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Principles of practice for communications and marketing professionals at educational institutions

Adopted by the CASE Board of Trustees in July 2015

Education at all levels has never been more essential to the well-being of the global community. Yet educational institutions face an increasingly challenging environment in which to attract students, faculty, and benefactors, as well as to earn alumni allegiance, government support, and public respect. As a result, communications and marketing professionals perform strategic and complex roles as champions of the institution’s mission, stewards of its reputation, monitors of its competitive environment, and liaisons to its many constituencies. The principles below are intended to assist them in fulfilling those roles in a manner that will benefit their institutions, their profession, and the academic community as a whole.

Ethical principles

Communications and marketing professionals have a fundamental obligation to:

  • Advance the mission of their institutions in an ethical and socially responsible manner
  • Ensure their work is aligned with, and reflects, the basic values of educational institutions: discovery, creativity, an abiding respect for candor and diverse viewpoints and a firm commitment to the open exchange of ideas
  • Reinforce through words and actions the principles of honesty, integrity, accountability, quality and trust, which form the basis for long-term, supportive relationships with the institution’s publics
  • Place the welfare of the institution above personal gain, avoid conflicts of interest, maintain professional standards in all communication channels, take responsibility for their decisions and treat colleagues and the public with courtesy and respect

Operational principles

Communications and marketing professionals are most successful at advancing their institutions when:

  • They employ proven creative and strategic methods, as well as promising new approaches in the field, and ensure that plans, activities and outcomes can be reliably measured as part of a commitment to continuous improvement
  • As highly valued professionals, they are present in the inner management circle, where they provide strategic and crisis counsel to the institution’s leadership, convey the viewpoints of primary publics and participate in the formulation of policies affecting those publics
  • They base their work on research that informs their understanding of the institution’s primary publics and that measures progress toward established goals, expressed in terms of desired attitudes and behaviors among those publics
  • They undertake ongoing, targeted programs of communications and marketing, employing multiple channels appropriate to the audience and the message
  • They engage in two-way communication with primary publics and actively seek feedback to help the institution align its services with existing and emerging needs of its intended beneficiaries
  • They involve internal constituencies across the organization in delivering not only the messages but also the academic and service excellence on which the institution’s reputation depends

These principles are intended to supplement and complement the CASE Statement of Ethics adopted by the CASE Board of Trustees in 1982.

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