NIRSA’s partnership with The Council for Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) provides Association members with access to standards that can be used to assess the quality and strength of their recreation programs. As a consortium of over 40 student service professional associations, CAS members develop and promulgate standards and guidelines for higher education. NIRSA has been a member of CAS since 1981.

Collegiate Recreation Program Standards (Members Only)

Health Promotion Services Standards (Members Only)

NIRSA Volunteer Directors

Andy Milton, who served as the CAS Director since 2018 and helped lead the Association through revisions of the collegiate recreation standards, stepped down earlier this year from this role. It opened opportunities for two members to help the profession remain relevant and up to date with evolving standards in higher education. Andy shared, “I’ve enjoyed my time serving and learned a ton; I’ll always cherish my time as CAS representative of NIRSA.”

Jake Eubank Ed.D., Undergraduate Program Director & Assistant Professor, Recreation Education & Therapy at Lehman College, CUNY—who has published several NIRSA news editorials—will serve as the incoming CAS Director. In conjunction with Jake’s appointment, Jason Vlastaras, Associate Director – Program Operations at Iowa State University has been appointed to serve as the CAS Alternate Director. These volunteer positions involve a three-year commitment, with an optional reappointment option for the Alternate Director to serve as the Director at the end of the three years. Please take a moment to congratulate Jake and Jason on their appointments and to thank Andy for his outstanding service!

Why these standards matter

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) consists of 48 functional area standards and 3 cross-functional frameworks to aid in the development, assessment, and evaluation of programs and services within student affairs and higher education.

The standards are crafted by experts in each functional area and serve as a unifying benchmark and standardization of program, service, and facility effectiveness as it relates to student success.  Jason Vlastaras notes, “As a campus recreation professional, aligning with the standards gives us access to a validated framework that more intricately connects us to the broader higher education and student affairs mission and vision.”

The CAS standards help to establish consistency in the delivery of programs across the country, while also allowing institutions to maintain their own unique identities and traditions. Jake explains, “They (CAS standards) assist respective departments/offices/units in assessing their own programs and in long-term strategic planning. The standards are also important for new departments/offices/units for use as a fundamental ’guide’ to follow during the planning and development stage. As a former practitioner in the field of higher education that served in roles responsible for new functional areas at two universities, CAS has been a valuable resource in the preparation of new programs, services, and facilities I managed.”

Jason also shared that “CAS standards and their respective self-assessment guides give collegiate recreation programs the much-needed tools to build, assess and evaluate programs in these ever-changing times.”

Making a difference

Jason volunteers because he “loves the idea of aligning with an organization that provides unified standards across multiple areas within student affairs. I believe the standards offer a practical, easy to use framework to ensure that we are collectively hitting the mark when it comes to program planning and student success.” Jake also notes his reasons for volunteering: “This position allows me to advocate and raise awareness of NIRSA and campus recreation as an essential member of the campus community. We share a responsibility in the mission to promote healthy lifestyles and improve the mental and physical health and well-being among all college students.”

As Andy ends his term as the CAS representative for NIRSA he reflects and says, “I believe the standards are important, and got involved with this work four or five years ago now, because of the impact they can have to complement our work toward contributing to a meaningful student experience through our work in collegiate recreation.”

Jake and Jason look forward to serving NIRSA and the collegiate recreation profession as the CAS Representatives and hope to successfully represent and advocate for the field of collegiate recreation as we navigate the most upending periods of change that we have ever experienced.  NIRSA looks forward to Jake and Jason’s contributions as NIRSA continues to share resources for and benefits of using the CAS Standards.

Member Relations Manager at | NIRSA Profile

Sarah Leskovec is currently the Member Relations Manager at NIRSA.