Robert Britton Katz to serve as SU’s Interim Vice President for Student Life
Robert Britton Katz will bring more than 35 years of higher education experience when he joins Southwestern University as Interim Vice President for Student Life effective October 4, 2022
September 14, 2022
September 14, 2022
Katz comes to SU from the University of South Carolina–Upstate, where he has served as interim vice chancellor of student affairs and dean of students since 2020. He oversaw a staff of 50 and a diverse portfolio that included Counseling Services, Esports, Health Services, Recreation and Intramurals, Aquatics, Fitness, Intercultural Education and Engagement, Accessibility Services, Student Retention Initiatives, Health and Wellness, Alcohol and Drug Compliance, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Student Activities, Student Government, Student Conduct, Behavioral Intervention, Title IX/Sexual Misconduct Adjudication, Leadership Development and Certification, and Community Service. During his time at USC-Upstate, he led, developed, and implemented a division strategic plan; created the first undergraduate hall of fame, “The Upstate 7,” to celebrate the most outstanding graduating students, and conceived and created a leadership certificate and leadership class in partnership with the Division of Academic Affairs.
Previously he served 16 years at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was vice-president and senior dean for student life and assistant professor of education. He served on the President’s Budget and Planning Committee, President’s Cabinet, College Reaffirmation Leadership Team, College Strategic Planning Team, and Enrollment Management Team. Katz partnered with the Else School of Management to propose a Sport Management concentration; the Division of Enrollment Management to propose an E-Sports Team; the Office of International Education to create an “International Perspectives” living-learning community; and the 1 Campus 1 Community Office to create the “WellSpring” living-learning community for civic engagement. He also conceived and established the African-American Student Advisory Circle, the DiverCity Council, SAFE Space, Diwali: Hindu Festival of Lights, International Student Dinner with the Deans, African and African-American Dinner Celebration, the first Discriminatory Harassment policy, the first inclusion statements for gender identity and gender expression amongst Mississippi colleges and universities, and the International Student Organization to advance retention and persistence of international students. Katz was instrumental in creating a number of “firsts” at Millsaps, including the first undergraduate Hall of Fame at the College for exceptional graduating seniors, the first student leadership award bestowed at annual Commencement exercises and the first Senior Year Experience and its component programs, including the revitalization of a Senior Class Gift to the college. He also reorganized the Division of Student Life and its member departments, conducting 4 strategic plans in 16 years, including the establishment of a summer conferences and camps operation that generated record gross revenues by 2011. Three new residence halls were also constructed and opened during his tenure at Millsaps.
Katz is the recipient of numerous professional awards including the 2022 John Jones Award for the Most Outstanding Performance by a Chief Student Affairs Officer, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators-Region III and the 2020 Tom Davis Cup for the year’s exceptional support for the student body, Student Government Association at the University of South Carolina-Upstate, and the 2013 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, LGBT Issues Award-Service to Student Affairs.
He received his Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Mississippi, and received a Master of Education degree and a Bachelor of Arts in political science degree from Mississippi State University.