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Home > Academics > Academic Programs > MHESA > Course Descriptions

Higher Education & Student Affairs (HESA) Master’s

EDU 5010 Gateway: Higher Education Foundations  3 s.h.
The foundational history and philosophy of the profession of student affairs in post-secondary education in the United States. An overview of the organizational structure, functional units, and administrative relationship of personnel services in two- and four-year institutions of higher education. The variety of roles student affairs professionals play on college campuses and in different institutional cultures. The ways that college environments affect the educational experience and personal development of diverse student populations.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the foundational philosophies, disciplines, and values on which the profession is built
  • Articulate the historical contexts of institutional types and functional areas within higher education and student affairs.
  • Explain the role of beliefs and values in personal integrity and professional ethical practices
  • Critically examine the history of the profession for contemporary meaning.
  • Resolve areas of incongruence between personal, institutional, and professional ethical standards.
  • Participate in developing new philosophical approaches and responsive values of the profession.
  • Actively engage in conversation with staff about the ethical statements of professional associations

EDU 5120 Student Development Theory 3 s.h.
Major bodies of theory and research related to college student development in higher education and the contexts in which that development occurs. The history and nature of student development theory, how it is and has been created, used, and modified. How to locate, synthesize, and apply student development literature related to real-world issues in student affairs/higher education practice. Students apply existing theory to their actual experiences and consider additional ways of looking at those experiences.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Articulate theories and models that describe the development of college students and the conditions and practices that facilitate holistic development
  • Articulate how differences of race, ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and religious belief can influence development during the college years
  • Evaluate the limitations in applying existing theories and models to varying student demographic groups
  • Design programs and services to promote student learning and development that are based on current research
  • Critique prevailing theory

EDU 5270 Leadership and Intervention Skills 3 s.h.
Examination of traditional and contemporary issues confronting leaders in higher education institutions, and the building of leadership skills within the area of student affairs. The principles and dynamics of group interaction and processes/strategies for working with groups in higher education settings. Students develop a leadership profile and learn skills to effectively engage others, manage conflict and change, and build and sustain productive relationships. Emphasis on learning how to resolve moral and ethical questions prevalent across the spectrum of higher education.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify one’s strengths and weaknesses as a leader
  • Explain various constructs of leadership and leadership styles and community building
  • Explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of decision-making processes
  • Demonstrate culturally appropriate advising, difference mediation, and group process strategies
  • Critique leadership models for various situations in organizational life
  • Identify potential obstacles or points of resistance when designing a change process
  • Provide constructive critiques to colleagues to help them become more effective leaders

EDU 5340 Organization, Governance, and Administration 3 s.h.
Prerequisite: EDU 5010. Organizational and management theory as it relates to issues in higher education, with exploration of the culture of higher education institutions. Conceptual models of colleges and universities as large, complex systems and application of these models to real institutions’ contexts and problems. The distinct, overlapping, and sometimes conflicting roles and responsibilities of particular administrative positions within a college or university. How change occurs in institutions and how that process can be conceived, designed, and implemented.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of various management alternatives
  • Explain how networks in organizations play a role in institutional effectiveness
  • Describe the basic premises that underlie conflict in organizational and student life
  • Explain the role alliances play in the completion of goals and work assignments
  • Engage in evidence-based decision making, planning, and procedure development
  • Construct solutions to management and organizational problems in higher education

EDU 5670 Service-Learning Practicum 3 s.h.
Prerequisite: EDU 5010 and EDU 5270. Experiential learning within student affairs. Study of the civic roles of post-secondary education institutions, contemporary philosophies and practices of engagement, and how engagement is expressed through service-learning to help higher education institutions become more productively involved with communities they serve. Students work with an experienced practitioner as a supervisor, and program faculty as instructor, to examine their experience in a seminar format and through a reflective portfolio.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of various management alternatives
  • Explain how networks in organizations play a role in institutional effectiveness
  • Describe the basic premises that underlie conflict in organizational and student life
  • Explain the role alliances play in the completion of goals and work assignments
  • Engage in evidence-based decision making, planning, and procedure development
  • Construct solutions to management and organizational problems in higher education

