CAS General Standards
Download the CAS General Standards 2012.
Part 1. MISSION
Programs and services must develop, disseminate, implement, and regularly review their missions. The mission must be consistent with the mission of the institution and with professional standards. The mission must be appropriate for the institution’s student populations and community settings. Mission statements must reference student learning and development.
Part 2. PROGRAM
The formal education of students, consisting of the curriculum and the co-curriculum, must promote student learning and development outcomes that are purposeful, contribute to students’ realization of their potential, and prepare students for satisfying and productive lives.
Programs and services must collaborate with colleagues and departments across the institution to promote student learning and development, persistence, and success.
Consistent with the institutional mission, programs and services must identify relevant and desirable student learning and development outcomes from among the six domains and related dimensions:
- Domain: knowledge acquisition, integration, construction, and application
- Dimensions: understanding knowledge from a range of disciplines; connecting knowledge to other knowledge, ideas, and experiences; constructing knowledge; and relating knowledge to daily life
- Domain: cognitive complexity
- Dimensions: critical thinking; reflective thinking; effective reasoning; and creativity
- Domain: intrapersonal development
- Dimensions: realistic self-appraisal, self-understanding, and self-respect; identity development; commitment to ethics and integrity; and spiritual awareness
- Domain: interpersonal competence
- Dimensions: meaningful relationships; interdependence; collaboration; and effective leadership
- Domain: humanitarianism and civic engagement
- Dimensions: understanding and appreciation of cultural and human differences; social responsibility; global perspective; and sense of civic responsibility
- Domain: practical competence
- Dimensions: pursuing goals; communicating effectively; technical competence; managing personal affairs; managing career development; demonstrating professionalism; maintaining health and wellness; and living a purposeful and satisfying life
[LD Outcomes: See The Council for the Advancement of Standards Learning and Developmental Outcomes statement for examples of outcomes related to these domains and dimensions.]
Programs and services must
- assess relevant and desirable student learning and development
- provide evidence of impact on outcomes
- articulate contributions to or support of student learning and development in the domains not specifically assessed
- articulate contributions to or support of student persistence and success
- use evidence gathered through this process to create strategies for improvement of programs and services
Programs and services must be
- intentionally designed
- guided by theories and knowledge of learning and development
- integrated into the life of the institution
- reflective of developmental and demographic profiles of the student population
- responsive to needs of individuals, populations with distinct needs, and relevant constituencies
- delivered using multiple formats, strategies, and contexts
Where institutions provide distance education, programs and services must assist distance learners to achieve their educational goals by providing access to information about programs and services, to staff members who can address questions and concerns, and to counseling, advising, or other forms of assistance.
Part 3. ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP
To achieve student and program outcomes, programs and services must be structured purposefully and organized effectively. Programs and services must have
- clearly stated goals
- current and accessible policies and procedures
- written performance expectations for employees
- functional work flow graphics or organizational charts demonstrating clear channels of authority
Leaders with organizational authority for the programs and services must provide strategic planning, supervision, and management; advance the organization; and maintain integrity through the following functions:
- articulate a vision and mission that drive short- and long-term planning
- set goals and objectives based on the needs of the population served and desired student learning or development and program outcomes
- facilitate continuous development, implementation, and assessment of goal attainment congruent with institutional mission and strategic plans
- promote environments that provide meaningful opportunities for student learning, development, and engagement
- develop and continuously improve programs and services in response to the changing needs of students served and evolving institutional priorities
- intentionally include diverse perspectives to inform decision making
- manage human resource processes including recruitment, selection, development, supervision, performance planning, evaluation, recognition, and reward
- influence others to contribute to the effectiveness and success of the unit
- empower professional, support, and student staff to accept leadership opportunities
- offer appropriate feedback to colleagues and students on skills needed to become more effective leaders
- encourage and support professional development, collaboration with colleagues and departments across the institution, and scholarly contribution to the profession
- identify and address individual, organizational, and environmental conditions that foster or inhibit mission achievement
- plan, allocate, and monitor the use of fiscal, physical, human, intellectual, and technological resources
- use current and valid evidence to inform decisions
- incorporate sustainability practices in the management and design of programs, services, and facilities
- understand appropriate technologies and integrate them into programs and services
- be knowledgeable about codes and laws relevant to programs and services and ensure that staff members understand their responsibilities through appropriate training
- assess potential risks and take action to mitigate them
Advancing the Organization
- communicate effectively in writing, speaking, and electronic venues
- advocate for programs and services
- advocate for representation in strategic planning initiatives at appropriate divisional and institutional levels
- initiate collaborative interactions with internal and external stakeholders who have legitimate concerns about and interests in the functional area
- facilitate processes to reach consensus where wide support is needed
- inform other areas within the institution about issues affecting practice
- model ethical behavior and institutional citizenship
- share data used to inform key decisions in transparent and accessible ways
- monitor media used for distributing information about programs and services to ensure the content is current, accurate, appropriately referenced, and accessible
Part 4. HUMAN RESOURCES
Programs and services must be staffed adequately by individuals qualified to accomplish mission and goals.
