March 12, 2021
Sarah Keeling, Ph.D.
Director of Education & Research, NACA
Practitioners often get bogged down in the day-to-day details that campus programming necessarily involves. However, it’s important to take a step back periodically to ensure that the big picture looks like you have planned. The CAS Standards are a tool to help you develop, implement and assess programs. One of your benefits as a NACA member is access to two sets of CAS Standards. CAS was founded over 35 years as a means of developing standards to guide professional practice across student affairs functional areas. The standards can be used to carry out self-assessments, “for design of new programs and services, for determining the efficacy of programs for staff development, or for programmatic assessment as part of an institutional self-study” (CAS, 2015, p. 10).
Assessment is more important than ever in the post-COVID era.
…participation trends and satisfaction data are not enough to justify the resources granted to the work of campus activities. As professionals are asked to identify and provide a rationale for student-learning-focused programming, campus activities offices must develop a culture of comprehensive assessment if they have not already done so. (Peck et al., 2020, p. 8)
The two sets of standards that are available to members are Campus Activities Programs and Assessment Services and are housed in
ENCORE, our digital resource library. The Assessment Services Standards remind us that resources need to be devoted to assessment. Responsibilities for assessment should be incorporated into job descriptions so that assessment is not just an afterthought. Other considerations include measuring student satisfaction, student learning and development, and cost effectiveness of programs. The Campus Activities Programs Standards remind us that programs should complement in-class learning; serve as experiential and integrative learning opportunities; and add vibrancy to college life and help retain students. These two sets of standards are a great resource for campuses so be sure to take advantage of them!
Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education. (2015). CAS professional standards for higher education (9th ed.).
Peck, A., McCullar, S., Rosch, D.M., DeSawal, D., & Krebs, S.R. (2020). Lessons from a pandemic: The value of campus activities professionals. The Journal of Campus Activities Practice and Scholarship, 2(2), 5-12. https://www.naca.org/JCAPS/Documents/Lessons_from_a_Pandemic_JCAPS_Fall_2020.pdf
Sarah Keeling, Ph.D. serves as director of Education & Research for the National Association for Campus Activities and has over 20 years of higher education experience. Her Ph.D. in higher education administration is from the University of South Carolina.
Related Professional Competency: Assessment & Data Management