HESA Curriculum

The curriculum of HESA is designed to empower students with the knowledge and understanding necessary to enter the student affairs profession. With a core of courses designed to introduce students to the foundations of student affairs and higher education, students will gain an understanding of the historical, philosophical, cultural, and sociological underpinnings that inform today’s student affairs profession.

The curriculum is structured so that students will complete the core courses with the same cohort of students. In the second year of the program, students will be able to explore areas of personal interest with electives and supervised practical experience.

The HESA Curriculum

Semester 1

Semester 2

  • EDLR-5103 Assessment, Evaluation, and Research in Student Affairs II
    Application of assessment and evaluation research methodologies to address genuine problems in student affairs contexts.
  • EDLR-5117 The College Student
    Characteristics of today’s college students and the impact that student behavior theory has on college students. This course will also analyze the most recent student development theories that are employed by student affairs practitioners.
  • EDLR-5119 The Law, Ethics, and Decision Making in Student Affairs
    Survey of case law and statutory provisions related to higher education with a focus on student affairs administration. Students will develop an understanding of ethical decision making and its application to relevant student affairs scenarios.
  • EDLR-5092 Practicum in Higher Education
    Provides an opportunity for students to become familiar with the functions and tasks that administrators perform.

Semester 3

Semester 4

  • EDLR-5118 Seminar in Higher Education
    Designed to promote the integration of the core curriculum and practitioner experiences of the masters degree program in Higher Education and Student Affairs and to prepare students for their transitions to a professional position within student affairs upon graduation.
  • EDLR-5107 Resource Management Issues in Student Affairs
    Analysis of higher education resource development and management with an emphasis on issues in student affairs administration; including, financial management and analysis, human resource management, and management of information technology resources.
  • Elective

Possible Electives

The following courses are possible selections available to HESA students. Other elective options exist across a variety of academic departments. All courses require permission of the instructor:

  • EDLR-5094 International Dimensions of Higher Education and Student Affairs
    The course begins with accreditation and governance issues for universities in the US and overseas.  The course concludes with an in-depth analysis of the student experience while abroad– both global experiences for US students and also the experience of international students coming to the US. [To Be Determined – Based on HESA International Experience Funding]
  • EDLR-5201 Influences on Adult Learning
    Addresses Interaction of person and environment, Culture, Role of environment, Situational barriers, Motivation, Self-regulation, Personality, Gender, Life transitions, and Self-directed learning.
  • EDLR-5202 Workplace Learning
    Trends in workplace learning and workforce development. Conceptual models of performance improvement and transfer of training. Focus on individual, work team, and organizational variables related to learning, performance, and transfer of training.
  • EDLR-5203 Adult and Experiential Learning
    How experience enhances learning. Addresses Reflection, Problem solving, Analogical mapping, Deliberate practice, Development of expertise, and Design of staff/professional development.
  • EDLR-5204 Organizational Learning
    Group and collective learning in organizational settings, with an emphasis on adaptive and generative learning processes.
  • EDLR-5205 Professional Development
    How adults learn best and principles of human resource development to implement effective, job imbedded professional development programs.

Students may also choose approved electives from other departments at the University.

  • EPSY-5306 Principles of Career Development in Counseling
    Career development and career psychology with adolescents and adults.

For a complete listing of course descriptions, please see the UConn Graduate Catalog.




Course Descriptions

EDLR-5092.020 Practicum in Higher Education – Semester 1

The practicum is designed for students to learn about the theoretical and practical foundations of effective facilitation and the design of intentional learning environments. Students will also function as a discussion group facilitator for advanced student leadership development workshops sponsored by the University of Connecticut’s Department of Student Activities. For the first five weeks of the semester, students will attend classes focused on experiential learning, culturally relevant pedagogy, group development, universal design, reflection, and program design. Students will be responsible for the creation of a 5-week workshop series on a topic for a group of undergraduate student leaders. For the second 5 weeks, HESA students will work in pairs to facilitate five weekly workshops for small groups of UConn undergraduate student leaders. Each small group will be comprised of student leaders (5-10 students in each group). These groups will meet each week, for five weeks, on the same topic. HESA students will be broken into small groups and will be assisted by a coach (Student Affairs practitioners who have volunteered their time and expertise). Coaching groups will meet once a week with the designated coach during the five-week workshop series. Coaching groups and coaches will meet regularly with the instructors.

EDLR-5092.017 Practicum in Higher Education – Semester 3

HESA second required on-site practicum experience.  As a result of participating in practicum, students will be able to achieve learning outcomes designed to enhance both the practicum site and the student’s professional development.  Additionally, students will be able to analyze what organizational cultures fit the practicum, their values, and professional aspirations. “Reflective practice is a deliberate pause to assume an open perspective, to allow for higher-level thinking processes. Practitioners use these processes for examining beliefs, goals, and practices, to gain new or deeper understandings that lead to actions that improve [practice]” (York-Barr, Sommers, Ghere, & Montie, 2001, p. 6).

EDLR-5102 Assessment, Evaluation, and Research in Student Affairs I

This course introduces students to concepts and methods for understanding, conducting, and utilizing assessment, program evaluation, and research.

EDLR-5105 Structured Group Dialogue in Student Affairs

The purpose of this course is to explore basic approaches to structured intergroup and intragroup dialogue, as well as group dynamics, and consider the implications for personal, professional and educational development of students and student affairs professionals. Students in the course will be guided through a four-phase process for intergroup dialogue.

EDLR-5108 Leadership Challenges in Higher Education

This course covers the application of leadership theories to challenges faced by higher education professionals. By developing inclusive leadership philosophies and techniques, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, students will learn to identify difficult situations and crises, provide
leadership for crisis management, and utilize methods of managing communication regarding incidents.

EDLR-5122 College Student Development: Programs and Services

In this course, we will focus on building knowledge about the profession of student affairs within higher education and how professionals facilitate services and programs that enable student access, engagement, and success. We will also spend time throughout the semester critically analyzing contemporary issues in higher education and student affairs. Moreover, this course is designed to help students begin developing learning skills to be successful in the HESA graduate program and within the student affairs profession. As an introductory course, this learning experience will provide a foundation for lifelong learning about the profession and oneself as a student affairs educator.

EDLR-5126 Leading Toward a Multicultural Educational Environment

The purpose of this course is to expose students to issues of difference in higher education particularly as it relates to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and other cultural differences. In this course, we seek to understand the social and historical contexts in our
country shaping colleges and universities, students, administrators, and faculty in terms of equity, diversity, social justice, and inclusion. We seek to understand also how colleges and universities as institutions respond to, lead, and struggle with issues of difference in an effort to broaden their diversity and to make it a meaningful part of the college experience (i.e., achieving the educational benefits of diversity). As we consider colleges and universities as institutions, we also examine how individuals (agents) who work at these institutions (i.e., faculty and administrators) play a role in achieving or thwarting equity, diversity and inclusion through their everyday practices. In this course, we challenge ourselves to consider our personal and collective responsibility in creating inclusive and diverse college environments that aim to produce equitable outcomes. We consider also the experiences of a variety of individuals on college campuses (students, administrators, and faculty) with emphasis on racialized experiences given the historical context of U.S. colleges and universities.