Scholar-Practitioners in HESA

Adam McCready
Photo source: Neag School of Education

The Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program in the Neag School’s Department of Educational Leadership focuses on building “Scholar-Practitioners.” HESA promotes the development of professional knowledge based on theory and practice, enhanced by personal values, lived experiences, self-reflection, and ethical conduct. 

Adam McCready, assistant professor-in-residence of Higher Education and Student Affairs, says that the term “Scholar-Practitioner” lies in the interaction between knowledge and an individual’s practice.

“The HESA Program believes that it is fundamental to a student’s success to develop an identity as a Scholar-Practitioner,” McCready says. “The field of higher education is constantly evolving. Promoting a commitment to lifelong learning and development helps folks improve as practitioners or future scholars.”

“We provide a forum for students to seek opportunities to learn and grow,” he says

McCready’s research focuses on critically examining the college student experience and offering recommendations for practice in higher education and student affairs. By engaging in service directly related to his field, he hopes to provide excellent learning to his students. He encourages students to learn from theories and create informal theories through knowledge gained from practice.

“We hope to develop reflective and inclusive Scholar-Practitioners who work to address structures that marginalize or oppress students and other stakeholders,” McCready says, “We want to create a framework for students to engage in social justice throughout their careers in higher education and beyond.”

McCready believes creating an equitable higher education landscape is a necessary and inevitable goal.

Finding Where Scholarship and Service Converge

Sade Erinfolami
Photo courtesy of Sade Erinfolami.

Sade Erinfolami ’22 MA says that “Scholar-Practitioner” is about finding where scholarship and direct student service converge and learning to use that scholarship to inform one’s practice. Erinfolami finds value in understanding the basic tenets of college student development, critical race theory, and scholarships surrounding international student support to inform her practice.

“At HESA, it was a great experience. I enjoyed my college student development course,” she says.

The HESA program encourages students to learn from direct experiences and reflect on them to master skills and principles. The experiential learning opportunities are facilitated through graduate assistantships and practicum experiences in addition to classroom learning.

As part of Erinfolami’s learning, she conducted informal research on international students and international student support. In addition, she worked at the UConn Law School in the international and graduate program.

“I got a chance to work with exchange students,” Erinfolami says. “The scholarship I found on international students’ engagement and acclimation to the American university environment was helpful.”

“This experience was beneficial in informing her practice moving forward,” she recalls.

Erinfolami also worked in the UConn Dean of Students office, as part of a practicum experience, on the UConn Storrs campus and engaged in one-on-one student advising support and case management.

“It was fantastic because I could grow my counseling, advising, and advocacy skills,” she says. “That was one of the best practical experiences. I learned to build on what we’ve learned throughout our coursework. The best thing I have gotten from the HESA program is how to be an advocate.”

Enabling Students to Become Critical Thinkers

Isaac Barber
(Photo courtesy of Isaac Barber.)

saac Barber, a HESA-affiliated graduate assistant supervisor and director of Student Union and Event Services, plays a crucial role in supporting the HESA program.

“It is important to spend time learning, refining, and building the foundation of the actual discipline instead of looking at them as mere concepts,” Barber says.

“You must provide the learning opportunities and space for people to engage. That is how I approach this work and have approached being a part of HESA as a graduate assistant supervisor,” he says.

Barber believes that the HESA program enables students to become better critical thinkers and thus better Scholar-Practitioners.

“The ‘scholar’ part of Scholar-Practitioner is important, as are the outcomes of the HESA program” says Barber. “What a student learns and how a student develops when practicing what they have learned is also important.”

“I hope students get through this program through thoughtfulness and recognizing that the answer isn’t always there,” he says. “You have to reach for it.”

HESA Faculty and Students to Present at ASHE 2019 Conference

UConn EDLR Faculty and Students are headed to Portland for the annual Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) conference being held November 13-16.  Below is a list of presentations where EDLR will be representing their research.  This information was compiled by Ashley Robinson.

