Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration

Program Director: Sandra M. Estanek

Faculty:  Kevin L. Ahuna, Robert A. Bonfiglio, Kristin E. Finn, Jennifer Herrmann, Terri L. Mangione, Cha Ron Sattler-Leblanc, Brian P. Smith, Kim Vanderlinden

Degree: Master of Science

Introduction

The Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration master’s program (formerly known as College Student Personnel Administration) at Canisius College is a full time cohort-based course of study that prepares graduates for careers in student affairs administration in both private and public institutions of higher education. The program is grounded in a theory-to-practice philosophy based in Jesuit pedagogy and student affairs professional competencies.

The course of study consists of 36 credit hours taken over two academic years. The HESAA program combines the in-class education of graduate coursework with the experiential learning of required internships to achieve its mission. Graduate assistantships are also available, which provide additional experience.

HESAA students are charged a single program fee, which includes tuition, books, membership in a national professional association and the cost of attendance at one national professional conference (College Student Educators International [ACPA] or Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education [NASPA]) during each year of the program. This experience will enhance the student’s understanding of the importance of life-long professional development and the value of professional relationships. HESAA students progress through the academic program together, taking all of their coursework as a cohesive group, thus developing strong team building skills and effective work groups.  More information can be found at the program website.  

Admission

Application for admission to the program is open to any qualified holder of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, regardless of undergraduate field of study, who meets the requirements for admission to graduate study in the School of Education and Human Resources. To be eligible to participate in interviews for graduate assistantships, students should complete the admission process and be accepted by February 1. However, admission is on a rolling basis until the cohort is filled.

Mission Statement

The master’s program in College Student Personnel Administration (HESAA) at Canisius College prepares student affairs practitioners to work in all sectors of higher education administration while emphasizing the unique context of private, independent colleges and universities. The HESAA program combines the in-class education of graduate coursework with the experiential learning of required internships to achieve its mission. Graduate assistantships are also available, which provide additional experience.

Graduates of the College Student Personnel Administration master’s degree program will:

  1. be prepared to enter the student affairs profession as practitioners in multiple administrative sub-fields (residence life, student activities, career services, etc.).
  2. be able to use the foundations of theory and practical experience to make sound and ethical professional decisions.
  3. be prepared to participate as professionals in the education of the whole student, consistent with the Jesuit value of cura personalis (“care for the person”), regardless of the institutional context of their work.
  4. understand the value of contributing to their profession through participation in professional associations, and through activities such as presentations and publications and serving in leadership positions.

Program Details

The HESAA master’s program at Canisius College is a full time cohort based course of study that prepares graduates for careers in student affairs administration at both private and public institutions of higher education. The course of study consists of 36 credit hours taken over two academic years. The program is grounded in a theory-to-practice philosophy based in Jesuit pedagogy and student affairs professional competencies. The HESAA program is compliant with the standards of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.

CAS standards require all master’s students to complete two different internships. The HESAA program requires each internship to be at least 225 clock hours. Graduate assistantships do not count as internships. Typically, HESAA students complete the hours for their first internship during the summer between their first and second year of study, although they complete the reflection paper and receive course credit in the fall semester of their second year. This allows students to accept internships at institutions across the United States and around the world. The second internship is typically done during the students’ second year of coursework at Canisius and other institutions around the Western New York region.

HESAA students have a choice of two possible ways to demonstrate their ability to analyze and synthesize their master’s coursework during their second year of study. Students may choose to do an independent research project (i.e., master’s thesis). For students who do not choose this option, there is the option to take a comprehensive examination (written and oral) and an elective course.

One feature of the HESAA program is unique to Canisius College. Embedded in the graduate tuition full time students pay is the cost of attending one of the two national conferences (ACPA or NASPA) as a group each year of the students’ program. This includes the cost of association membership, conference registration, hotel, and travel. Meals are not included. First year students attend conference sessions and volunteer at conference events and activities. They write reflective papers on their experience, connecting it to their coursework. This paper is an element of the assessment process. Second year students participate in job placement activities as well as attend conference sessions and activities.

Curriculum

HESA 501Introduction to Student Affairs Administration3
HESA 510History of Higher Education in the United States3
HESA 520The American College Student3
HESA 530Methods of Research3
HESA 535Assessment and Applied Research3
HESA 570Introduction to Counseling for Student Affairs3
HESA 640Diversity in Higher Education3
HESA 665Legal Issues in Higher Education3
HESA 677Capstone Seminar3
HESA 680Internship I3
HESA 681Internship II3
HESA 699Independent Research3

Learning Goals & Objectives

HESAA Learning Goal #1 [KNOWLEDGE]

Provide students in the HESAA program with knowledge of higher education consistent with the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies at the Foundation level.

Graduates of the HESAA program will:
  1. Understand the operations and governance of both public and private colleges and universities.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competency #3
  2. Understand current issues and challenges in higher education.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competency #3
  3. Demonstrate the ability to connect the history of higher education in the United States to contemporary issues and challenges.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competency #10
  4. Understand and be able to apply laws that affect all sectors of higher education.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competencies #3 and #5

HESAA Learning Goal #2 [KNOWLEDGE]

Provide students in the HESAA program with knowledge of student identity, development, and diversity consistent with the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies at the Foundation level.

