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Course Descriptions


ED 620G - College Student Retention and Success 

As the higher education landscape changes in response to shifting college student demographics, rising tuition costs, reduced levels of public funding and increased student debt, institutions must adapt and change to meet new challenges. In response, colleges and universities have moved from a focus on providing access to an emphasis on students’ success in reaching educational goals and attaining a degree. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to analyze the historical and scholarly context of college student retention and success, describe how public and institutional policy influence college student retention and success, explain the external pressures on colleges to retain and graduate students, the importance of change leadership and the strategies institutions can take to improve student retention and success.

ED 630G -­ Higher Education in American Society

This required course examines key contemporary issues in higher education, focusing primarily on the American higher educational system. The course provides a historical context and emerging trends, with topics ranging from mission and vision, structure and governance, the funding of public and private institutions, demographic trends, characteristics of faculty, students and curricula, public perceptions of higher education, and the increasing regulatory role of government and accrediting agencies.

ED 640G - Diversity and Social Justice

This required course will focus on social justice education (SJE) in the PreK-16 educational system. Its purpose is to develop a theoretical, conceptual, pedagogical, scientific and curricular foundation for SJE across all educational-­type settings. Students examine systemic and curricular approaches to SJE in educational settings and develop a framework for implementing social justice programs across schools and communities.

ED 667G - University-­Community Relations

This course is an exploration of patterns of communication, interaction, and relationships between institutions of higher education and their local and regional communities. The course examines how historical, social, cultural, and political forces impact such relationships and interactions, and how various iterations of power and influence play out between colleges and communities. We will think about such relations within the context of the media and the press, the goals of community development and change, and the role of the university in its engagement with the public sphere.

ED 671G - Theories of Adult Learning and Development

Community Engagement Course, permission needed to enroll

This course examines the research of adult learning theories, including such topics as aptitude, motivation, cognitive development, psycho-­social development, intelligence, and learning styles through the prisms of gender, ethnicity, race and social class. The course looks at implications for the teaching and learning process, curriculum design, and instructional practices. The course also provides an overview of relevant developmental issues, with specific implications for applied settings.

ED 676G - College Teaching and Learning

This course provides an introduction to the teaching strategies and learning paradigms typically used in post-secondary education. Issues addressed in this course include curriculum design and development, assessment, syllabus construction, and the implications of multiple factors -­ such as technology, student diversity, online environments, and the changing nature of faculty work as it relates to teaching in the college classroom. Practice in instruction and instructional design will be a centerpiece of this course.

ED 683G - Gender in Education

How does gender affect our experiences with education? What educational environments support the growth and development of students of all genders? What differences does gender make with respect to teaching and learning, and both inside and outside of the classroom engagement? These questions are central to understanding the role that gender plays in education. This course will examine educational theory, practice, and policy through the lens of gender identity and equity across the K-­16 spectrum, and will focus on creating educational interventions for sexual assault awareness week. This class is cross-­listed in Women’s and Gender Studies (EDU 4683) for both graduates and advanced undergraduate students

ED 691G - Community Engagement: Theory and Practice

Community Engagement course, permission needed to enroll

This course examines the contemporary community engagement movement, e.g., service learning, civic and community engagement, community-based research in K-­12 and higher education. It explores key programmatic issues such as course development, student outcomes, and community partnerships as well as core theoretical questions, such as whether service learning should be mandated. (This is a required course for the Community Engagement program; limited spaces will be available to Higher Education students.)

GRAD 590 - Capstone

The required capstone project serves as the culminating academic project within the masters of education pathway. It offers an opportunity to explore a key educational issue (PK-­16) through an in-­depth research paper wherein prior coursework or classroom based experiences allow the author to synthesize and deepen his or her understanding on that topic. The Capstone Project may be theoretical, practical or action research-­based. More details about this course will be covered in the fall.

HED 505G - College Student Development Theory

The college years are a time of significant personal, psychosocial, and cognitive growth for students, as they encounter and navigate various challenges typical to emerging adulthood. This course will familiarize students with the major theories of college students’ development, and explore the creation of environments and contextual factors that facilitate this growth. Multicultural identity development will also be a focus of this course.


