ASU invites applications for master's degree in higher education leadership

(05-08-2018)

Adams State University's Master of Arts degree program in Higher Education Administration and Leadership invites applications for a new cohort beginning in fall 2018. The program is now under the umbrella of the Department of Counselor Education and Higher Education.

Initiated in 2010, HEAL is designed for people who work in minority serving institutions. "As the nation becomes more diverse, we need to have leaders in higher education who better understand the students we're trying to serve," said Dr. Melissa L. Freeman, program director. She holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Ohio University.

HEAL is a two-year, 36-credit master's degree program taught online by Hispanic Serving Institution leaders and higher education faculty from across the nation. The program also includes an on-campus residency and a leadership summit. For those who already hold a master's degree, HEAL offers the Executive Leadership Institute, an 18-credit post-master's certificate program.

"There are now more than 400 HSIs, and that number is increasing rapidly," Freeman said. HSI is a federal designation for higher education institutions with at least 25 percent Hispanic enrollment. Adams State was Colorado's first HSI and has a current undergraduate Hispanic enrollment of 35 percent. "Nearly two-thirds of all Latino/a students attend HSIs, but across higher education Hispanics represent only 5 percent of institutional administrators and less than 4 percent of faculty," she pointed out.

Freeman noted that changing the face of higher education leadership is key to increasing the proportion of Hispanics completing post-secondary education, which will be necessary to meet the country's labor needs by 2020. Hispanics constitute the nation's fastest growing demographic and are projected to represent 31% of the total U.S. population by 2060.

"We need to better understand and mirror the student population. HEAL takes into account diversity, cultural differences, and cultural needs. We believe we can grow this program," said Dr. Mark Manzanares, chair of the Department of Counselor Education and Higher Education.

Adams State developed HEAL through a two-year, $300,000 grant from The Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education in its Special Focus Competition for Graduate Programs at Institutions of Higher Education Serving Hispanic Americans. It was one of 30 grants awarded totaling $8.2 million.