New Higher Education Master’s Degree Offered – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

New Higher Education Master’s Degree Offered

Program focuses on student identity, social justice and change   

With a focus on systematic change and social justice, a new Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership program will begin in the fall.

Building off Hobart and William Smith’s robust Educational Studies major and Teacher Education Program, the two-year master’s program analyzes and critiques the histories and policies of higher education, identifies the ways in which students can act on their personal commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion, and creates opportunities to investigate leadership and innovation techniques. Students will leave the program with a holistic knowledge of contemporary undergraduate student experiences, how higher education policies affect those experiences and how to create solutions to resolve issues surrounding policies.

Unlike other education leadership programs, the HWS Master of Arts focuses on leadership for tight-knit, liberal arts college settings. 

“We want this program to be out in front and ready professionals to support contemporary college students,” says Amy Forbes, the director of the Centennial Center and the chair of the new program. 

A key part of the program is the graduate assistantship. To gain professional, hands-on experience that prepares them for future careers, students can apply for competitive assistantships that will allow them to embed within HWS offices including Residential Life, Student Engagement and Admissions. In return, students who earn a graduate assistantship will receive free tuition and a $20,000 stipend. There are currently seven graduate assistantships available for the fall 2022 semester.

“Much of leadership in higher education is creative problem-solving,” says Associate Provost for Curricular Initiatives and Development and Professor of Education Jamie MaKinster. “But in order to address problems effectively, one needs to have a strong understanding of the context, the people involved, and the resources at hand. By immersing students in a combination of courses and applied experiences, students in the program will develop their ability to think on their feet and work with others, leading to productive and viable programs or solutions.” 

Courses include “Student Identity, Development and Belonging,” which reviews and deconstructs long held theories of college students’ experiences and “History of Disability in Higher Education,” which looks at disability on college campuses through a social justice lens. Other course topics include the history and politics of higher education, higher education administration leadership and student identities. 

Upon graduation, students will be ready for a variety of entry-level and middle-management positions in college or university settings such as student affairs, service learning, athletics and advancement or with policymaking organizations.