What is Higher Education?

The Master of Arts in Postsecondary Education Administration (PSE) offers a specialization in Higher Education. The Higher Education specialization is designed for emerging administrative leaders in the areas of academic affairs, adult education, advancement and development, athletics, auxiliary services, business and financial services, continuing education and information technology at postsecondary education institutions including technical colleges, community colleges, four-year public and four-year private colleges and universities. The specialization includes nine credit hours of predetermined courses, six credit hours of supervised internship in a higher education setting and the capstone research project.

Brief explanations of the functional units listed in the previous paragraph are provided below. Students are encouraged to speak with faculty of the program as well as administrators in the functional unit(s) that appeal to their desired career pathway.

Academic Affairs - supports the mission of postsecondary institution through teaching, scholarship and service. Administrators support faculty and supervise the daily operations of academic colleges and departments at the postsecondary institution. Academic priorities and strategic direction for the postsecondary education institution are set here.

Adult Education – ensures adult learners, otherwise known as non-traditional students, receive equitable access to curricular and co-curricular opportunities at the postsecondary institution. Personnel often collect data to advocate and better understand the needs and characteristics of the adult learners at the postsecondary institution. Decentralized academic instruction and student support services may be offered through this functional unit depending on the size and needs of adult learners at the postsecondary education institution.

Advancement and Development – supports the development and expansion of educational objectives, capital projects, personnel professional development and student aid through external partnerships and monetary donations given to the postsecondary education institution. Alumni affairs, annual giving, marketing, public relations, decentralized academic college development and donor relations are represented under this functional unit.   

Athletics - supports the academic and social maturation of intercollegiate student athletes. Governance and compliance for the functional unit is regulated by national and state athletic associations in which the postsecondary institution is affiliated. Decentralized student support services, media relations, athletic training, facilities, marketing and the coaching staff for Title IX compliant sports are associated with the functional unit depending on the size of the postsecondary education institution.

Auxiliary Services – addresses the out-of-classroom needs of students, faculty, staff and visitors affiliated with the postsecondary education institution. The functional unit follows business practices and principles to provide goods and services such as food services, postal services, the bookstore and banking services. Services are typically self-sustaining.   

Business and Financial Affairs – collects fees owed to the postsecondary education institution. The office of the bursar, billing and receiving, cashiers office, registrar, financial aid, scholarships, student employment, facilities maintenance, campus security, transportation and auxiliary services are associated with the functional unit depending on the size and organizational structure of the postsecondary education institution.

Continuing Education – supports the mission of the postsecondary education institution through regional economic development and quality of life enhancement. Career and workforce training as well as lifelong learnings courses are offered through the functional unit. Regional businesses partner with the postsecondary education institution to resolve workforce training needs. The lifelong learning classes offered are a reflection of the special interests and personal enrichment needs identified by constituents in the service area.

Information Technology – supports the technological needs of the faculty, staff, students and visitors. Academic technology, administrative services, communication technologies, educational telecommunications and technical support services are associated with the functional unit.