Course Descriptions

All courses are 4-credits, unless otherwise noted.

HED 6100 – 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.

HED 6130 – Supervision in Higher Education (2 credits)

This course will explore keys to supervision as it intersects with human capital development, as outlined in the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies Rubrics. Students will learn the components of effective supervision, explore their own personal style of supervision, and develop strategies to empower staff and build teams. Through case studies, video clips, role-play, articles, and discussion, students will engage in hands-on assignments and activities to gain practical skills.

HED 6150 – Assessment in Student Affairs and Higher Education (2 credits)

This course will examine the role of assessment in student affairs and higher education, and provide a foundational introduction to designing and implementing assessment plans as an integral element of program development. A brief examination of the context driving the current Accountability Era, including questions from government entities and the public regarding the value of higher education to its students, grounds dialogue around the importance of identifying appropriate strategies across an institution to demonstrate impact. Students will study conceptual models for assessment, direct and indirect measures, learning goals and assessment design, and analysis and application of results. Case studies and exploration of current events will foster understanding of applying ethical standards when implementing assessment and collaborating with stakeholders across campus. The course will be oriented towards preparing students for entry level roles in student affairs and other administrative functional areas, but will briefly explore assessment issues in academic affairs and faculty life, senior leadership, governance, and regional accreditation. Students will apply their learning to designing an assessment plan for a program or activity within an administrative unit on Merrimack’s campus.

HED 6140 – Diversity and Social Justice in Higher Education

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.

HED 6310 – 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 6320 – 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 6340 – Advanced Social Justice in Higher Education

This course prepares Master’s students in the Merrimack College Higher Education Program for the work of advancing social justice in higher education. Building on the course concepts and constructs introduced in ED640: Diversity and Social Justice in Higher Education, students will engage in case study analysis and problem-based learning of current social justice and diversity issues on college campuses. This course will introduce students to five specific cases where institutions engaged with social justice issues and/or the advancement of social justice, enabling them to engage them in applying social justice theories to practice. The focus is on using evidence based approaches to further the enactment of equity and justice in higher education. Prerequisite HED 6140.

HED 6350 – 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 6370 – 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 6510/6515 – Fellowship/Assistantship in Higher Education (2- or 4-credits)

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.

HED 6850 – Capstone in Higher Education

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 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.

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