Within institutional guidelines, programs and services must
- establish procedures for staff recruitment and selection, training, performance planning, and evaluation
- set expectations for supervision and performance
- assess the performance of employees individually and as a team
- provide access to continuing and advanced education and appropriate professional development opportunities to improve the leadership ability, competence, and skills of all employees.
Programs and services must maintain position descriptions for all staff members.
To create a diverse staff, programs and services must institute recruitment and hiring strategies that encourage individuals from under-represented populations to apply for positions. Programs and services must develop promotion practices that are fair, inclusive, proactive, and non-discriminatory.
To further the recruitment and retention of staff, programs and services must consider work life initiatives, such as compressed work schedules, flextime, job sharing, remote work, or telework.
Professional staff members must hold an earned graduate or professional degree in a field relevant to the position they hold or must possess an appropriate combination of educational credentials and related work experience.
Professional staff members must engage in continuing professional development activities to keep abreast of the research, theories, legislation, policies, and developments that affect their programs and services.
Programs and services must have technical and support staff members adequate to accomplish their mission. All members of the staff must be technologically proficient and qualified to perform their job functions, be knowledgeable about ethical and legal uses of technology, and have access to training and resources to support the performance of their assigned responsibilities.
Degree- or credential-seeking interns or graduate assistants must be qualified by enrollment in an appropriate field of study and by relevant experience. These individuals must be trained and supervised adequately by professional staff members holding educational credentials and related work experience appropriate for supervision. Supervisors must be cognizant of the roles of interns and graduate assistants as both student and employee and closely adhere to all parameters of their job descriptions, work hours, and schedules. Supervisors and the interns or graduate assistants must agree to compensatory time or other appropriate compensation if circumstances necessitate additional hours.
Student employees and volunteers must be carefully selected, trained, supervised, and evaluated. They must be educated on how and when to refer those in need of additional assistance to qualified staff members and must have access to a supervisor for assistance in making these judgments. Student employees and volunteers must be provided clear job descriptions, pre-service training based on assessed needs, and continuing development.
All staff members, including student employees and volunteers, must receive specific training on institutional policies pertaining to functions or activities they support and to privacy and confidentiality policies and laws regarding access to student records and other sensitive institutional information.
All staff members must receive training on policies and procedures related to the use of technology to store or access student records and institutional data.
Programs and services must ensure that staff members are knowledgeable about and trained in emergency procedures, crisis response, and prevention efforts. Prevention efforts must address identification of threatening conduct or behavior of students, faculty and staff members, and others and must incorporate a system for responding and reporting.
Programs and services must ensure that staff members are knowledgeable of and trained in safety and emergency procedures for securing and vacating facilities.
Part 5. ETHICS
Programs and services must review relevant professional ethical standards and must adopt or develop and implement appropriate statements of ethical practice.
Programs and services must publish and adhere to statements of ethical practice and ensure their periodic review by relevant constituencies.
Programs and services must orient new staff members to relevant ethical standards and statements of ethical practice and related institutional policies.
Statements of ethical standards must specify that staff members respect privacy and maintain confidentiality in all communications and records to the extent that such communications and records are protected under relevant privacy laws.
Statements of ethical standards must specify limits on disclosure of information contained in students’ educational records as well as requirements to disclose to appropriate authorities.
Statements of ethical standards must address personal and economic conflicts of interest, or appearance thereof, by staff members in the performance of their work.
Statements of ethical standards must reflect the responsibility of staff members to be fair, objective, and impartial in their interactions with others.
Statements of ethical standards must reference management of institutional funds.
