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COVID-19: News and Campus Updates | Fall 2021 Plans


This program is not accepting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Professional Competencies, Leadership, and Scholarship

UNC’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership (HESAL) program offers a Master’s of Arts (M.A.) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Our curriculum focuses on developing core competencies necessary for professional advancement in higher education and student affairs, including student support services, academic careers, and policy work. Students have opportunities to work directly with award-winning, research faculty who all have higher education or student affairs administrative backgrounds. The HESAL faculty are dedicated to offering a program that values a practitioner-scholar model, mentoring and advising, and coursework that reflect theory, research, and practice. The HESAL program maintains a commitment to equity and social justice through the inclusion of multiple perspectives and pedagogies.

  • Student Profiles

    Mallory Tuhkanen, Intern for the Office of Community Standards and Conflict Resolution 

    Why did you choose UNC?

    "UNC has been my home for the past four years and it's grown to have a special place in my heart. The campus is so beautiful and I have really found a sense of belonging here, so choosing UNC for my masters was a no brainer!"

    Mallory Profile

    Olivia Maldonado, GA for the President's Leadership Program

    Why did you choose UNC?

    "I knew I wanted to come to Colorado, but coming for interview days I felt right at home. UNC reminds me of my undergraduate institution so it was a perfect fit. I like to say I traded the lakes for mountains."

    hesal student spotlight liv

    Marcela Flores, GA for the César Chávez Cultural Center

    What advice would you give someone thinking about getting a degree in Higher Education/Student Affairs?

    "Make as many connections as you can! The more people you know on campus that work in different departments, the more opportunities you will have in the future."

    Marcela Student Spotlight

    Efren Herrera Hurtado, GA for the César Chávez Cultural Center

    Why did you choose UNC?

     "I chose UNC because I wanted to revolve my studies around people that care about social justice, higher education, diversity, and equity. The HESAL program at UNC is not too big nor too small, and it the perfect model for my learning preferences and the career readiness it provides!"

    student spotlight efren

    Haley Osborn, Intern in the Center for International Education

    What advice would you give someone thinking about getting a degree in Higher Education/Student Affairs?

    "If you have questions about a specific program, reach out to the school and department. Faculty are usually more than happy to help answer any questions they can. Talk to people who work in the field you think you are interested in to get a better idea of what the work entails."

    Haley Student Spotlight

    Savana Griego, GA for the Center for Women's and Gender Equity

    Why did you choose UNC?

     "An opportunity presented itself to me to obtain a master's degree in a field that I had never imagined being in, yet I was very passionate about it. Plus, I was able to have a graduate assistantship in a space that I had previously worked in during my undergraduate."

    Savana Student Spotlight

    Marina Rodriguez, GA for Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership

    What advice would you give someone thinking about getting a degree in Higher Education/Student Affairs?

    "Research your interests, develop & list questions, reach out to faculty, and have intentional informative conversations."

    Marina Student Spotlight

    Sarah Spencer, Academic Seminar Instructor at Early College Academy

    Why did you choose UNC?

    "It was the only school that offered the option to get a Ph.D. and I wanted to move to Colorado!"

     student spotlight sarah

    Myah Post, GA for HESAL

    Why did you choose UNC?

    "I went to UNC for my undergrad, and just continually felt supported and challenged through my role as a student, and as an employee. I enjoyed that environment so much that I decided that I wanted to stay! And UNC is such a beautiful campus!"

    Myah Student Spotlight

  • Weekly Announcements
  • Coordinator Newsletter

Congratulations to Dr. Tamara Yakaboski for being recognized as Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year and Patrick Bussiere for being recognized as a Graduate Student Rising Star within NASPA Region IV-West!

Tamara & Patrick NASPA Awards

Congratulations to Dr. Lainey Brottem for defending her dissertation, “Liminal Space In Higher Education: Lived Experiences In The Space Between At-Risk Academics And Big-Time Athletics In Division I Power Five.” Committee members included Eugene Sheehan, Tobias Guzman, Jeri Kraver, and Matt Birnbaum (chair).

Lainey Brottem Dissertation Defense

Congratulations to Dr. Rachel Christeson for a successful defense of her dissertation "The Relationship Between State College Readiness Policy and Student Outcomes: A Multilevel Growth Model." Committee members included Matthew Birnbaum, Ph.D., Amy Li, Ph.D., Thomas Morgan, Ph.D., and Eugene Sheehan, Ph.D.

Rachel Christeson Dissertation Defense

Congratulations to Dr. Rebecca Woulfe for passing her dissertation defense, "Persuasive Narrative: Examining Policy Actor Influences on Accreditation Reform Legislation." Great job! Committee members: Dr. Birnbaum, Dr. Li, Dr. Sileo, and Dr. Cohen

Rebecca Woulfe Dissertation Defense

Congratulations to Andrea DeCosmo for successfully defending her dissertation on University President Discourse After an On-Campus Crisis. Commitee members include Matt Birnbaum, Gardiner Tucker, Travis Boyce, and Nancy Sileo

Andrea DeCosmo Dissertation Defense

50 Years of HESAL

UNC’s HESAL program celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2015, welcoming back graduates and former faculty members of the program. Originally named College Student Personnel Work (CSPW), and later College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA), the program became HESAL in 2001.