HESAL's History : Over 50 Years of Graduate Education
The Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership program at UNC officially debuted during the 1964-1965 school year as the College Student Personnel Work (CSPW) program. The CSPW Ph.D. was one of two new Ph.D. programs at UNC. Prior to this, there existed a minor in Higher Education as part of the Ed.D. program. In 1971, a Masters of Arts Degree with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration was added. The Department of College Student Personnel Work changed its name to become the Department of College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) to better reflect the changing nature of the field. In 1995, the CSPA Program was moved to the Division of Education Leadership and Policy Studies alongside the Educational Leadership Program and ultimately in 2001, changed from College Student Personnel Administration to Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership and the current curriculum for the Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership was approved in Spring 2011.
In 1889, Governor Cooper signed a bill establishing the Colorado State Normal School. In 1911, the school's name was changed to Colorado State Teachers College to reflect the change of curriculum from a two-year teaching certification program to four-year bachelor degree program for teachers. The name of the school changed again in 1935, becoming Colorado State College. During this time Colorado State College’s Division of Education offered an Ed.D. with a minor concentration area in Higher Education. Between 1929 and 1941, Colorado State College awarded 32 Ph.D.’s, with at least eight of those having a portion of their fieldwork completed in higher education.
Expanding to Focus on College Student Personnel Graduate Education
On November 29, 1962, the Dean of Students, Dr. Jack Shaw, presented a proposal to the Graduate Council for a Ph.D. degree in Student Personnel Work in Higher Education for their review and approval. After some debate and revision by both the Graduate Council and the faculty, the College Student Personnel Work major leading to the Ph.D. degree was approved on April 3, 1963. The Doctor of Philosophy Degree debuted officially in the 1964-1965 Colorado State College General Catalog Bulletin. The two new Ph.D. degree options that were offered at Colorado State College were the College Student Personnel Work which was designed to prepare candidates for college environments, and the Ph.D. in Educational Measurements and Research to prepare candidates for college teaching assignments and/or researchers for curricular areas.
The inaugural faculty included Dr. June Stuckey (Director), Dr. Jack Shaw, Dr. Ted Oppelt, Harry Collins, Dr. Ken Hogan, Dr. Frank Lakin, Dr. Ted Nelson, Dr. Claire Quinlan, Dr. Gerald Tanner. The “founding faculty” of the HESAL program were also UNC (then CSC) student affairs and higher education administrators. At the time, there were no full time faculty members but rather individuals had time split between the academic program and administration or were full time administrators who taught additionally. Through the 1950-60s, President Robert “Bill” Ross (1947-1964) was known for hiring former student body presidents into student affairs administrative positions as was the case with some of the early CSPW faculty. Since the founding of the program, the faculty have strived to create a collaborative and supportive environment that nurtures students to graduation rather than a program that emphasizes competition.
Fine-Tuning College Student Personnel Graduate Education
In 1970, Colorado State College became the University of Northern Colorado to recognize and incorporate the variety of coursework, degrees, and learning opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students. To highlight the increased opportunity within the School of Education from 1966-1982, there were many minor changes in the organization of the educational departments. This included new opportunities for students with an interest in higher education. When the Division of Education became the School of Education, it allowed former majors to become independent departments thus proving beneficial for students with an interest in higher education as their opportunities multiplied under the new organizational structure. College Student Personnel Work was elevated from a major area of study leading to a Ph.D. to a separate department within in the School of Education.
For the 1970-1971 school year, the Department of College Student Personnel Work also added an Ed.S. specific to CSPW, though it would be phased out beginning in 1982 due to low enrollment. In 1971, a Masters of Arts Degree was added with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration and the Department of Higher Education was created to offer additional programing choices for students interested in higher education; which included an Ed.D. with a minor in higher education. During the spring of 1974, amidst lively debate, the Department of College Student Personnel Work became the Department of College Student Personnel Administration by a majority vote of faculty and students in the program.
Growing into Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership
In 1983, following consolidation and reorganization at the University of Northern Colorado, the School of Education created a Department of Educational Leadership which was renamed within a year to the Division of Professional Studies.
Previously independent units/departments within the School of Education (including College of Student Personnel Administration, Higher Education, and Education Administration) were consolidated into three instructional units within the Division of Professional Studies; College of Student Personnel Administration, Educational Administration and Educational Media. Accordingly, the options for students interested in graduate work in higher education were also consolidated. The College Student Personnel Administration Unit continued to offer the Ph.D. associated with the program since the 1960’s and was awarded three additional full time teaching positions within the program reflecting the continuing growth and potential of the program. The Education Administration unit continued to offer the Ed.D. degree with emphasis in Administration of Higher Education. However, it was not long before the Education Administration Unit added a M.A. degree in Community College Administration and an additional Ed.D. degree with an emphasis in the Administration of Community Colleges (1986).
In 1990, the School of Education once again reorganized the program’s coursework and degrees offered. The School of Education became the College of Education which included five divisions. The Division of Professional Studies was renamed the Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. The CSPA unit relocated to the Division of Professional Psychology, with no programing changes. In 1995, the CSPA Program was moved once again to the Division of Education Leadership and Policy Studies alongside the Educational Leadership Program and ultimately in 2001, changed from College Student Personnel Administration to Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership. The current curriculum and program for the Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership was approved in Spring 2011.