Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership Concentration


Application for 2020-2021

We look forward to reviewing applications for the class of Fall 2021. The early decision deadline is December 15, 2020; however given COVID-19 considerations we know that students will be in flux and thus are flexible with our admissions and processes during the coming year. Prospective HESA  students are encouraged to reach out to the HESA program to discuss your interest at elrt-hesa@wmich.edu. For information on admissions, visit the admissions requirement section.   

HESA Leadership Interview Days 2021 held in early Spring 2021 will provide an opportunity for students who apply by the priority deadline to participate. This program is designed to introduce admitted applicants to WMU, HESA, and the greater Kalamazoo community; students can also apply and interview for graduate assistant (GA) positions. For more information visit our admissions section of the website. The program may be held virtually due to COVID-19 considerations. 

HESA Program Description

The higher education and student affairs (HESA) concentration in the Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program focuses on developing reflective practitioners for entry- and mid-level positions in higher education. The program emphasizes a practitioner-scholar model to combine a broad-based student development and leadership theory core with required individualized field experiences. Distinctive to the program is an emphasis on the centrality of diversity and inclusiveness in higher education. One of the ways this is actualized is through a required and individually designed diversity cognate. Learn more about the higher education and student affairs leadership concentration.

Why choose WMU HESA?

  • A small-cohort based feel.
  • We are one of the oldest student affairs graduate programs in the U.S.A. - that means we have a history and an alumni network.
  • Can be completed full-time (in 2-years) or part-time (individually sequenced to fit your needs).
  • Practical, hands-on internships that help you network and get you closer to your dream job. 
  • Emphasizes student development and leadership for a diverse society using coursework, the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and internships.
  • International internships available as well as study abroad to Canada, Malaysia, India & more!
  • Integrates CAS standards and the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency areas.
  • Our graduates find jobs!
  • Faculty who are highly involved with students, connected to the profession, and engaged in research.  

prospective students

Are you considering applying to graduate school in higher education and student affairs? We consider the application process an educational one and encourage prospective students to explore the profession of student affairs as well as find out more about our HESA program to ensure a good fit. Department chair, Dr. Donna Talbot, and second year graduate student, Alex Cicalese, discuss what sets WMU's HESA program apart.

In addition, various sections of our website have information about exploring the professionprogram mission and goals, admissions requirementscourses and answers to frequently asked questions. For more information, contact: elrt_hesa@wmich.edu

Application information

To ensure priority and full review of your higher education and student affairs application (certificate and cohort), and to be eligible for higher education and student affairs leadership interview days, please complete all parts of your application and make sure they reach us, including references, no later than Dec. 15 of each year. All applicants, including WMU graduates, are highly encouraged to submit an "unoffical" transcript from the institution where the undergraduate degree was awarded-this is in addition to the required official transcript request. Applicants can submit this material in the online WMU application system. This will speed up the review of your application due to the extended time needed to process official transcripts.  Generally, students who apply by the deadline will be notified by late January. 

Certificate in higher education and student affairs

The certificate in higher education and student affairs is designed for full-time professionals working in student affairs or related administrative areas who do not have the academic background or training in higher education, or graduate students enrolled in another master’s program who demonstrate commitment to and experience working in higher education.

» More information on the certificate in higher education and student affairs

Course information

Program information for current students

Frequently asked questions

In frequently asked questions you can learn more about the program, career opportunities, interview days and more!

More information

For inquiries about the higher education and student affairs program, please contact the faculty coordinator, Dr. Ramona Lewis, at elrt-hesa@wmich.edu.


The HESA alumni are around the world. We love to hear from you. Alumni information, contact forms, opportunities to get involved and the HESA alumni newsletters are below.

Spring 2019 HESA newsletter

Spring 2018 HESA newsletter

Fall 2016 HESA newsletter

HESA students do amazing things! If you would like to support HESA student scholarships, programs and community development, we would love to hear from you. There are three funds that directly support HESA Students. Visit: https://secure.wmualumni.org/s/give

  • Select amount and frequency
  • Click “search all available funds
  • In the “search for an area to support” box, enter name of fund or the specific code, for example: HESA or Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership Development Fund

Funds related to HESA:

  • SGRI (Paul and Phyllis Griffeth Student Affairs Scholarship) – Supports scholarships for current student recipient demonstrating outstanding promise as a student affairs professional. View past recipients
  • HESA (Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership Development Fund) - Supports HESA student programming including student events and leadership activities.
  • EGEH (Global Engagement in Higher Education Endowment) – Supports scholarships for activities that will enhance global awareness and participation


  • Dr. Ramona Lewis,  faculty specialist II, Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology, HESA faculty program coordinator 
  • Dr. Eric Archerassociate professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology 
  • Dr.Regina Garza Mitchell, associate professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
  • Dr. Donna Talbot, professor and chair, Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

Part-time faculty affiliates