You will complete your master’s program with a culminating experience to showcase the knowledge you’ve gained through the program. You can chose from three options — a practicum, research thesis, or a comprehensive test of your knowledge.
With a practicum, you'll earn hands-on experience relevant to your career goals and geographical location. You will be exposed to an area of higher education to acquire experience and competencies that prepare you for your career aspirations.
Your practicum coordinator and site mentor will assist you in developing goals and objectives for your experience. Your site mentor will provide high-quality experiences to achieve those goals.
The practicum experience provides you with a 100-hour exposure to an area of your interest in Higher Education Administration and allows you to apply your knowledge in a college or university setting under supervision.
The part-time work experience enables you to organize, synthesize and process new information using cognitive, affective and physical learning.
The experience gives you time to practice and modify your knowledge and skills. In addition to gaining insight regarding the operation of a functional area of higher education, practicum students gain a view of the inter-relationship among associated functional areas. A practicum may also serve to generate, develop and refine skills in program development, administration, research and other aspects of higher education.
The program is flexible regarding selection of practicum sites. We are most interested in establishing practicum sites that will provide good learning experiences for students in line with their interests and future career goals, as well as the opportunity for students to apply knowledge gained from their coursework.
The selection of an appropriate practicum site is important. Care should be exercised to ensure an optimal site placement, which will both inform and challenge the student’s abilities. Students should refer to their individual Professional Development Plans (PDP), Dispositions assessments, and Competencies assessments, and consider particular practicum sites and student learning goals (From the introduction to higher education class, Higher Education Administration 604) that will help them to strengthen the areas in which they are in need of growth or improvement.
The site mentor must hold a Master’s degree or higher to supervise the practicum student. Students are responsible for identifying a site and site mentor at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the practicum and should provide the faculty practicum coordinator with a signed and completed Memorandum and Agreement, including three measurable goals.
A student may not use their current position to fulfill the practicum requirement. However, a student may engage in a practicum placement in the same office/organization where they are employed as long as the practicum duties are different from regular employment obligations. It is recommended that the site mentor is a person other than the employee’s/student’s supervisor.
Our hope is that if a student has work experience in Academic Affairs, for example, that they choose a practicum site in a Student Affairs or Administrative Affairs unit or department. We encourage students to find a practicum site outside of their comfort zone that will stretch their competencies and enhance their resume in regard to skills and experiences. In that same vein, if a student has spent most of their time on a four-year campus, they are encouraged to seek a practicum site at a two-year institution.
Finally, if most experience has been gained working at a public institution, then perhaps a private college or university would be a good site for the practicum. Keep in mind, however, that no matter where the practicum site is located, the school must be an accredited higher education institution (Higher Learning Commission accreditation).
The thesis option involves the design and implementation of empirical research. You will design a study, obtain or develop data collection tools, conduct your study, analyze the results, and write your findings. You select your own thesis topic you are passionate about that contributes to the higher education field.
The Written Comprehensive Examination option is a final exam that you take home and work on during a specified period of time, pre-determined by the Higher Education Administration program. This exam evaluates your basic knowledge about the courses you’ve taken.