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Students pursuing the Higher Education Foundations Certificate (HEFC) are introduced to the concept of institutional heterogeneity, core concepts in student development theory and budget philosophies, strategies, and structures. They augment this understanding through selecting one of three leadership courses with a focus ranging from the individual – to the organization – to the institution, or with a multi-level focus that examines issues of diversity and inclusion. HEFC students choose an area of interest in which to delve through taking a higher education elective.

Five courses, as described below, are required to earn the Higher Education Foundations Certificate.

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Proseminar in Higher Education

This course focuses on current and ongoing issues in the American higher education system. Students are introduced to a variety of areas of professional endeavor, such as enrollment management, student affairs, athletics administration and others. They explore major issues and policies, including affirmative action, college access, and governance and mission of different institutional types. They also have the opportunity to meet senior-level professionals in a variety of higher education positions.

The College Student

This course explores the characteristics of today’s college students and reviews the literature on student development theory, which describes the developmental challenges (e.g., cognitive, psychosocial and identity) facing college students and how students change while in college. A secondary focus looks at how multiple identities influence student development. Students have opportunities to apply theory to practice.

Budgeting and Finance in Higher Education

This course comprehensively addresses the budget process in colleges and universities, along with the impact of budget activities on all areas of institutional planning and operations. Students enhance their ability to write and speak effectively regarding issues related to budget and finance.

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Structure, Governance, and Leadership in Higher Education

This course provides students an opportunity to understand the structure and governance of colleges and universities and the characteristics of leadership in these institutions. Students explore the potential and limits of presidential leadership as well as competing and complementary forces, both internal and external.

Developing & Coaching Leadership: Fundamentals of Learning Strategies

This course empowers students to learn how to develop leadership for students and with others, especially in the context of higher education. It is organized to allow students to answer three questions: (1) What are the fundamentals of effective leadership development? (2) What learning strategies work best for my own leadership development? (3) How can I effectively coach and develop leadership in others?

Advancing Diversity and Inclusion Through Intentional Leadership and Organizational Change

This course provides a solid understanding of how individual identities and institutional/organizational and structural inequities impact experiences. Students will analyze and discuss bias, power, privilege, and marginalization on individual and systemic levels. This course focuses on understanding and practicing the critical elements of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) work through assessment, strategic planning, initiative alignment, and influencing organizational change.

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Assessment in Higher Education

This course examines how assessment can be used to improve higher education. The content includes a review of a variety of methodological approaches as well as the public policy context that is bringing assessment to the forefront of the nation’s educational agenda. Students develop a framework for thinking about the circumstances under which assessment and evaluation can be successfully conducted to promote educational quality.

Crisis Management and Mental Health Issues

This course addresses different crises and mental health issues on university campuses. Students examine the concept of crisis (types and stages), the relationship to legal obligations, communication, and the prevalent mental health issues on U.S. campuses. Real case studies will be discussed using a crisis response model.

Enrollment Management Theory and Practice

This course introduces students to enrollment management as it is practiced in institutions of higher learning in the U.S., with a special emphasis on the admissions process at selective schools. While providing a broad overview, this course will engage students in a “deep-dive” of contemporary and controversial topics including access and equity, college rankings, bias and discrimination, standardized tests and “non-cognitive” variables, race and ethnicity in selective admission, financial aid and enrollment management tools.

Global Issues and Strategic Partnerships

This course examines the "global university" and the role of higher education institutions in addressing global priorities through international partnerships. We analyze the leadership of administrators and faculty in creating the agenda for internationalization and the support of offices throughout campus. Case studies and institutional strategies in theory and practice will focus on transformative partnership models that advance reciprocity and academic quality. Governmental and non-governmental organizations with programs directed to international higher education also will be considered.

Tranferable Coursework

The coursework from this certificate is transferable to our Masters in Higher Education Administration and Policy Degree.

Next Steps

Sign up to attend an information session with a program representative! Ready to apply for the certificate? Review application deadlines and more.