President’s Perspective: Being a Global Organization
In my July/August 2020 column, I wrote to you about OneCASE and the critical importance of having a unified board and being a single global organization. The last three years have proven that global issues bring us together in ways we never could have imagined. We are now more aware than ever before that working together across borders creates opportunities for growth and innovation that enrich our work and enhance our institutions’ impact.
In this issue of Currents, you will see articles addressing topics that by their very nature cannot be addressed in isolation, like environmental sustainability to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. These areas are inherently global, both in terms of impact and importance. Our research through CASE Insights, featured as well in this issue, provides you with deeper understanding because it is global.
This is not new thinking for CASE. For many years, we’ve grown and deepened our commitment to serving our regions around the globe. As we wrote in our Oxford Accord in 2007, “CASE will pursue its growth and development as both an international organization (one that incorporates international perspectives into its overall operations) and as a global organization (one that provides services appropriate to various regions around the world).” These principles are more salient now than they were 15 years ago, advanced today by our new Strategic Intent and the CASE Global Reporting Standards, published in 2021. Currently, CASE members can be found in 80 countries, working, collaborating, and learning from CASE and each other, whilst respecting the unique history, perspectives, and educational advancement needs of their geographic regions and institutions.
My own professional journey has led me from Wales to Scotland to England, then to Australia and on to the U.S. When I was at institutions as a member, CASE provided me with extensive global experiences and opportunities to learn from colleagues and volunteers for the betterment of the universities for which I worked. The chance to interact and learn from colleagues outside our own regions enriches all our work and brings great value to our profession.
In January I spoke at our two Development for Deans and Academic Leaders conferences. In those presentations, I underscored two important aspects of advancement as a global activity. Firstly, we need to be globally minded because nearly all CASE member institutions likely have a presence/community outside their home country. You may recruit for students internationally. You no doubt have alumni living abroad. You may very well have financial support that comes from alumni and others who no longer reside in your immediate community. Your college or university may have research partnerships that traverse borders. And secondly, as CASE membership reveals, the work of advancement—which we define as the strategic, integrated method of managing relationships to increase understanding and support among an educational institution's key constituents—occurs at every institution around the world. We are all managing relationships in support of our institution’s mission. This is the work.
This year you will see our global commitment extending with opportunities to reconnect in person. This month, our CASE Board of Trustees will meet in Edinburgh, Scotland, in tandem with the CASE Europe Regional Council. Our Congreso, the signature annual meeting in our Latin America region, will be held outside of Mexico for the first time in Cartagena, Colombia. In early May, we will be back in person for the Asia-Pacific Advancement Conference in Melbourne, Australia, after three years of meeting almost entirely virtually. The CASE “Nichols Principles” of 2007 help us thoughtfully approach international activities and potential growth.
As the last several years have shown us, we must evolve and develop as our profession extends across every continent. We follow our practitioners’ lead; they demonstrate that there is great value in collaboration and connectivity, in every direction. We celebrate the opportunities to gather and learn around the world in person and virtually from different contexts, cultures, and the innovation derived from different experiences.
This increasingly global nature of the profession enhances CASE’s impact and value to help you succeed—whether you work at a small, private, independent school or college or a large, research-intensive university. Talent, creativity, and expertise exist around the world, and we all have the good fortune to learn from and grow through our colleagues’ knowledge and practice.
About the author(s)
Sue Cunningham is president and CEO of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), which supports more than 3,100 schools, colleges, and universities worldwide in developing their alumni relations, communications, fundraising, and marketing operations in order to advance their institutions. As CASE president and CEO, she provides strategic and operational leadership for one of the largest associations of education-related institutions in the world with members in more than 80 countries. She became president of CASE in March 2015.
Cunningham engaged CASE and thousands of its volunteers in a comprehensive strategic planning process resulting in Reimagining CASE: 2017 - 2021, an ambitious and comprehensive framework for serving CASE’s members and championing education worldwide. This volunteer and member engagement extends into a comprehensive effort to refine CASE’s governance structure to more effectively support CASE’s global reach and service to members.
Under her leadership, CASE acquired the Voluntary Support of Education survey and created AMAtlas. CASE has reinvigorated its global advocacy agenda and is engaged in reviews of the curriculum across all advancement disciplines and an update of CASE’s management and reporting standards and guidelines, which operate as the industry-leading set of standards. She is most proud of CASE’s efforts to diversify the advancement professions and CASE’s commitment to talent management, within the organization and across CASE’s membership.
Cunningham serves on the steering committee of the Washington Higher Education Secretariat, is a member of the Council of Higher Education Management Associations, and the International Women’s Forum, and serves on the fundraising committee for the Aurora Foundation.
Prior to CASE, she served as vice principal for advancement at the University of Melbourne and as the director of development for the University of Oxford. She served as director of development at Christ Church, Oxford, and as director of external relations at St. Andrews University.
She is an honorary fellow of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a recipient of the CASE Europe Distinguished Service Award, and a CASE Crystal Apple Award recipient. She holds a master’s degree from Oxford University and a bachelor’s degree in performing arts from Middlesex University.
Article appears in:
March - April 2023
DIGITAL ONLY ISSUE - Measures of Success: Five teams share stories of data in action. Plus a spotlight on sustainability: fundraising for climate initiatives, digital sustainability, and storytelling about climate change.