Nuts and Bolts
Why does CAS call the specialized standards "Functional Areas"?
The term "functional area" is used as an inclusive term to encompass the wide range of functions on campus. The areas for which CAS publishes standards represent functions on campuses; in some cases, these are commonly organized in departments or offices (e.g., housing and residential life, counseling), but in other cases, the function may be distributed across multiple offices or only one part of a department's total scope (e.g., assessment services, internships).
What are the General Standards? How are they different than the standards for my functional area(s)?
A number of characteristics are common to all functional areas and these commonalities demand inclusion in all current and future CAS standards. As a result, General Standards were developed and signify the content that CAS representatives unanimously agreed is relevant to all the functional areas within student support programs and services championed by CAS member associations. The CAS General Standards are reviewed and revised prior to the publication of each new edition of the CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education.
Why is there bold italics, bold, and regular print in the Standards for my area?
A CAS standard, which is printed in bold-faced type, is considered to be essential to successful professional practice and uses the auxiliary verbs must and shall. Compliance with the CAS standards indicates that a program meets essential criteria as described in each standard statement and that there is tangible evidence available to support that fact.
What are guidelines? How are they different from standards?
A CAS guideline, printed in light-face type, is a statement that clarifies or amplifies a CAS standard. Although not required for achieving compliance, CAS guidelines are designed to offer suggestions and illustrations that can assist programs and services to more fully address the learning and development needs of students. CAS guidelines use the auxiliary verbs should and may.
What is the appropriate citation format for referencing the CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education?
APA format citation (subsections should follow the citation format for chapters in a book):
Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (2023). CAS professional standards for higher education (11th Version). Author.
Where will I find the CAS Standards and Guidelines?
CAS publishes its standards electronically. CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education (2023) provides an introduction to CAS, its mission, initiatives, and the principles upon which it was founded. Individual functional area standards accompanied by introductory contextual statements are included, along with the CAS Learning and Development Outcomes, the CAS Characteristics of Individual Excellence, and the CAS Statement of Shared Ethical Principles. In addition, for use in programmatic self-studies, there is a CAS Self-Assessment Guide (SAG) for each set of standards. These assessment workbooks include the standards and guidelines along with a series of "criterion measure" statements used to judge the level of program compliance with the standard. The CAS SAGs are available electronically via the CAS Online Store in a downloadable PDF format.
Where will I find information about using the CAS Standards and Guidelines?
An outline of how to put the CAS standards to work is included in the CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education (2023), and each functional area SAG has an introductory section and interwoven guidance that describes how to apply the SAG for self-study purposes. The Complete Set of SAGs (available as a download) also contains a PowerPoint presentation to help train users. PowerPoint presentations are also available on the CAS website.
How many CAS Standards and Guidelines are currently in place? Where can I find the list?
CAS has developed 49 sets of functional area standards and guidelines and 1 set of student affairs master's level preparation standards. They are listed in the Standards section of the website.
How do I find Standards for an area not listed on the CAS website? How does CAS suggest we assess those areas?
Although the CAS General Standards were not designed to stand alone, they illustrate commonalities that exist among the many student support programs and services throughout higher education. If you are seeking a starting point for assessing your programs and services, you might use the General Standards as a template. The Cross-Functional and Multi-Functional frameworks may also be useful for your area.
I downloaded CAS Standards for one functional area from a member association’s website. Where can a get a copy of a set of Standards for a different functional area?
CAS provides each of its member associations with the opportunity to link to two sets of CAS functional area standards on its website. Associations determine where to place these links at their own discretion; some are available only for members of those associations. You may purchase the most recent CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education book to obtain the standards. In addition, the most current version of all standards are available for purchase through the CAS Store.