Resource Released for Conducting External Review of TRIO and Other Educational Opportunity Programs

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) is pleased to announce the release of a new resource on using the CAS standards when conducting an external review of TRIO and Other Educational Opportunity Programs. This resource was written by Wallace Southerland III, Ph.D., Associate Vice President of Student Affairs at Salisbury University.
CAS, a consortium composed of over 40 collaborating professional associations representing over 115,000 professionals in higher education, has developed standards for 47 functional areas and 3 cross-functional teams, and rooted them in the scholarship and work conducted within their respective fields. Standards delineate expectations for practitioners and educators in related functional areas, and are published in the 2019 CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education (10th ed), with subsequent updates released online.

In this White Paper on using CAS standards for external review of TRIO programs, Southerland shares lessons and tools from experience having recently chaired an external review team that examined an institution's application of CAS functional area standards for TRIO Upward Bound and TRIO Student Support Services programs. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for conducting an external review for TRIO and similar types of educational opportunity programs.

CAS Past-President Gavin Henning commented on how Dr. Southerland's reflections illuminate the versatility of the standards: “In addition to using the CAS functional area standards for internal program reviews, some departments choose to also use an external review process. In this resource paper, Dr. Southerland reflects on his experience leading in an external review for TRIO and Other Educational Opportunity Programs. While the review was for a specific functional area, Dr. Southerland's reflections are applicable to both internal and external reviews of other functional areas.”

CAS is pleased to release this resource to assist practitioners in implementing external review for TRIO and Other Educational Opportunity Programs.

This new resource is now available at:

Please direct all questions and inquiries to the CAS Executive Director (