Statements of ethical standards must reference appropriate behavior regarding research and assessment with human participants, confidentiality of research and assessment data, and students’ rights and responsibilities.
Statements of ethical standards must include the expectation that staff members confront and hold accountable other staff members who exhibit unethical behavior.
Statements of ethical standards must address issues surrounding scholarly integrity.
As appropriate, staff members must inform users of programs and services of ethical obligations and limitations emanating from codes and laws or from licensure requirements.
Staff members must recognize and avoid conflicts of interest that could adversely influence their judgment or objectivity and, when unavoidable, recuse themselves from the situation.
Staff members must perform their duties within the limits of their position, training, expertise, and competence.
When these limits are exceeded, individuals in need of further assistance must be referred to persons possessing appropriate qualifications.
Promotional and descriptive information must be accurate and free of deception.
Programs and services must adhere to institutional policies regarding ethical and legal use of software and technology.
Part 6. LAW, POLICY AND GOVERNANCE
Programs and services must be in compliance with laws, regulations, and policies that relate to their respective responsibilities and that pose legal obligations, limitations, risks, and liabilities for the institution as a whole. Examples include constitutional, statutory, regulatory, and case law; relevant law and orders emanating from codes and laws; and the institution’s policies.
Programs and services must inform staff members, appropriate officials, and users of programs and services about existing and changing legal obligations, risks and liabilities, and limitations.
Programs and services must have written policies on all relevant operations, transactions, or tasks that have legal implications.
Programs and services must regularly review policies. The revision and creation of policies must be informed by best practices, available evidence, and policy issues in higher education.
Staff members must use reasonable and informed practices to limit the liability exposure of the institution and its officers, employees, and agents. Staff members must be informed about institutional policies regarding risk management, personal liability, and related insurance coverage options and must be referred to external sources if the institution does not provide coverage.
The institution must provide access to legal advice for staff members as needed to carry out assigned responsibilities.
Programs and services must have procedures and guidelines consistent with institutional policy for responding to threats, emergencies, and crisis situations. Systems and procedures must be in place to disseminate timely and accurate information to students, other members of the institutional community, and appropriate external organizations during emergency situations.
Staff members must neither participate in nor condone any form of harassment or activity that demeans persons or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Programs and services must obtain permission to use copyrighted materials and instruments. Programs and services must purchase the materials and instruments from legally compliant sources or seek alternative permission from the publisher or owner. References to copyrighted materials and instruments must include appropriate citations.
Staff members must be knowledgeable about internal and external governance systems that affect programs and services.
Part 7. DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND ACCESS
Within the context of each institution’s unique mission and in accordance with institutional polices and all applicable codes and laws, programs and services must create and maintain educational and work environments that are
- welcoming, accessible, and inclusive to persons of diverse backgrounds
- equitable and non-discriminatory
- free from harassment
Programs and services must not discriminate on the basis of ability; age; cultural identity; ethnicity; family educational history (e.g., first generation to attend college); gender identity and expression; nationality; political affiliation; race; religious affiliation; sex; sexual orientation; economic, marital, social, or veteran status; or any other basis included in institutional policies and codes and laws. Programs and services must
- advocate for greater sensitivity to multicultural and social justice concerns by the institution and its personnel
- modify or remove policies, practices, facilities, structures, systems, and technologies that limit access, discriminate, or produce inequities
- include diversity, equity, and access initiatives within their strategic plans
- foster communication that deepens understanding of identity, culture, self-expression, and heritage
- promote respect about commonalities and differences among people within their historical and cultural contexts
- address the characteristics and needs of a diverse population when establishing and implementing culturally relevant and inclusive programs, services, policies, procedures, and practices
- provide staff members with access to multicultural training and hold staff members accountable for integrating the training into their work
- respond to the needs of all students and other populations served when establishing hours of operation and developing methods of delivering programs, services, and resources
- ensure physical, program, and resource access for persons with disabilities
- recognize the needs of distance learning students by providing appropriate and accessible services and resources or by assisting them in gaining access to other appropriate services and resources in their geographic region
Part 8. INSTITUTIONAL AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS
Programs and services must reach out to relevant individuals, groups, communities, and organizations internal and external to the institution to
- establish, maintain, and promote understanding and effective relations with those that have a significant interest in or potential effect on the students or other constituents served by the programs and services
- garner support and resources for programs and services as defined by the mission statement
- disseminate information about the programs and services
- collaborate, where appropriate, to assist in offering or improving programs and services to meet the needs of students and other constituents and to achieve program and student outcomes
- engage diverse individuals, groups, communities, and organizations to enrich the educational environment and experiences of students and other constituents
Programs and services must have procedures and guidelines consistent with institutional policy for
- communicating with the media
- contracting with external organizations for delivery of programs and services
- cultivating, soliciting, and managing gifts
- applying to and managing funds from grants
Part 9. FINANCIAL RESOURCES
Programs and services must have funding to accomplish the mission and goals. In establishing funding priorities and making significant changes, a comprehensive analysis must be conducted to determine the following elements: unmet needs of the unit, relevant expenditures, external and internal resources, and impact on students and the institution.
