Higher Education Student Affairs (HESA) Concentration

The Doctor of Education in Leadership’s concentration in Higher Education and Student Affairs aligns with the Department of Educational Leadership’s mission to be a rigorous environment where students, faculty, and staff are open to being uncomfortable, challenged, and, at times, wrong.

In the HESA doctoral concentration, this means current and rising leaders of postsecondary education are deliberate in challenging their assumptions about the system of higher education; acknowledge how practices and policies maintain and reproduce inequality on college campuses; and prepare for their role and responsibility to lead institutions toward educational equity.

Program Details

Credits: 60 semester hours for the full program; 50 semester hours for the advanced track*

Program start: Summer

Program Length: Approximately three years, part-time

Class Schedule: Weekends, evenings, & intensively in July

Location: Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling

Faculty Director: Mollie Galloway

View the current program of study here.

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Students recruited and admitted into the concentration will primarily be those who can attend classes one Friday-Saturday a month from September-May, 3-4 weeks in July, and fit one of two criteria:

  • Professionals currently working in the field of higher education and seeking a terminal degree in order to move up into an upper-level position in the profession.
  • Master’s level recipients with experiences in P-20 education, student affairs, and/or volunteer work, whom are attracted to providing leadership in the areas of education whether that be in the area of policy, student affairs, and other areas of higher education.

Why our Program?


Being an equity-driven program means that in every class, text, and assignment, we will center discussions on identifying systemic inequality that exists in higher education, consider strategies for fostering equitable practices and policies, and develop leadership approaches that enable you to achieve more socially just college campuses.

Cohort Model

You will progress in the program with a cohort of peers who will co-construct rigorous, small-group learning environments. This model supports challenging dialogue, thoughtful feedback, and productive opportunities to grow as leaders in higher education alongside other administrators. The cohort model provides extensive support for students during the program, and leads to lifetime systems of social support and extensive professional networks.

P-20 Focus

A key feature of this program is the explicit focus on the P-20 spectrum, which pushes educational administrators to consider the full educational pipeline as they lead their institutions. The program centers on the analogy of needing to seamlessly “pass the baton” between P-12 and higher education. Starting courses jointly with peers in the P-12 cohort to establish strong foundations in education and completing the program with those same peers to develop research skills, you will have the opportunity to engage directly with the realities of the entire educational spectrum as you grow as a leader. With a course specifically focused on this point of transition, leaders of higher education will be at the forefront of supporting students to move smoothly from one sector of education to the next.

*Students with a Master’s degree in Student Affairs, Higher Education, or a related field may be eligible for the 50-credit hour advanced program track. Decision about program track will be made during the admissions process.