Core Competencies


Holistic and Systemic Thinking

Functional Description

Employs the ability to view the institutional culture and operations, holistically and systemically. Has a working knowledge and understanding of the applications of systemic thinking principles to the academic and service mission, goals and values of the institution. 

Content Knowledge Requirements

Intimate knowledge of higher education and higher education cultures. 

Skill Requirements

Ability to analyze and understand the interconnectedness of systems, cultures, and processes.

Ethical Requirements

Willingness to view higher education philosophies and principles from different vantage points.

Expertise Levels

Entry level

Identifies interconnection of systems.

Intermediate Level

Identifies the interconnectedness of systems and the relationship they have with one another. Can see institutional cultural implications.

Expert Level

Helps lead institutional strategic and SEM plans and initiatives. Employs the understanding and interpretation of the interconnectedness of multiple systems, cultures and process and the implications on the institutional. Has the ability to identify and explain possible systemic change to the culture.

How to Use Our Core Competencies

The Competencies & Proficiencies are designed to be used in a variety of ways, including:

  • Crafting professional development plans for individuals or teams
  • Self-assessment and benchmarking individual professional development
  • Drafting position descriptions and evaluating office functions

The AACRAO Competencies and Proficiencies are a living resource that will continue to evolve parallel to the demands of our professions in a dynamic higher education environment. If you would like to make a suggestion for a future version, contact us at