Graduate Catalog

Student Affairs Administration

The landscape of higher education is rapidly changing and the students entering colleges and universities are increasingly diverse. Graduates of this program are prepared to meet this challenge with creative and innovative leadership, the knowledge and skills to help transform organizations, and a deep commitment to creating learning and living environments that offer all students full access to the benefits of college attendance.

Our program focuses on the ways that learning and development occur in and outside the classroom, in all dimensions of life on a college campus. Specifically, our program is concerned with creating intentional, inclusive, democratic communities where diverse student voices are heard and barriers to success are removed. Our graduates foster understanding and respect for diversity and become advocates for the full and equal participation of all students in higher education.

Graduates of the Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration will be prepared to serve as coordinators, assistant directors, and directors in a wide range of areas related to student affairs administration, including residence life, judicial affairs, multicultural student affairs, student activities, career services, financial aid, academic advising, disability services, Greek life, and many others. In addition to being prepared for entry into mid-level professional positions in colleges and universities, graduates will be uniquely positioned to work in mission-driven units, programs, and institutions with a commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice.

The program has been designed in accordance with the Professional Competency Areas jointly developed by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). Students who complete the Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration will achieve competency in: Advising and Helping; Assessment, Evaluation, and Research; Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion; Ethical Professional Practice; History, Philosophy, and Values; Human and Organizational Resources; Law, Policy, and Governance; Leadership; Personal Foundations; and Student Learning & Development.

Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration

The Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration is designed for current or aspiring student affairs professionals with a special emphasis on issues of diversity, equity, and social justice.

The curriculum offers coursework that prepares practitioner-scholars who possess both practical and theoretical knowledge in the field of student affairs administration. Graduates will be prepared to work toward creating inclusive democratic communities in higher education settings, where caring, equity, are social justice are guiding principles and diverse perspectives supported. Faculty employ transformative pedagogies at the individual and group level to enhance student learning and to help students develop a professional identity that demonstrates a commitment to legal, ethical, and professional responsibilities in the student affairs profession.

Students complete coursework together with a small group of committed peers. This cohort structure leads to lifetime friendships and extensive professional networks. Theory is integrated with practice through rigorous coursework, a capstone proseminar project, and two comprehensive, supervised practica that give students hands-on experience in college environments. Program faculty possess extensive field experience as student affairs professionals and deep theoretical grounding in the history and foundations of higher education.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 39 semester hours, including:

Degree Courses
SAA 501Introduction to Student Affairs3
SAA 503Foundations of Postsecondary Education3
SAA 509Equity and Social Justice in Higher Education 3
SAA 523Higher Education Governance and Administration3
SAA 530Critical Pedagogies and Student Affairs3
SAA 535Legal Issues in Higher Education3
SAA 540Student Development Theory I3
SAA 541Student Development Theory II3
SAA 550Practicum I3
SAA 551Practicum II3
SAA 557Student Affairs Program Planning, Assessment, and Evaluation3
SAA 580Proseminar in Student Affairs Administration3
Elective Courses

Students complete the remaining 3 semester hours by selecting from among available elective courses.

Graduate Convocation Requirement

Students must attend Convocation (CORE 500).

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SAA 501 Introduction to Student Affairs

Content: This course introduces students to the history and foundational philosophies of student affairs as a profession in American postsecondary education. It examines the integration of student affairs in the governance and administrative structure of higher education and explores the diverse roles student affairs professionals play in two- and four-year private and public colleges and universities. The course also introduces students to the function of a practitioner-scholar in the context of the field and conveys the sense of purpose and culture of student affairs with a focus on the roles held within various offices and departments. Finally, contemporary issues and trends will be explored through guest speakers, student affairs professionals who will introduce their functional areas and discuss the nature of the issues they face.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Admission to the M.A. in Student Affairs Administration program.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 503 Foundations of Postsecondary Education

Content: The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of the historical development of higher education in the United States. The course will focus on the way in which philosophical underpinnings and history have influenced and impacted the structure, curriculum, and delivery of postsecondary education. The course will help students answer questions such as: How did we get to this point? How did we decide on courses of study? Why are we organized as we are?
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Admission to M.A. in Student Affairs Administration program.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 509 Equity and Social Justice in Higher Education

