New standards to provide direction for Transfer Student Programs and Services, Campus Police and Security Programs, and Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention Programs in higher education have been released by the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS). In addition, CAS recently retooled its Fraternity and Sorority Advising Programs standards and guidelines. CAS, composed of 39 collaborating professional associations representing over 100,000 professionals in higher education, has developed standards and guidelines for the aforementioned areas and rooted them in the scholarship and work conducted within their respective fields. Each of the new standards codifies needs and expectations for educators in the related functional areas.
The Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention Programs (SARVPP) standards address needs that transcend boundaries of campus services. "Unfortunately, sexual violence affects all members of our campus communities," explained Sara Bendoraitis, the director for programming, outreach and advocacy in American University's Center for Diversity and Inclusion and CAS board member. "These standards can now provide a baseline to ensure that victims and survivors will receive the care and services they require on our campuses," she concluded.
New standards for Campus Police and Security Programs offer direction for advancing public safety efforts within higher education. "Regardless of how large or small your campus or public safety department, implementation of these standards provide opportunities for assessment and continual improvement," said Regina Lawson, Chief of Police at Wake Forest University and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators' (IACLEA) representative to the CAS Board. "Compliance with these standards results in uniformity of polices, procedures and practices that are consistent with the leading agencies in our profession."
Also, the newest CAS materials address the unique nature of working with transfer students. According to Janet Marling, Executive Director for the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS), "The development of standards and guidelines for Transfer Student Programs and Services is a critical milestone in acknowledging the diverse higher education pathways students pursue." She further stated that, "By presenting a uniform lens through which institutional approaches to providing transfer programs and services are examined, CAS has elevated expectations placed on colleges and universities to assist this growing population."
Finally, the revised standards for Fraternity and Sorority Advising Programs (FSAP) are an outcome of the combined efforts of more than 30 individuals, including the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) Executive Board and representatives from the diverse fraternal movement. A long-time member association, AFA has been involved with CAS since 1981. "As advocates of sororities and fraternities as values organizations, it is only natural that the Association would continue to work with CAS to help professionals align their practice with standards that promote a higher level of excellence," AFA Executive Director Mark Koepsell said.
"I am most excited about how the new standards more strongly emphasize education on values congruence and collaboration with diverse fraternal movement stakeholders, both of which are strategies needed for professionals to successfully advise these organizations," articulated Dan Bureau, Director of Student Affairs Learning and Assessment at the University of Memphis and AFA representative to the CAS Board of Directors.
CAS was established in 1979 to develop standards that promote college student learning and promote self-assessment for institutional effectiveness. There are now 43 CAS standards in diverse areas of the college student experiences; a complete list is available here. The eighth edition of the book, CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education, was released in August 2012. The book of standards is the defining source of professional standards for many of the services provided to students in higher education. Along with the book, CAS also released an updated CD of all 43 functional area self-assessment guides (SAGs). The updated publications, which include the new and revised standards and guidelines, can be ordered through the online store.
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