Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) Leadership Concentration Additional Information

HESA End of Year Party

The higher education and student affairs (HESA) concentration in the Master of Arts in educational leadership in the Department of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology at Western Michigan University 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 higher education and student affairs 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. The higher education and student affairs (HESA) curriculum meets CAS standards for masters-level student affairs preparation programs. Students also develop professional competency areas for student affairs practitioners through the 39-credit hour coursework including two distinct, site-based field experiences and completion of the performance-driven leadership portfolio. 

Find links to frequently asked questions, admissions, courses and resources for current students here.

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The higher education and student affairs (HESA) concentration at WMU prepares practitioner-scholars who:

  • Have the knowledge and skills to enhance student learning and development in a variety of higher education environments.
  • Recognize the centrality of diversity and inclusiveness to higher education.
  • Are able to effectively and ethically lead and serve in a dynamic educational culture.

About the college, university, and Kalamazoo area

Learning outcomes

Through the successful completion of coursework and supervised field practice, graduates of WMU's higher education and student affairs (HESA) leadership concentration will be able to:

  • Describe the dynamic roles and functional areas of higher education and student affairs work.
  • Articulate the influence of the philosophical foundations and historical documents on current and future issues of professional practice.
  • Integrate awareness and knowledge of historically marginalized and/ or underserved student populations in all areas of professional practice.
  • Articulate an ethical framework to guide one’s leadership functions in professional practice.
  • Apply theory to inform professional practice in higher education settings.
  • Formulate a philosophy of practice guided by the values and professional standards.
  • Engage in the process of research, program design, evaluation, and assessment within the context of higher education.
  • Reflect upon one's professional competencies and the value of engaging in continuous professional development.

Partnerships and collaborations

The higher education and student affairs (HESA) program values our partnerships and collaborations with numerous Western Michigan University divisions, departments, offices and programs as well as community partners.

We are also proud to have collaborations with professionals at local colleges and universities in the Southwest Michigan area like Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kellogg Community College, Lake Michigan College, Calvin College, Glenn Oaks Community College, Hope College, and Southwest Michigan College,  (and the list grows each year) who offer our students graduate assistantships, field and capstone experiences, and opportunities for networking and mentoring.