Higher Purpose – Higher Education

Madonna University’s Higher Education Administration Program (HEA) prepares students to make a difference in the educational experience and personal development of diverse student populations.  HEA’s convenient, part time, online or on ground program expands critical thinking, leadership, and management skills needed for successful careers across different functional areas in colleges and universities.  

Advancing foundational understanding, analysis, application, and evaluation of key concepts, principles, and critical issues in the field, HEA integrates theory with real-world, culturally relevant, and evidence-based practices to position its students to proactively address complex issues in higher education and society. 

Degrees Offered




Educational Leadership (MSEL)

This program offers educational experiences to enhance your role as a teacher, principal, coordinator, or department chair.

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Faculty Bios

Lara Kovacheff BadkeGraduate Director
Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Michigan

M.A., University of Michigan

J.D., University of Windsor

B.S.W., McGill University


734-432-5736, Room 2228D

Lara Kovacheff Badke

Dr. Lara Badke is the Director of Graduate Studies and Assistant Professor in Higher Education Administration. Lara brings over a dozen years of expertise in the field of higher education employing organizational and social justice frameworks to lead transformational change initiatives in institutional culture, leadership development, and policy reform, especially as they relate to issues of educational access, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Badke has been recognized as a Teaching Fellow through the University of Michigan and Law and Governance Fellow through the University of Houston. Dr. Badke earned both her Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, Management, and Leadership of Higher Education from the University of Michigan. She also has a legal background and practiced law for several years before entering the field of higher education. Lara holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor and a degree in Social Work from McGill University.

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Christine BensonAssistant Vice President & Dean of Students
Adjunct Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Michigan State University

M.A.T., Madonna University

B.A., Madonna University


734-432-5867, Room 1113

Christine Benson

Dr. Chris Benson brings more than sixteen years of higher education experience in student affairs, retention, and academic affairs. Dr. Benson currently serves as the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Madonna University. She has oversight of student conduct, career development, student life, residence life, counseling and disability resources, and transitions services. Dr. Benson serves as an institutional representative for the American Council on Education Women's Network, MIchigan (MI-ACE) and the regional representative for the Michigan division of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA-MI).

Dr. Benson also has served as Title IX Coordinator and Graduate Program Director for the Higher Education Administration master’s program, which she co-created. Chris earned her Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University. She earned a master’s in teaching and learning from Madonna University.

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Cliff CampAssistant Director for Student Conduct
Adjunct Assistant Professor

J.D., Western Michigan University

M.P.A., Eastern Michigan University

B.S., Eastern Michigan University


734-432-5829, Room 1113

Cliff Camp

Cliff Camp brings nearly a decade of experience working with various regulatory compliance requirements; policy drafting, development, and implementation; training; and assessment in a higher education setting. Cliff teaches HEA’s Law and Policy course, EDU 6340, in which he ensures students have the opportunity to apply the concepts they learn in the course through practical exercises such as conducting a policy gap analysis, drafting a policy, and creating a compliance training presentation for a higher education institution.

These experiences provide students with a tangible deliverable to share with current or future employers demonstrating their ability to navigate the complex legal and regulatory environment within higher education.

Cliff received his B.S. and M.P.A. degrees from Eastern Michigan University and his J.D. degree from Western Michigan University – Thomas M. Cooley Law School and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Public Administration at Western Michigan University.

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Connie Tingson-GatuzVice President for Student Affairs & Mission Integration
Adjunct Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Michigan State University

M.A., Michigan State University

B.A., Michigan State University


734-432-5881, Room 1113

Connie Tingson-Gatuz

Dr. Connie Tingson-Gatuz serves as Vice President for Student Affairs & Mission Integration at Madonna University and teaches in the Higher Education Administration program preparing graduate students for future administrative careers in colleges and universities. A national Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute (APAWLI) Fellow and National OCA Pioneer Community Educator Awardee, her career has been dedicated to educating and developing people in organizations for over two decades.

Passionate about developing community leaders, Dr. Connie (as she is affectionately known by students) has developed curriculum for a national college leadership program, currently serves as a Board Member of the Michigan American Council on Education Women’s Network, and, as one of the founding members of the Midwest Asian American Student Union, MSU’s Philippine American Student Society (PASS), and the Council of Racial Ethnic Students (CORES), has orchestrated community partnerships across numerous college student organizations locally, regionally, and nationally.

Dr. Connie earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. in higher education administration from Michigan State University.

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Stewart WoodAssociate Dean of University Assessment
Professor of Education

Ph.D., University of Michigan

M.Ed., University of Sheffield, U.K.

B.Ed., Bishop Grosseteste College, Lincoln (University of Nottingham, U.K.)


734-432-5645, Room 2230H

Stewart Wood

Stewart Wood is the Associate Dean for University Assessment, Professor of Education, and Chair of the Faculty Professional Development Committee. Stewart joined the full-time faculty at Madonna University in 1994. He teaches Educational Research and Practice in the HEA program, drawing on his expertise in teaching and learning theory, educational psychology, lifelong learning, achievement motivation, and assessment.

Dr. Wood is an active member of the American Educational Research Association and serves as a reviewer for the Lilly Conferences on College Teaching. Dr. Wood has served on numerous advisory boards and published articles in Phi Delta Kappan and the Journal of Early Adolescence. Stewart earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Michigan and M.Ed. from the University of Sheffield, U.K.

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