Content: This course introduces the attitudes, beliefs, values, skills, knowledge, and self-awareness necessary for student affairs professionals to serve diverse student populations. In contemporary higher education, diversity plays an increasingly important role in the experience of students, affecting both their full access to various aspects of the college experience and the quality of that experience. For the purposes of this course, diversity shall be defined to include: gender, class, race and ethnicity, language, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion or spirituality, and disability.
Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 523 Higher Education Governance and Administration

Content: This course introduces students to governance and administrative structures in American higher education. Students will explore how changes in the demographic, legal, financial, and social landscape have impacted the ways that colleges and universities operate. Students will also become familiarized with the use of data and research as it relates to governance and administration.
Prerequisites: SAA 501, SAA 503, SAA 509.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 530 Critical Pedagogies and Student Affairs

Content: This class explores the following propositions from the tradition of critical pedagogy: learning is a shared and collective process that is shaped by social structures and norms of social interaction; higher education institutions fundamentally shape the process of learning, as well as what counts as knowledge; higher education institutions can sustain and reproduce inequitable political and economic relationships; higher education institutions can also provide opportunities to resist oppression, build autonomy, and create a more just society. This class will explore the central concepts and arguments that underlay these claims, and consider their implications for student affairs practitioners who seek to create inclusive learning environments that lead to equitable educational outcomes.
Prerequisites: SAA 501, SAA 503, SAA 509.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 535 Legal Issues in Higher Education

Content: This course is designed to introduce students to legal issues in higher education. Issues related to the various constituents – faculty, staff, students, and administration – will be addressed. Students will also explore current legal issues facing the higher education community.
Prerequisites: SAA 501, SAA 503, SAA 509.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 540 Student Development Theory I

Content: Having a deep understanding of student development is necessary for anyone who wants to be successful as an administrator or instructor in higher education. You must be aware of factors that affect the development of adults and be able to work with individuals, groups, and organizations within a diverse campus community. This is essential to establishing environments conducive to the development of students from a variety of backgrounds. This course introduces students to practitioner-based student development theories within higher education. Ultimately, the understanding and application of these theoretical frameworks to your work will enable you to enhance student outcomes vis-a-vis programs, services, curricula, and pedagogical techniques.
Prerequisites: SAA 501, SAA 503, SAA 509.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 541 Student Development Theory II

Content: This course is designed to build upon Student Development Theory I and is considered to be second in a two-part series. Coursework will enhance students’ understanding of processes of student learning, growth, and development during college. Special focus will focus on recent theories including diversity in development and the extent to which these theories are used to guide empirical research and institutional decision-making.
Prerequisites: SAA 540.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 550 Practicum I

Content: Practicum I provides you with an opportunity to apply what you have learned in your coursework in the authentic context of a student affairs office or related students affairs position. Central to this approach is your progress toward becoming a practitioner-scholar, a professional who can apply research and scholarship in the field to the everyday demands of a position in student affairs.
Prerequisites: SAA 501, SAA 503, SAA 509.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 551 Practicum II

Content: Practicum II provides you with an opportunity to apply what you have learned in your coursework in the authentic context of a student affairs office or related students affairs position. Central to this approach is your progress toward becoming a practitioner-scholar, a professional who can apply research and scholarship in the field to the everyday demands of a position in student affairs. Practicum II builds on Practicum I by focusing in more depth on a specific career role, objective, or competency.
Prerequisites: SAA 550.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 557 Student Affairs Program Planning, Assessment, and Evaluation

Content: This course is designed to introduce students to planning, assessment, and evaluation in higher education, with a particular emphasis in student affairs. The course will focus on methodologies used to assess student learning outcomes and program evaluation. Student will also become familiar with the fundamentals of strategic planning, as well as data collection, analysis, and reporting.
Prerequisites: SAA 501, SAA 503, SAA 509.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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SAA 580 Proseminar in Student Affairs Administration

Content: This course is designed to prepare students in their transition from student to practitioner. The course will provide a reflection, synthesis, integration, and application of prior and concurrent coursework. The focus of the course will be on examining the student’s role as a practitioner-scholar and their application of theory to practice. The course will utilize a case-study approach to addressing current as well as future issues in higher education graduates will face once they complete the program.
Prerequisites: SAA 501, SAA 503, SAA 509.
Credits: 3 semester hours.