CAST Recognized as Runner-Up for NASPA Award

Published: January 16, 2020 | Author: Kierstin Pitcher-Holloway | Read Time: 2 minutes

Care and Support Team Southern Utah University’s Care and Support Team has been selected by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) as the second-place recipient of the 2020 SAPAA KC Promising Practices Award.

“This award provides significant external validation that SUU's faculty and staff are actively contributing to a caring environment in an organized way for our students,” said Dr. Johnny MacLean, assistant provost for faculty affairs. "As the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) is increasing its focus on our students' mental health, we're hopeful that CAST will be seen as a successful model for other Utah institutions to emulate.”

The Promising Practices award recognizes programs in areas where student affairs and academic affairs are collaborating, practices that are bridging the gap between academics and co-curricular aspects of a student’s experience. They advocate for the integrated use of all higher education resources in both the education and support of the student.  

At SUU, the Care and Support Team (CAST) is a group of trained faculty and staff who strive to support students who may be struggling with emotional distress and mental health issues. CAST promotes student resiliency by providing a visible network of support on campus for students as they navigate the challenges of life and being a college student. 

“The time and dedication demonstrated by CAST members in supporting our diverse students is a clear statement of their commitment to making SUU a better place for everyone,” said Jayci Hacker, Honors Program director at SUU. “This is a valuable volunteer effort that is unique within higher education and can serve as a model for other institutions as they investigate ways to address the mental health needs of their communities.”

As SUU continues to focus on student wellbeing, faculty and staff are offered frequent trainings to extend their ability to support students. Topics range from listening and helping skills to student development and decision making. 

“For the last five years, CAST has been offering the types of professional development opportunities related to mental health that USHE might mandate across the state,” said MacLean. “We're happy to have a head start, and we're looking forward to continuing these efforts as SUU addresses our students' needs.”  

As one of the largest national organizations for student affairs professionals, NASPA supports 1,200 institutions across the world and a network of 15,000 professionals who share a passion for courageous practice, championing innovative programs and services, and centering students in evolution of higher education. This award is sponsored by the Student Affairs Partnering with Academic Affairs (SAPAA) Knowledge Community (KC) within NASPA.

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