The first post in a series from the CAS Interns; a perspective from Lindsey Templeton.
“The Blue Book!”. These three words tend to be the first reaction I get when detailing my internship experience to others in the field. While I, too, was first introduced to CAS in this way, the people behind the infamous ‘Blue Book' – the deeper CAS community – have been the most influential part of my experience to date.
While CAS shares some similarities with other higher education member associations, in more ways, CAS is unique in its operations, governance structure, and value system. Similar to many associations, CAS has a governing board. However, unlike other associations, the CAS Board of Directors is comprised of nearly 50 members. To be more precise, CAS is a consortium of 41 member associations (https://www.cas.edu/members). Each member association elects two Directors (one of whom serves as Alternate) to represent them on the CAS Board of Directors. The board meets twice a year and is guided on a regular basis by an Executive Committee and the CAS Executive Director.
With this many individuals involved, CAS is certainly a community. I experienced this community first hand when I had the opportunity to sit in on the Annual Board of Directors Meeting this April. Sitting at the large square table with over 50 professionals from across the field, all with varying backgrounds, years of experience, expertise, geographical origins, and perspectives, I couldn't help but see that the work of CAS is one of heart, one centered on collaboration and consensus.
While it's hard to believe that one could see so deeply into the heart of an organization in just an afternoon, my observations were quickly confirmed. In the first weeks of my internship, I had another opportunity to witness this consensus-building network when observing a conference call for a Standards Revision Committee. The concept of five individuals operating on a conference call, from different jobs, time zones, and disciplines, working together to create an unbiased, collective voice for a new standard in higher education was incredible. Opportunities like these have occurred almost every week in my experience with CAS, further strengthening my understanding of and appreciation for the CAS community.
There are many pieces to the CAS puzzle, so to speak, but understanding the people behind the ‘Blue Book' has been one of the most influential first steps in learning about all that the organization has to offer. After all, setting the standards for quality in higher education requires more than one professional opinion!
Lindsey L. Templeton is an Intern for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, and a second-year Master's Student in the Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy Program at the University of Maryland, College Park.
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