Graduates of the HESAA program will:
  1. Know and demonstrate the ability to apply relevant research on student identity and development.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competency #8
  2. Know and demonstrate the ability to apply relevant research on diverse student populations.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competencies #7 and #8

HESAA Learning Goal #3 [SKILLS]

Develop practical skills necessary for successful entry-level professionals in higher education and student affairs.

Graduates of the HESAA program will:
  1. Know and demonstrate the ability to apply basic research methods in professional practice.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competency #2
  2. Know and demonstrate the ability to apply relevant counseling theories and techniques in working with diverse individuals and groups.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competency #1
  3. Demonstrate written and oral communication skills necessary to be an effective professional.
    1. ACPA/NASPA Competency #4
  4. Demonstrate ethical use of up-to-date technological resources.
    1. ACPA/NASPA Competencies #4 and #9

HESAA Learning Goal #4 [DISPOSITIONS]

Graduate ethical professionals formed in the context of Jesuit values.

Graduates of the HESAA program will:
  1. Understand the values of Jesuit higher education and their relevance to professional practice in all context.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competencies #7 and #10
  2. Demonstrate the ability to apply professional ethical standards.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competency #6
  3. Demonstrate good colleagueship and the capacity for leadership.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competencies #4 and #5
  4. Demonstrate the capacity for self-awareness and reflection.
    • ACPA/NASPA Competency #6

Courses

Courses taken in the first year are numbered in the 500s and courses taken in the second year are numbered in the 600s.

HESA 501 Introduction to Student Affairs Administration 3 Credits

An introduction to student affairs as a profession, specific job responsibilities and competencies, types of institutions of higher education, current issues, and professional ethics. Also includes a focus on connecting student affairs practice to the mission of the institution. Introduction to higher education research and writing.

Offered: every fall

HESA 510 History of Higher Education in the United States 3 Credits

Students will examine the development and governance of colleges and universities in the United States, including the role of faculty, the rise of student affairs, the role of state and federal government, and the changing understanding of diversity. Emphasis is placed on locating current issues within their historical context.

Offered: every spring.

HESA 520 The American College Student 3 Credits

Provides an introduction to student development theory and a profile of contemporary college students. Theories of identity development, involvement, and learning will be considered. In addition, the relationship of theory to practice in student affairs will be explored, along with issues related to diversity.

Offered: every fall.

HESA 530 Methods of Research 3 Credits

The nature of social science inquiry with specific implications for higher education. Introduction to research design and ethics. Introduction to both quantitative and qualitative methods of research.

Offered: every fall.

HESA 535 Assessment and Applied Research 3 Credits

Applies methods of research learned in HESA 530 to practical issues of assessment. Students will learn to write literature reviews, conduct applied research, and present findings.

Prerequisite: HESA 530

Offered: every spring.

HESA 570 Introduction to Counseling for Student Affairs 3 Credits

Provides a working knowledge of counseling theories and techniques to address the needs of students within the context of higher education. Introduction to mental health disorders and exposure to preventative and communication strategies to assist college-aged students.

Offered: every spring.

HESA 599 Independent Study 3 Credits

Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Restriction: permission of the instructor, department chair, and associate dean.

HESA 640 Diversity in Higher Education 3 Credits

This class is designed to increase students' understanding and appreciation of diverse populations, diversity-related issues, and their impact on college communities. Students will explore how they can work to build inclusive communities within institutions of higher education.

HESA 665 Legal Issues in Higher Education 3 Credits

An examination of the many ways federal, state, and local laws affect higher education administration. Issues include differences between public and private higher education, First Amendment issues, affirmative action, the requirements of federal laws such as FERPA, Clery, and Title IX, and other relevant case law. Includes an introduction to risk management.

Offered: every fall.

HESA 677 Capstone Seminar 3 Credits

Designed to provide graduating HESAA students with the opportunity to discuss current issues in higher education with a goal toward making the transition from being graduate students to becoming full-time professionals. Includes practical skills such as financial management.

Offered: every spring.

HESA 680 Internship I 3 Credits

The first of two required internship experiences intended to broaden the student's understanding of the profession and help them to gain practical experience in specific jobs. Each internship requires 225 hours of supervised experience. Permission of the program director is required.

Prerequisite: successful completion of first year coursework. Restriction: permission of the HESAA program director.

Offered: every fall.

HESA 681 Internship II 3 Credits

The second of two required internship experiences intended to broaden the student's understanding of the profession and help them to gain practical experience in specific jobs. Each internship requires 225 hours of supervised experience. Permission of the program director is required.

Prerequisite: HESA 680 Restriction: permission of the HESAA program director.

Offered: every spring.

HESA 690 Special Topics 3 Credits

Offered: not currently offered

HESA 699 Independent Research 3 Credits

An original thesis research project or major assessment project that provides the opportunity to investigate a higher education topic of particular interest to the student. Under the direction of a thesis adviser, students will present and defend a research proposal, conduct a study using research methodology, locate that study in a literature review, and present their findings in a thesis format. Note: Students may also choose to fulfill the HESA 699 requirement through a comprehensive examination (written and oral) and by successfully completing a three-credit graduate elective course at Canisius College, chosen by the student and approved by the HESAA program director.

Prerequisite: successful completion of first year coursework. Restriction: permission of the HESAA program director based on successful presentation of proposal.

Offered: every spring.