As post-secondary education has evolved, few resources have provided a comprehensive perspective on the origins, influences, trends, and anticipated directions of each functional area of higher education. For over forty years, the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education has methodically brought together practitioners from across functional areas and professional associations and regularly defined, developed, and revised standards of practice. CAS (p. 1141) defines a “functional area” as:

“a distinct grouping of activities, programs, and services within higher education that can be differentiated by its purpose, mission, focus, policies, practices, staff, budget, and the professional interests and backgrounds of its practitioners. In many cases, functional areas are what are often referred to as offices or departments, but CAS uses the term functional area to indicate a program or service that may not have the separate organizational structure typically associated with a department. Examples of functional areas include academic advising, housing and residential life, leadership, and internships.”

The CAS structure and process – and by extension, CAS publications – affirm constant principles and practices while accounting for evolving needs of students, programs, and services. The contextual statements that accompany each set of standards and are gathered on their own for the first time in this volume are demonstrative of the standards as a snapshot of functional areas over time. These statements answer a need for professionals, no matter how seasoned, to reconnect to the historical foundations, modern essentials, and expected future directions to ground our work.

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