followed up with us about what we are doing and how they might be able to do it. We hope that what we are doing is part of a national movement to provide this kind of service to students,” Gibbs said.
An OSU staff member also was recognized for his work to prevent campus bias. This marks the second year in a row a Student Life staff member has won this award.
Adan Hussain was given the Mark G. Noffsinger New Professional Award for his involvement in reducing bias and fostering a more inclusive campus.
“On the Bias Assessment and Response Team side, we track and get reports on incidents of bias. BART is primarily a resource for folks,” Hussain said.
He said Open Doors provides students with training that identifies what bias is and what can be done about it, and BART offers students the ability to report incidents of bias as they occur.
Hussain said winning the award was shocking and humbling.
“I just hadn’t expected it. The humbling came from noticing that my work is being valued and showcased … I’m doing what I guess we are supposed to be doing. I never imagined receiving an award for it,” Hussain said.