Fall 2021 Alumni Welcome from Program Coordinator

(Photo courtesy of Kenny Nienhusser)

Dear HESA UConn Alumni,

Greetings from Storrs! I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones well as we grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to engulf our lives. 

I thought to begin my inaugural newsletter as HESA Program Coordinator with a story I enjoy sharing with prospective and incoming students. While UConn is composed of about 40,000 members, the acronym “HESA” is widely recognized on our campuses. 

When I arrived at UConn, over three years ago I would reveal my affiliation with HESA with colleagues across our campus and they immediately recognized our program, and often they would share how they were connected to our Program (most often through current and/or past students who had assistantship and/or practicum in their offices). I share this experience because our community is a special place and you have contributed to that legacy—working at your assistantship, engaging in your practicum, connecting with and supporting the thousands of students who made their way to our offices, participating in campus activities, and countless other ways. That legacy is the foundation we use to continue to strengthen our program and develop HESA professionals to be the next generation of change agents on our college campuses and in our society.

Now, let me transition to some program updates. In true HESA fashion, there has been much going on in our vibrant community in recent months. This semester we greeted our first- and second-year cohorts to campus for our welcome events, which were held in person in late August. Our first-year cohort has a slightly adjusted program of study, including some revised titles of our course. You can view those modifications here

Recently, the HESA faculty decided to pursue a pilot admission process, which makes some slight adjustments to how we have admitted students in the past. While this pilot admissions process unfolds, we remain committed to support the learning, development and growth of HESA students as practitioners who are grounded in our field’s scholarship. In particular, we strongly believe that practical experiences in higher education and student affairs are vital to the learning and success of our students, and are committed to identifying and placing HESA students in graduate assistantships, practica, and other professional experiences relevant to our HESA practice. I encourage you read that information in this edition of HESA Happenings.

We are actively recruiting for our UConn HESA Class of 2024. Please encourage interested students to attend one of our upcoming information sessions scheduled for Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 5:30pm EDT and Tuesday, Nov 16, 2021, 8:30pm EST. More information about our program and admissions process, including how to sign up for an information session, can be found here

Last academic year the HESA faculty was successful in getting a new PhD concentration approved—Higher Education, Racial Justice, and Decolonization—in the department’s Learning, Leadership, and Education Policy Program. The title and focus of our concentration align with ACPA’s Strategic Imperative for Racial Justice and Decolonization. We are actively recruiting students for that new program; if you are interested or know of people who might be interested please encourage them to explore our program. More information about the new Higher Education, Racial Justice, and Decolonization PhD concentration can be found here. General inquiries about the new PhD concentration can be sent to Dr. Saran Stewart.

While the faculty have been busy with (re)envisioning our curriculum, programs, and processes, they continue to excel in our field and on our campus. Their work is truly inspirational and at the core of that work is disrupting persistent and systemic inequities in Higher Education while also making campuses more welcoming spaces, especially for minoritized students, including at UConn.

We are launching some new initiatives to further engage with you, our alumni. We want to know about all the great things happening in your worlds—good news, publications, promotions/new jobs, programs developed, and more. To let us know, please complete our HESA Insider. We plan to highlight some of these good news on our social media accounts, website, and/or future newsletters. 

Another way to get involved with our program is to consider hosting a practicum opportunity for a current student. We are currently collecting practicum opportunities for the spring 2022 term. Practica can be in-person or virtual, so if you are an alumni a far distance from Storrs, this is your opportunity to supervise and mentor a current UConn HESA student. To see more information about hosting a practicum opportunity and how to submit a potential site you can go here. If you have any inquiries about how to host a practicum opportunity, please contact Dr. Adam McCready.

Also, I encourage you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We enjoy hearing about all the wonderful work you are doing, so do contact us via email and/or by tagging us on social media.

Wishing you a positive conclusion to 2021 and that 2022 brings you health, happiness, and more good news for you to share with the UConn HESA community!

Take care . . . cuídense!

Kenny Nienhusser, EdD (él, he, him, his)

Associate Professor and Program Coordinator, Higher Education and Student Affairs

Faculty Director, La Comunidad Intelectual

Fall 2020 HESA Director’s Welcome

Dear HESA Family,

As the season changes and we enter into the crisper and cooler months, I want to send a warm and heartfelt welcome to our HESA community. This Fall semester is different from any other we have experienced before given the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and surge of anti-Blackness racism in the US. More than ever, the student affairs professional is being asked to redefine their role and re-conceptualize programming and activities to both combat anti-Blackness, simultaneously contend with the spread of a pandemic and traverse virtual and racial battle fatigue.

Throughout it all, the HESA faculty continues to excel, lead and set an example in the field of higher education and student affairs with their scholarship, leadership and activism. I invite you to visit our HESA website to see all they have been engaged with and accomplished. They work tirelessly to prepare for a virtual Fall semester and like many of us, have had to pivot, become more agile and adapt to our “new” normal. I would like to welcome both Drs. Frank Tuitt and Adam McCready to the team as well as our graduate assistant Ashley Robinson. We are excited to have this stellar compliment of scholar-practitioners within the HESA program.

This year, we hosted our first virtual academic welcome and welcome back retreat for both cohorts of students. Our admissions cycle went live in September and we are actively preparing for our upcoming informational webinars. Our first HESA Prospective Student Webinar will be held on October 13 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

The HESA program continues to engage in curriculum renewal and we will announce some exciting changes to our program in the near future. As we strive to engage our students in transforming theory to practice, the program faculty decided to sign up for a program-wide registration for this year’s ACPA21 Virtual Convention. This means that all students and faculty in our program will be able to participate in the convention, which will take place from March 1-17, 2021. The registration also includes a complimentary 1-year membership for master-students who are not currently not members.

Lastly, I want to thank our graduate assistantship and practicum site supervisors, who continue to provide invaluable on-site training and professional development for our students. Without you, our program would not be complete. As we all continue to pivot and adjust to a constantly changing climate, I ask that we show grace, support and care for each member of our community. I wish for you and your loved ones continued good health, safety and wellness.

Saran Stewart, Ph.D.
HESA Program

Saran Steward, headshot

HESA Happenings Newsletter – Spring 2017 Edition

HESA Happenings Newsletter – Spring 2017 Edition

Note from the Director

Spring 2017 has been filled with much activity here at HESA. We had a competitive pool of applicants apply to the program, and 18 of the 19 have already committed to the program as part of the Class of 2019 cohort. So far we have over individuals across 12 states and 1 international student. Our incoming class, as well as our returning second years will have orientation and their second year retreat on Monday, August 21st. In addition, we had a few additional updates in this newsletter including information on the director search, a recap of interview weekend, an overview of HESA programming, updates from UCSAA, information on upcoming events and courses, as well as information on how to donate to the Dr. Sue Saunders Professional Development Funds. We also have a special spotlight on Ryan Baldassario ‘16 who shares some insights one year post-graduation. <read more>