The Master of Arts in Higher Education Program

Colleges and universities, as well as society, are changing at an accelerated rate. Tomorrow’s higher education leaders must know how postsecondary institutions are organized, how to lead strategically, and how to provide programs and experiences that prepare students to thrive in a rapidly changing, diverse and inter-connected world. Much of the knowledge and many of the strategies used to address the challenges that confronted higher education institutions in the past must be adapted or transformed to optimize student learning and the institutional health of today’s colleges and universities. In addition to foundational knowledge, effective contemporary higher education leaders must also possess self-awareness; demonstrate the ability to think critically about their work; advocate on issues of social justice, oppression, privilege and power; know how to achieve consensus working in diverse teams; and have an entrepreneurial mind-set to creatively solve complex issues as they emerge. Elon’s Master of Arts in Higher Education is designed to cultivate these professional competencies.

As one of the preeminent campuses for active, engaged learning, Elon University is uniquely positioned to develop the next generation of higher education leaders. Master of Arts in Higher Education (MHE) students “learn through doing,” participating in a rigorous program in which curricular and co-curricular components complement and deepen each other. Student learning is enriched through the application of classroom knowledge to real world situations and hands-on learning. Highlights of the MHE program include: a paid apprenticeship in a campus program that offers guided experiential learning and the opportunity to connect theory and practice; two required internships that can be completed at Elon or another higher education organization; a cohort-based, short-term study away experience; a curricular focus on high impact educational practices shown to be beneficial to student learning; guidance and financial support in the development and implementation of a personalized professional development plan; and a team-based capstone project that addresses an authentic problem in a campus department or program. MHE students are challenged to integrate their new knowledge with their previous learning and experiences to understand how they can be leaders for change in the diverse world of higher education.

MHE students are members of a diverse cohort, engaging in a common curriculum taught by faculty and university administrators who are experts in their fields. The examination of real and emerging situations on college campuses provides context for the application of cutting-edge theories and practices. Students’ diverse out-of-class experiences (e.g., apprenticeships, internships) bring different perspectives to the cohort and classroom. Monthly colloquia offer structured opportunities for students and faculty to learn from and discuss hot topics and trends in higher education. The required apprenticeship allows students to integrate into the fabric of the university through deeply mentored relationships and significant university projects. Elon’s strong emphasis on relationships and community provide students with multiple opportunities to see up close and discuss programs, plans, and issues with campus leaders as they unfold, such as how the university handles critical issues that arise, makes strategic plans for the institution’s future, and manages key functions and events. Students are embraced by professionals and campus leaders at all levels to be part of the community, to have opportunities to learn and develop, and to create professional networks and opportunities for their futures.





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