Exploring Mechanisms for Faculty Agency in the Implementation of the ‘Double First-Class Initiative’ Policy in China
Wed, November 13, 3:00 to 4:15pm, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: Ballroom, Galleria South
Bin Zhang, Shaanxi Normal University
Gerardo L Blanco, University of Connecticut
In Session: Reimagining Academic Careers from a Global Perspectives

Navigating an International Researcher Formation and an Academic Career Success in the United States: Advice from Experience and Research
Thu, November 14, 8:15 to 9:45am, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: Ballroom, Grand Ballroom Parlor A/B
Including: Gerardo L Blanco, University of Connecticut
In Event: CIHE International Students and Scholars Workshop (Additional Registration Required)

Researcher Identity Formation: What Shapes your Research Interests and Agenda? (Roundtable 2)
Thu, November 14, 10:00 to 11:40am, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: Ballroom, Grand Ballroom Parlor A/B
Gerardo L Blanco, University of Connecticut
Pilar Mendoza, University of Missouri-Columbia
Tatiana Suspitsyna, The Ohio State University
In Event: CIHE International Students and Scholars Workshop (Additional Registration Required)
In Session: Developing Success Strategies and Professional Plans

“I’m the same as you, just more melanin”: Increased Structural Diversity and Anti-Blackness within Higher Education
Thu, November 14, 2:15 to 3:30pm, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: 3rd, Forum
Ajhanai Channel Inez Newton, University of Connecticut
Charles Lu, University of California – San Diego
In Session: Anti-Blackness and Violent Campus Racial Climates

Presidential Commission on Undocumented Immigrants Open Meeting
Thu, November 14, 2:15 to 3:30pm, The Duniway, Captain Gray III
H. Kenny Nienhusser, University of Connecticut (Organizer)
Susana M. Muñoz, Colorado State University–Fort Collins (Organizer)

Getting Messy and Teaching From the Heart: How Instructors Shift Their Teaching Conceptions and Practices to Teach Through Diversity
Fri, November 15, 8:15 to 9:15am, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: Plaza, Atrium Ballroom
Milagros Castillo-Montoya, University of Connecticut
Jillian Ives, University of Connecticut
Kirsten Kortz, Northern Essex Community College
In Roundtable: 9. Dangerous and Messy Lessons that Fan the Flame: Developing Justice-Oriented Staff, Faculty, & Leaders

Role of Contexts in Shaping the Implementation of Policies That Affect Undocu/DACAmented Students
Fri, November 15, 10:45am to 12:00pm, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: Ballroom, Galleria II
H. Kenny Nienhusser, University of Connecticut
Chelsea Connery, University of Connecticut
In Session: Policy Implementation as a Tool to Achieve Educational Equity in the Community College Context

Free Speech Worship as Racial Oppression: A Critical Whiteness Analysis of Speech Rights in U.S. Higher Education
Ashley N. Robinson, University of Connecticut
Fri, November 15, 2:15 to 3:30pm, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: Plaza, Broadway II
In Session: Free Speech: Institutional Responses & Student Activism

“Why the Caged Bird Sings” in the Academy: Reimagining What Counts as Knowledge in Higher Education
Fri, November 15, 2:15 to 3:30pm, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: Plaza, Pavilion Ballroom West
Milagros Castillo-Montoya, University of Connecticut
Thandi Sule, Oakland University
Truth Hunter, Connecticut College
William Corey Moore, University of Connecticut

Coalitional Work and Collective Agency: Breaking Boundaries that Perpetuate Inequity and Injustice (Presidential Session)
Sat, November 16, 1:30 to 2:45pm, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: 23rd, Skyline II
Gerardo L Blanco, University of Connecticut
Roman Liera, University of Southern California
Gary Rhoades, University of Arizona
Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Fraternities as Settings for Sexual Assault: An Examination of the Relationships of Traditional Norm Masculine Norms Climates, Alcohol Consumption Climates, and Sexual Assault Mindsets
Sat, November 16, 3:00 to 4:15pm, Hilton Portland Downtown, Floor: Plaza, Broadway II
Adam M. McCready, University of Connecticut
Sarah Cohen
Gentry R McCreary, Dyad Strategies LLC
Joshua Schutts, University of West Florida
In Session: Reconceptualizing Normative Masculinities in College

Compiled list of EDLR Presenters during ASHE 2019 Conference. Details are embedded into text of post.