Politics Second and final candidate for VP of student affairs makes his case By Rob Casavant Posted on March 10, 2016 6 min read 0 0 458 File photo by Hayley Harding. Jason Pina, the second and final candidate for vice president of student affairs, made his case for the position to a nearly full conference room Wednesday morning at the Living Learning Center. Pina is currently the Vice President for Student Affairs at Bridgewater State University and received his doctorate from Johnson & Wales University. In an open forum, Pina was asked to explain how the Office of Student Affairs should be involved in creating a transformational learning experience for students at Ohio University. Pina set the tone for his presentation by beginning with a quote from Benjamin Mays, a former civil rights activist. “‘It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach,’” he said. He said the office should constantly be setting goals for itself and maintain high expectations for its employees. Pina said he did not shy away from the idea of taking risks. Mentioning several programs he had cut or replaced during his four years at BSU, he made it clear that his interest is in constant improvement and growth, which at times can mean taking risks and making difficult decisions. Pina said the Office of Student Affairs rarely receives credit for the work they do, but he deemed credit unimportant. He said that if credit is sought after by someone, “they might be in the wrong business.” A nine-time marathon runner who participated in the 2013 Boston Marathon, Pina is an advocate for adversity and challenge. Pina broke down his plan to increase transformative learning into three categories: “modeling the way,” “empowering all” and “interrogating the process.” Beginning with modeling the way for students, Pina explained that the position he is applying for is about more than what the job description lists; it’s also about being an involved community member and becoming “part of the process.” Pina continued to suggest that his and other student affairs employees’ have a responsibility to present themselves as upstanding and involved community members. He made it clear that as vice president, he would delegate many responsibilities to other members of the student affairs team. This would be his way of giving those employees responsibility and building their skill sets. Pina recognized that BSU may have hired him for the VPSA position while he was still “slightly unprepared.” He said he grew from it, however, taking advantage of the empowering opportunity and developing his skillsets. Due to this, BSU gained a motivated employee, inspired to do great work. Pina said he would plan to provide his employees with similar empowering experiences that would elevate their work productivity, while taking a similar approach with students. He said he would do his best to give them challenging but beneficial experiences that would allow them to grow and develop. Lastly, Pina spoke of “interrogating the process.” By this he said he means to look extensively at various programs to discover “cutting-edge approaches,” constantly asking how they can improve. “The goal is to create a community where people aren’t afraid to bring (conflict or criticisms) up, even though I may be the vice president,” he said. As a final note, Pina stressed the importance he places on cooperation and togetherness. “This is about not just me, but we and us,” he said. Candidate Ricardo Hall has already held his open forum. David Parrot, Executive Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff at Texas A&M University, has removed himself from consideration for the position. The selected candidate is expected to be announced before the end of the spring semester.