This fall Abilene Christian University launched a new 36-hour master's degree program in higher education, with an emphasis in college student affairs. Housed in the College of Education and Human Services, the program is designed to prepare students for careers in higher education settings.
The program began with a class of 10 students who form a cohort group. The cohort will take all of their courses together throughout the M.Ed. program.
In addition to in-class instruction, the students will also work outside of the classroom as they complete 300 hours of supervised practicum experience. This practicum opportunity will allow them to gain hands-on training in higher education and expose them to possible areas within an institution that they may want to work in after graduation, said Dr. Jason Morris, program director of the M.Ed. in Higher Education.
"A strong foundation has been set for this program," said Morris. "We have an outstanding first cohort who, after their training, will make a significant impact in higher education institutions around the country."
This new masters degree program is distinct from other programs in the field because students will learn how to integrate the role of Christian faith into their work as higher education professionals. Students will also create an e-portfolio and have the option of incorporating an international experience into their graduate education.
We want to produce students with a global view," said Morris. "Studying abroad allows the students to look at different higher education systems, compare the systems to ours, and figure out how our system can be more effective."
Each student is also required to complete a capstone project that requires the integration of all concepts mastered throughout the program. Upon completion of the program, students will be knowledgeable about finance in higher education, intercultural issues, conflict resolution, assessment and evaluation, student development, legal and ethical issues, and student spiritual formation.
In 2007, the program is scheduled to add a professional degree plan designed for professionals who have full-time jobs in higher education. The professional track will be slower-paced and offer evening, weekend, and summer classes.