Spotlight On: Chris Catching
Galloway, N.J. — Chris Catching, vice president for Student Affairs at Stockton, was recently named a Diamond Honoree by the American College Personnel Association - College Student Educators International (ACPA). He and fellow Diamond Honorees were honored at the March 2023 ACPA Annual Convention in New Orleans. Catching, who has been an Osprey for five years, sat down to discuss the award and its significance.
Can you describe what being selected as a Diamond Honoree means and why you were chosen?
The ACPA-College Student Educators International, founded in 1924, is one of the largest and oldest higher education professional associations in the country. The ACPA Foundation established the Diamond Honoree Program in 1999 to provide recognition of colleagues who have made outstanding contributions to ACPA, student affairs and services, and higher education, and an opportunity to raise funds for future work and scholarships to support college student success. Awardees may be former leaders of the profession, supervisors, teachers or anyone who has had a continued and significant influence on the quality of college students’ experience. I was nominated for consideration in recognition of my outstanding and sustained contributions to higher education and the field of college student affairs during the last 20-plus years.
How does this relate to the work you do here at Stockton?
Being recognized as a Diamond Honoree is a special recognition for me individually, but it also would not have been possible without the opportunity to serve and lead at the highest level of the Student Affairs profession as the vice president for Student Affairs at Stockton for the past five years and to learn and collaborate with a fantastic community of educators and leaders to enhance the lives of students and the educators who support them.
How did you feel when you learned you were an honoree?
I was honored and humbled by the recognition. Having started my career nearly 25 years ago and serving the student affairs profession in ACPA for a number of years, the award reminded me of the impact that mentors and others who have invested in my success have had on my career and the opportunity that I have had to serve students and support their success.
The most rewarding aspect of being a college student educator is that I have the privilege of potentially transforming the lives of individuals, families and communities by facilitating students’ access to a college education and their successful graduation.
Was there something/s specific at the conference you attended that you feel can benefit your role at Stockton?
I attended my first ACPA Annual Convention in 2003 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Attending the conference has always been beneficial. It is a time of reconnection with colleagues around the country who are dedicated to serving students. It is also a time of renewal and reflection on how to lead and learn from others doing this important work. That annual connection helps me stay grounded and inspired as I lead our Division of Student Affairs at Stockton.
As your career and position have evolved at Stockton, is there one thing you find the most rewarding? Most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect of being a college student educator is that I have the privilege of potentially transforming the lives of individuals, families and communities by facilitating students’ access to a college education and their successful graduation. The most challenging aspect of our work is promoting students’ success while contending with social, political and economic forces that have and continue to impact higher education. But the challenges are more than worth it.
What are you most excited about looking ahead?
I am most excited about the future of higher education and the enhanced experience that we provide for students as we move further away from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why is being part of organizations like ACPA so important, in your opinion?
Being a member of ACPA and professional organizations, in general, are important because they help to create a sense of belonging and mentoring within the profession and provide the opportunity to learn and give back to your field.
Reported by Mandee McCullough
Photo submitted by Chris Catching