President’s Perspective: The Global Standard Bearer
When is a profession a profession? About a year ago, I gathered with a few advancement leaders to discuss that very question for a book I am writing. The lively conversation settled on the central idea that a profession is a profession when it has a set of standards that guide its practices, and that the standards evolve when necessary, not only when convenient. These standards form the very backbone of a profession, and from them good practice flows. These standards are rooted solidly in ethical principles.
The advancement profession is a true profession, and CASE grew out of convenings of professionals serving alumni, raising funds, and connecting with communities that began more than a century ago. As the disciplines evolved, so did their conversations and the guidance they shared with one another. For example, in 1913, the Association of Alumni Secretaries was formed in the United States, and by 1917, the first alumni administration manual was published.
As educational funding models have changed, and expectations for philanthropic support have become staples of institutional strategy, so too has our need for clear guidance evolved. This is important not just for practitioners, but also for institutional leaders who, with all too few exceptions, have not come from our profession.