HED 540G - Higher Education Law and Policy

What is the role of American higher education in a democracy? This course will seek to locate this inquiry in the major developments of educational law and public policy, with a particular emphasis in 20th and 21st century case law and its implications for colleges and universities. Major case law pertaining to educational access, academic freedom, college and university liability, and campus civil unrest will be the emphasis. Public policy and college/university practice implications of case law will be explored.

HED 546G - Leadership Theory and Practice in Higher Education

Leadership in higher education is dynamic, often defying simple theoretical explanation or consistently applied platitudes. The diversity of leadership roles in higher education demand a wide variety of styles and strategies. Students will be acquainted with leadership theory in higher education as it is practiced by governing boards, administration, faculty, and other stakeholders, and will develop a leadership philosophy reflecting the core components of visionary leadership in the face of change.

HED 555G - College Counseling and Advising

Student affairs educators are frequently called upon to support students as individuals during times of personal and academic challenge. In order to facilitate learning, agency, and growth, basic counseling skills (e.g. Active listening, motivational interviewing, and values clarification) are essential to good practice. This course will introduce students to introductory counseling theory and methods and will include practical exposure to identifying college students’ presenting concerns, responding appropriately and developmentally, and making referrals.


HED 575G – Organization Theory and Practice

This course provides students with an increased knowledge of higher educational programs through an in depth study and application of the research and concepts from organizational theory. This course will cover the major strands of organization theory with applications to higher education, including organizational structure, resource dependence, institutional theory, organizational culture, strategic decision making, organizational change, socialization, and leadership.

HED 583G – Civic Engagement and Higher Education

In 2015, the American Association for State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Democracy Commitment (TDC), and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) announced a partnership to systematically advance the civic learning and democratic engagement of college students. This strategic partnership is just one result of a long history of civic engagement in U.S. higher education. The collaboration aims to build higher education cultures and contexts that foster an institutional civic ethos, student civic literacy and skill building, as well as civic inquiry, action and agency for students, faculty and institutions. This course will examine the history and underlying philosophical and theoretical dimensions of civic engagement in higher education including topics on service-learning, alternative breaks and citizenship abroad, community partnerships, social justice, the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement, Campus Compact, and civic engagement internationally. We will explore the organizational, infrastructural and programmatic implications for higher education institutions needed to advance civic and democratic engagement. Through this course, students will gain a more nuanced understanding of the civic responsibility of higher education in contemporary university-community partnerships. Upon completion of this course, students, as the next generation of student affairs and higher education professionals, will have a more holistic sense of their identities as civic professionals advancing justice and equity within higher education.

HED 585G - Higher Education Policy and Practice in Ireland

Short-term study abroad

In this course students will learn about higher education policy and practice in Ireland. During spring break, students will visit to three to five higher education institutions in Ireland – Dublin, Galway and Cork. Students will learn about the national structure of higher education in Ireland and driving national policy. We will examine issues of access and equity, student engagement and experience, community engagement, resident life, and student services and affairs in Irish higher education. We will have an opportunity to see how students are supported through visits to student affairs offices at the National University of Ireland, Galway, University College Cork, Trinity College, Dublin City University and Dublin Institute of Technology. We will learn about policy through visits to the Higher Education Authority, which is the national regulatory body as well at the Irish University Association, the representative body for Irish Universities. Students will draw comparisons between higher education policy and student affairs practice in Ireland and in the United States. *NOTE: Students self-­fund the study abroad component of this course.

HED 560G - Fellowship/Assistantship in Higher Education

Required for fellows and those in Assistantships

This course is designed to provide a dedicated space and time for discussion of issues related to the higher education fellowship. The focus of the course, in addition to the 12-­25 weekly hours spent in the fellowship or assistantship setting, is to reflect upon the experience of working in higher education, and to enable students to learn from one another in exploring the challenges and accomplishments of their work. The focus for the Spring term is to prepare students for their job search and beginning their first professional positions. Additionally, each fellow is required to meet with the instructor and their supervisor twice during the course of the semester: at the beginning and mid-­term point.

ED 580G - Directed Study

Qualified students may, with the approval of the Higher Education Program Faculty, enroll in a directed study that fulfills the requirements of a course in their approved program. A final project that demonstrates the student’s proficiency in the topic will be required. This will be done under the direction of a faculty member of the Graduate Education Department. Students must apply to undertake a directed study and receive approval from the department.