EDU 6120 American College Student 3 s.h.
Prerequisite EDU 5120. The impact that college has on students, both during college and in their lives afterward, explored through various conceptualizations, models, and literatures concerned with explaining and/or examining student outcomes, and the methods employed to translate these concepts into practice. Factors that influence college impact, including student characteristics, college experiences, and institutional types. Consideration of questions surrounding college impact: what are the desired consequences of college; who cares about it and why; how do we conceive of and measure it? Prerequisite EDU 5120.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain research related to the college experience, environments, and how these are mediated by personal characteristics
  • Evaluate the impact that the college experience has on students
  • Explain the changing characteristics of the student body enrolling in higher education institutions
  • Analyze the issues and concerns of various student communities on college campuses
  • Determine ways institutions can adapt to increasingly diverse student populations
  • Design culturally relevant and inclusive programs, services, policies, and practice

EDU 6340 Policy, Finance, and Law 3 s.h.
Prerequisite: EDU 5010. Public policymaking processes and the roles of the state and federal governments in relation to higher education; selected current public policy issues; financial issues such government support for institutions, cost of attendance,  financial aid and student indebtedness, access and opportunity. Legal issues such as freedom of expression and religious freedoms, affirmative action; student, faculty, and institutional rights and responsibilities, rights of students with disabilities, employment discrimination, and institutional liability for student behavior.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the differences between public and private institutions and the federal and state role in higher education
  • Describe how national constitutions and laws influence the rights of students, faculty, and staff
  • Describe the internal and external governance systems for one’s institution
  • Assess how the governance structure of higher education impacts access and participation
  • Critique the public debates surrounding the major policy issues in higher education

EDU 6480 Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion 3 s.h.
Prerequisite: EDU 5120. Historical, contemporary, and research aspects of diversity and equity in post-secondary education: access and participation, campus climate, curriculum, and outcomes. Information, concepts, policies, and controversies related to gender, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, socio-economic, ability, and religious differences among students, faculty, administrators, and other employees. Emphasis is placed on critical reading, writing, and class participation. The array post-secondary educational environments and the administrative competencies necessary to ensure academic equity. Critical stance development is cultivated throughout the course.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Address one’s own awareness of equity, diversity, and inclusion relative to others
  • Facilitate dialogue effectively among disparate audiences
  • Recognize social systems and their influence on people of diverse backgrounds
  • Design culturally relevant and inclusive programs, services, policies, and practices
  • Articulate means of dismantling systemic barriers to equality and inclusiveness
  • Facilitate others’ learning and practice of social justice concepts


EDU 6670 Professional Experience Practicum 3 s.h.
Prerequisite: EDU 5010 and EDU 5270. In-depth experiential learning within a functional unit within student affairs. Students take on professional responsibilities in a functional area of a college or university to apply ideas from course work and readings to the practicum setting. Concepts of leadership and innovation are integrated with career development perspectives to support and analyze professional goals.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Articulate key elements of one’s professional goals
  • Execute responsibilities in higher education tasks dutifully and thoughtfully
  • Utilize institutional and professional resources to solve organizational problems or address ethical concerns
  • Organize the resources of a program or unit in support of its goals
  • Implement entrepreneurial and creative perspectives when planning for change
  • Communicate the learning orientation of student affairs to the campus community

EDU 6970 Student Affairs Research Project 3 s.h.
Prerequisite: EDU 5060, EDU 5670, EDU 6670. Integrating material from prior course work and experiences through the assessment and evaluation of a program or unit at a college or university. Students draw on theory and research regarding institutions and students to design a project leading to original research and the presentation of findings and recommendations for practice. The experience is designed to replicate a professional situation of problem-solving as an incoming manager.

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Differentiate among assessment, program review, evaluation, planning, and research and the methodologies appropriate to each
  • Align program and learning outcomes with organization goals and values
  • Discern the appropriate design(s) to use in selected assessment efforts
  • Apply the concepts and procedures of quantitative and qualitative research, evaluation, and assessment
  • Effectively use assessment and evaluation results in determining the institution’s, the division’s, or the unit’s accomplishment of its missions and goals
  • Lead the writing of assessment and evaluation reports that translate data analyses into goals and action



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