Lakewood, N.J., March 8, 2019—A newly approved master’s degree in higher education and student affairs administration is set to launch this fall at Georgian Court University, enabling GCU to train more professionals who can help students succeed in college.
Applications are now being accepted for the M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration, a 36-credit program designed by the GCU School of Education. The program is offered through a mix of face-to-face and online instruction and includes a wide range of areas in higher education. Graduate will be prepared for leadership roles from the community college to the university level.
The 12-course comprehensive program includes two internships in diverse higher education settings. a comprehensive 300-hour internship in a minimum of two different areas within higher education. The program emphasizes the many areas of expertise needed for serving as a leader in higher education, including but not limited to, student development, diversity and inclusion, strategic planning, higher education finance and law, counseling, organization and leadership, and administration.
“This is ideal for entry-level professionals and those looking to advance their career in higher education,” says Amuhelang Magaya, Ph.D., the primary author of the program and chair of the administration and leadership program. “Our program will prepare students in a variety of entry, mid-level, and advanced careers in public, private, and two-year colleges.”
From first-year admissions to advising students for on-time graduation, the work of higher education administrators is extensive and critically important to the overall success of the college or university. These school leaders work with faculty, other staff members, and even outside organizations to ensure students receive a quality education—an education meant to prepare them for careers, personal success, and economic gains.
“This master’s degree will appeal to those interested in serving in a wide range of roles that are important to providing an exceptional student experience,” says Dr. Magaya. “That includes residence life, graduate student services, admissions, financial aid, student counseling and advising, leadership development, student life, athletics, and academic support programs. And that’s just the beginning.”
A Degree That Delivers Results
The Georgian Court M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration prepares professionals to serve at a four-year university or in a community college setting. And nationally, the field is growing faster than expected, according to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Officials, who estimated the role’s average salary at $92,360 in May 2017, point to New Jersey as one of the top-paying states for postsecondary education administrators. Nationally, employment experts expect more than 18,000 new higher education administrators will be needed through 2026.
Why? Increasingly, students are looking for a holistic experience that meets their expectations—inside and outside of their classes and academic pursuits.
At GCU, for example, internship, mentoring, and leadership programs are of keen interest as students look for a professional edge even before they graduate. Similarly, more students are seeking involvement with areas like career services, advising, athletics, multicultural programming, and more.
“Ultimately, we want to ensure college and university professionals have the preparation and tools needed to meet the intense challenges facing higher education,” says Christopher Campisano, Ph.D., dean of the GCU School of Education.
A Meaningful Degree for Now—And Later
The master’s degree has become an entry-level qualification for many higher education roles and unlike many other programs, the new GCU degree integrates both student affairs and higher education administration. Most other programs focus on one, or steer graduate students to a specific track.
Georgian Court’s new master’s degree program, which was recently approved by the New Jersey Presidents Council, builds on the School of Education’s longstanding and successful history of preparing leaders for roles in pre-K through 12th grade.
“We are thrilled to offer a graduate degree in higher education,” says Dr. Campisano. “Today’s higher education professionals need to understand a wide range of issues as they pertain to students and higher education administration; the M.A. degree will not only prepare them to meet this challenge, but enable them to thrive in the profession.”
Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court expands possibility for more than 2,400 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35 undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. In 2018, GCU was named a Best College for Your Money by Money Magazine. GCU has also been recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Colleges of Distinction and was one of about 100 colleges nationwide that made Phi Theta Kappa’s 2018 Transfer Honor Roll. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at Hazlet, GCU at Cumberland, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.