Penn State employees, alumna selected as Donald D. Gehring Academy faculty

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Three Penn State employees and one alumna have been selected to serve as faculty members for the 2022 Donald D. Gehring Academy. The academy’s work shapes the future skill-base, quality, and direction of student conduct.

Penn State Office of Student Conduct employees Meg Brower, Kathleen Shupenko, and J.W. Tabacchi, as well as University alumna Christina Parle, were selected to serve in Gehring Academy roles this year. The academy’s planning team chose respected student conduct and legal professionals to represent the best of the field and the Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA).

Brower will serve as co-facilitator of the academy’s Conduct Boards mini-track. Brower is an assistant director with the Office of Student Conduct at University Park. She works with students through the individual conduct process. She oversees the University conduct hearing process to include member recruitment, training, and conduct board facilitation. Brower serves on committees both within and outside of Student Affairs, including the bias response committee. Brower earned her bachelor’s degree in administration of justice at Penn State and her master’s degree in management from the University of Mary in North Dakota. She began her professional career as a probation/parole officer, focusing on supervisee rehabilitation and accountability. She later worked at the Smeal College of Business for several years and held various student-focused roles. There she had the opportunity to serve in an adjunct capacity, teaching first-year undergraduate seminars. During that time, she volunteered with the Office of Student Conduct as an administrative hearing officer, student adviser and Title IX panel member before ultimately transitioning into her current role.

Shupenko will present as a faculty member for the Academy’s Student Organization Conduct track. She currently serves as an associate director for the Office of Student Conduct at University Park. She earned her master’s degree in education from Penn State in 2005 and has spent the subsequent 17 years working at the University. She has helped to develop the University’s student organizational conduct process, which is applicable to all Penn State Commonwealth Campuses. Since helping to establish the University’s new organizational conduct model in 2017, she has led the investigative team for the respective conduct process. In 2018 and 2019, Kathleen served as a faculty member in the Academy’s Organizational Misconduct track. In 2020, she co-developed and co-taught the Student Organization Conduct Institute on behalf of ASCA. Also in 2020, she co-authored the chapter “Student Organizations Through the Student Conduct Lens” in the second edition of "Student Conduct Practice: The Complete Guide for Student Affairs Professionals."

Tabacchi will work as a co-facilitator for the academy’s Threat Assessment mini-track. He has worked in the field of student affairs for 13 years at both public and private colleges. He currently works at Penn State New Kensington as the director of student affairs. In this role, he oversees the student affairs department, which consists of career services, counseling services, health services, international student services, student life, and transportation services. He also oversees the CARE team, behavior threat management team process, student conduct processes, and Title IX. Prior to joining Penn State, J.W. served in various roles at Point Park University, including director of student activities, director of student conduct, director of student development and assistant dean of student affairs. He also served as an interim director for the offices of orientation, career development and Title IX. At both institutions, he led assessment, retention, and strategic planning efforts. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Valley Forge, a master’s degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and his doctorate in education from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to his ASCA membership, he is currently the president-elect of the American College Personnel Association's Foundation.

Parle will serve as track coordinator for the academy’s Student Organization Misconduct track. Parle is an equity, inclusion, and diversity (EID) educator and consultant who educates others and fosters dialogue related to foundational EID concepts. Much of Parle’s work is rooted in unlearning, conflict resolution, and effective communication skills. She recently served as the director of chapter services and conduct for Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, Inc. Previously, Parle was the assistant director of student conduct and community standards at the University of Kansas (KU), also working as the student housing liaison. She transitioned to focus on student organization misconduct. Before KU, Parle was a fraternity and sorority advisor at Western Carolina University where she advised the panhellenic, interfraternity, and National Pan-Hellenic Councils. Parle earned her bachelor’s in criminal justice and political science at the University of Central Missouri. Parle earned her master’s in higher education with an emphasis in student affairs at Penn State. While at Penn State, she was a graduate assistant at the Office of Student Conduct and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and had an internship at the Paul Robeson Cultural Center. She recently received a Young Alumni Award from the Penn State Alumni Association.

Those interested may register for the Virtual 2022 ASCA Gehring Academy, which will be held online from July 18 to 22. This year's tracks will include Advanced Restorative Justice, Directors/Senior Conduct Officers, Equitable & Inclusive Practices, Foundations of Professional Practice, Mid-Level/Aspiring Directors, Organizational Conduct, and Restorative Justice.