Core Competencies


Professional Integrity

Functional Description

Ability to carry out professional activities in an honest, professional and ethical manner. To engender a climate of trust and fairness in all dealings with students and colleagues within and outside the institution. 

Content Knowledge Requirements

Understanding of AACRAO’s Statement of Ethics and Practice, applicable state and federal laws, and institutional policies governing responsibilities within the institution. 

Skill Requirements

Ability to identify a decision-making construct or process to guide ethical decisions; ability to balance institutional policy, practices and resources with appropriate and fact- and data-driven decisions; willingness to recognize how personal values and beliefs may influence a decision and check those decisions with colleagues and peers when appropriate.

Ethical Requirements

 Ability to recognize the conflict between personal interests, values, and beliefs and professional responsibilities. Commitment to being truthful when sharing information and advice with staff, peers, and colleagues, both within and external to the institution.

Expertise Levels

Entry level

Has a basic understanding of institutional policies, procedures, and resources; state and federal law; and professional standards. Knows how to locate and use available resources to find answers. Willingness to seek out and rely on the expertise of others both to improve decision-making and as a means of expanding expertise.

Intermediate Level

Comfortable answering questions and serving as a resource to others concerning institutional policy and government regulations. Recognizes when to seek the advice and guidance of others. In work with legal counsel, is able to summarize relevant facts and discuss the legal and ethical issues involved in developing a response.

Expert Level

Possess a thorough understanding of institutional policies and procedures, state and federal laws, and professional standards as they relate to one’s own institution or state, as well as to other institutions and states. Ability to differentiate between what is legal and illegal and between what is ethical and unethical. Serve as an expert and resource for students and colleagues.

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