Higher education MSE program ranked among the best

HAYS, Kan. – Started in 2013, the Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in higher education student affairs has become one of the fastest growing programs at Fort Hays State University.

The first year the concentration was only offered to on-campus students but is now offered to virtual students as well. FHSU’s HESA program was just ranked as the best experiential learning by OnlineMasters.com, which analyzed every online masters in higher education in the nation.

“While all of our programs in the department are online, our HESA program is unique in that it is offered fully as either an online program or a face-to-face program.” said Dr. Brooke Moore, interim chair for the Department of Advanced Education Programs.

This semester, the program had 24 on-campus and 48 virtual students.

“The program is successful because of the high quality of our program and the price point we are able to offer it,” said Dr. Edward Hammond, professor for Advanced Education Programs. “Our program was built on the research by NASPA that identified 10 core competencies of successful student affairs administrators.”

Each class in the program is built around one of the 10 competencies. 

“One really unique part of our program is the amount of faculty who have been practitioners in full-time student affairs positions currently, as well as some who have worked for FHSU in the past,” said Ashley Templeton, current graduate student.

Many students enrolled in this program are already working on a college campus and wish to further their education to continue their career in higher education.

“Having full-time professionals share their experience with us is valuable beyond measure as we are learning from individuals who are in the shoes we hope to fill one day at institutions around the country,” said Templeton.

FHSU promotes experiential learning in HESA through the implementation of two practicums where students must work with a university or college for 150 hours on projects or activities that address four of the competencies.

“Another really awesome part about the HESA program at FHSU is a requirement of our degree is to have two practicums throughout our time here,” said Templeton.

“We are able to place candidates from the HESA program in student affairs internships here at FHSU, but also around the state and nationally,” said Moore.

Students who study in this concentration must prove in a final portfolio presentation that they have grown in all 10 of the competency areas.

“I don’t know of another program that has that kind of integrated commitment to a competency based practice,” said Hammond.

The ranking can be found at https://www.onlinemasters.com/best-degree-programs/education/higher-education/.

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