Programs and services must demonstrate efficient and effective use and responsible stewardship of fiscal resources consistent with institutional protocols.
Part 10. TECHNOLOGY
Programs and services must have adequate technology to support the achievement of their mission and goals. The technology and its use must comply with institutional policies and procedures and be evaluated for compliance with relevant codes and laws.
Programs and services must use current technology to provide updated information regarding mission, location, staffing, programs, services, and official contacts to students and designated clients.
Programs and services must explore the use of technology to enhance delivery of programs and services, especially for students at a distance or external constituencies.
When technology is used to facilitate student learning and development, programs and services must select technology that reflects intended outcomes. Programs and services must
- maintain policies and procedures that address the security, confidentiality, and backup of data, as well as compliance with privacy laws
- have clearly articulated plans in place for protecting confidentiality and security of information when using Internet-based technologies
- develop plans for replacing and updating existing hardware and software as well as plans for integrating new technically-based or supported programs, including systems developed internally by the institution, systems available through professional associations, or private vendor-based systems
Technology, as well as workstations or computer labs maintained by programs and services for student use, must be accessible to all designated clients and must meet established technology standards for delivery to persons with disabilities.
When providing student access to technology, programs and services must
- have policies on the use of technology that are clear, easy to understand, and available to all students
- provide assistance, information, or referral to appropriate support services to those needing help accessing or using technology
- provide instruction or training on how to use the technology
- inform students on the legal and ethical implications of misuse as it pertains to intellectual property, harassment, privacy, and social networks
Student violations of technology policies must follow established institutional student disciplinary procedures. Students who experience negative emotional or psychological consequences from the use of technology must be referred to support services provided by the institution.
Part 11. FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
Programs and services must have adequate, accessible, and suitably located facilities and equipment to support the mission and goals. If acquiring capital equipment as defined by the institution, programs and services must take into account expenses related to regular maintenance and life cycle costs. Facilities and equipment must be evaluated on an established cycle, including consideration of sustainability, and be in compliance with codes and laws to provide for access, health, safety, and security.
Staff members must have workspace that is well equipped, adequate in size, and designed to support their work and responsibilities. For conversations requiring privacy, staff members must have access to a private space.
Staff members who share workspace must be able to secure their own work.
The design of the facilities must guarantee the security and privacy of records and ensure the confidentiality of sensitive information.
The location and layout of the facilities must be sensitive to the needs of persons with disabilities as well as the needs of other constituencies.
Part 12. ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION
Programs and services must have a clearly articulated assessment plan to document achievement of stated goals and learning outcomes, demonstrate accountability, provide evidence of improvement, and describe resulting changes in programs and services.
Programs and services must have adequate fiscal, human, professional development, and technological resources to develop and implement assessment plans.
Assessments must include direct and indirect evaluation and use qualitative and quantitative methodologies and existing evidence, as appropriate, to determine whether and to what degree the stated mission, goals, and intended outcomes are being met as effectively and efficiently as possible. The process must employ sufficient and sound measures to ensure comprehensiveness. Data collected must include responses from students and other constituencies, and aggregated results must be shared with those groups. Results of assessments must be shared appropriately with multiple constituents.
Results of assessments and evaluations must be used to identify needs and interests in revising and improving programs and services, recognizing staff performance, maximizing resource efficiency and effectiveness, improving student achievement of learning and development outcomes, and improving student persistence and success. Changes resulting from the use of assessments and evaluation must be shared with stakeholders.
Revision approved November 2011