Characteristics of Individual Excellence

Evaluating individual professional practice in higher education requires the identification of ideal performance characteristics that describe excellence in professional practice. This document, developed in 2006, has evolved from multi-faceted professional competencies that are inherent in the purpose, development, and application of the CAS Standards and Guidelines. It assumes a philosophy and practice of life-long learning and professional development shared by individual practitioners and their institutions. Characteristics are grouped into General Knowledge and Skills, Interactive Competencies, and Self Mastery.

General Knowledge and Skills
General Knowledge
  1. Understands and supports the broad responsibility of the institution for enhancing the collegiate experience for all students
  2. Possesses appropriate knowledge of relevant theories, literature, and philosophies on which to base informed professional practice
  3. Knows values, historical context, and current issues of one’s profession
  4. Has developed, can articulate, and acts consistently with a sound educational philosophy consistent with the institution’s mission
  5. Understands and respects similarities and differences of people in the institutional environment
  6. Understands relevant legal issues

General Skills
  1. Manages and influences campus environments that promote student success
  2. Works to create campus and related educational environments that are safe and secure
  3. Effectively utilizes language through speaking, writing, and other means of communication
  4. Engages disparate audiences effectively
  5. Teaches effectively directly or through example
  6. Thinks critically about complex issues
  7. Works collaboratively
  8. Is trustworthy and maintains confidentiality
  9. Exercises responsible stewardship of resources
  10. Engages in evaluation and assessment to determine outcomes and identify areas for improvement
  11. Uses technology effectively for educational and institutional purposes
  12. Bases decisions on appropriate data
  13. Models effective leadership

Interactive Competencies
With students:
  1. Counsels, advises, supervises, and leads individuals and groups effectively
  2. Knows the developmental effects of college on students
  3. Knows characteristics of students attending institutions of higher education
  4. Knows students who attend the institution, use services, and participants in programs
  5. Interacts effectively with a diverse range of students
  6. Provides fair treatment to all students and works to change aspects of the environment that do not promote fair treatment
  7. Values differences among groups of students and between individuals; helps students understand the interdependence among people both locally and globally
  8. Actively and continually pursues insight into the cultural heritage of students
  9. Encourages student learning through successful experiences as well as failures

With Colleagues and the Institution:
  1. Supervises others effectively
  2. Manages fiscal, physical, and human resources responsibly and effectively
  3. Judges the performance of self and others fairly
  4. Contributes productively in partnerships and team efforts
  5. Demonstrates loyalty and support of the institution where employed
  6. Behaves in ways that reflect integrity, responsibility, honesty, and with accurate representation of self, others, and program
  7. Creates and maintains campus relationships characterized by integrity and responsibility
  8. Effectively creates and maintains networks among colleagues locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally
  9. Contributes to campus life and supports activities that promote campus community

Self Mastery
  1. Commits to excellence in all work
  2. Intentionally employs self reflection to improve practice and gain insight
  3. Responds to the duties of one’s role and also to the spirit of one’s responsibilities
  4. Views his or her professional life as an important element of personal identity
  5. Strives to maintain personal wellness and a healthy lifestyle
  6. Maintains position-appropriate appearance
  7. Stays professionally current by reading literature, building skills, attending conferences, enhancing technological literacy, and engaging in other professional development activities
  8. Manages personal life so that overall professional effectiveness is maintained
  9. Belongs to and contributes to activities of relevant professional associations
  10. Assumes proper accountability for individual and organizational mistakes
  11. Espouses and follows a written code of professional ethical standards
  12. Abides by laws and institutional policies and works to change policies that are incongruent with personal and professional principles
  13. Re-evaluates continued employment when personal, professional, and institutional goals and values are incompatible and inhibit the pursuit of excellence

Council for the Advancement of Standards (2006). CAS characteristics of individual excellence for professional practice in higher education. In Council for the Advancement of Higher Education (Ed.), CAS professional standards for higher education (6th Ed.). Author.

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