CAS was founded to implement several profession-wide initiatives, with emphasis on the development and promulgation of professional standards. As CAS evolved, its raison d’etre shifted as well. The following reflects the contemporary CAS mission.
The mission of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) is to promote the improvement of programs and services to enhance the quality of student learning and development. CAS is a consortium of professional associations who work collaboratively to develop and promulgate standards and guidelines and to encourage self-assessment (CAS, 2008).
The purposes of CAS are outlined below:
- To establish, adopt, and disseminate unified and timely professional standards to guide student learning and develop support programs and services and related higher education initiatives.
- To promote the assessment and improvement of higher education services and programs through self-study, evaluation, and the use of CAS standards.
- To establish, adopt, and disseminate unified and timely professional preparation standards for the education of student affairs practitioners.
- To promote the assessment and improvement of professional preparation graduate programs for student affairs administrators through the use of CAS standards for assessment, evaluation, and self-study purposes.
- To advance the use and importance of professional standards among practitioners and educators in higher education.
- To develop and provide materials to assist and support practitioners and educators in the use of professional standards in higher education.
- To promote and encourage public and private higher education systems and institutions to focus attention on the assurance of quality in all educational endeavors.
- To promote inter-association efforts to address the issues of quality assurance, student learning and development, and professional integrity in higher education.
As these purposes imply, CAS exists to accomplish several complementary tasks. A primary purpose is to provide a forum in which representatives from higher education organizations can meet and interact for purposes of seeking consensus on the fundamental principles of “best practices” that can lead to enhanced professional standards. The CAS initiative provides a forum wherein all voices can be heard in the creation of timely and useful standards to guide contemporary practice. This approach encourages the establishment of viable linkages among professional associations, most of which focus on highly specialized functions. This professional collaboration results in the creation of standards that represent a profession-wide perspective rather than a narrow and limited viewpoint.
Not only does the CAS initiative provide a vehicle for the development of functional area and academic preparation standards, but it also provides a well recognized and credible profession-wide entity to publish and promulgate standards and related materials and to encourage and educate practitioners to apply the standards effectively in their work with students. Further, and of special significance, the CAS consortium speaks with a single voice that bridges numerous specialty areas and can represent the profession-at-large on matters concerning professional standards and quality assurance.