President's Perspective: A Fresh Look at Our Curriculum

Reimagining CASE’s professional education

By Sue Cunningham

Sue Cunningham

Sue Cunningham
President and CEO of CASE


How long have you worked in advancement? And when I say advancement, I am speaking in the broadest sense about all of the disciplines that strive to advance higher education to transform lives and society. No matter when you started, you have a set of skills that is serving you well and a body of knowledge that has kept you current.

But what knowledge and skills will advancement professionals need in the future? What gaps exist now, particularly as our institutions and the global educational environment are changing at a rapid clip? CASE is revisiting, after nearly three decades, our curriculum.

The last time CASE undertook a comprehensive assessment of our curriculum was in the last century, before smart phones and social media; before news cycles and attention spans in the minutes; before this latest technological revolution took hold. It is time to take a fresh look.

This monumental effort advances the talent management goal in our strategic plan, Reimagining CASE, and is driven by our volunteers and members, to whom I am ever grateful. The Curriculum Review Task Force, chaired by CASE Trustee Fritz Schroeder, vice president of alumni relations and development at Johns Hopkins University, has been meeting since September 2017, virtually and in person, reimagining what CASE's professional education across our members' disciplines could look like. This work has included a thoughtful journey to identify what skills are needed to advance our institutions in a new era, as advancement disciplines have matured and the context for our work has shifted tectonically. That journey's destination is CASE's competency model. This is a true departure from the confines of our traditional thinking and past offerings, and we are thrilled by the possibilities it holds.

The task force has held many focus groups with members over the last year, including, most recently, at CASE conferences in Singapore and Edinburgh, Scotland. Many of you may have also participated in the online surveys that have provided invaluable insight on this path forward.

This project aims not only to look at our curriculum offerings to ensure that CASE is offering what our membership needs to advance education at their institutions. It is also considering how most effectively CASE delivers our professional development offerings. Our professional education's reputation is built solidly on the shoulders of countless volunteers, past and present, who have willingly given their time and generously shared their expertise with colleagues. This is a central component of what makes CASE conferences and institutes work, and we are very careful not to stray too far from that ideal. What you will see is the development of core materials to support volunteer faculty and to ensure consistency of core elements. You will also see the development of our e-learning strategies. With a growing membership worldwide and increasing sophistication in the breadth and depth of our professions, we must take full advantage of available technologies to deliver the valuable education that you, our members, most need in person and virtually.

We look forward to keeping you informed as this complex and important initiative advances.