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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.

News and Announcements

HESAL Graduate Assistantship Initiative
Newly admitted HESAL students can browse a variety of graduate assistantship positions in areas across the institution. The HESAL Graduate Assistantship Initiative provides new students the opportunity to apply and interview for multiple positions at one convenient time. Our GA positions are all designed to provide students the opportunity to combine theory and practice while positively contributing to UNC's educational mission. Learn more at the HESAL Funding page.

"The knowledge that I am gaining as a graduate assistant cannot be taught in a classroom. I learn more about the day to day operations of higher education and am challenged to discover more about who I am."

- Rebecca Broghammer, Graduate Assistant in Enrollment Management & Student Access

"My graduate assistantship in Student Activities gave me an opportunity to apply theories and skills learned in the classroom to my work as a student affairs practitioner. I think that without that classroom and workplace link, I would not be able to be as successful as a student affairs practitioner."

-Kelly Walker, Interim Director of Fraternity & Sorority Programs, University of Northern Colorado

"As a graduate assistant in Student Activities, I learned that patience, empathy and active listening are integral to positive engagement and interaction with students. Also, it is very important to represent what you expect from others and articulate expectations in a clear and consistent manner."

- Janella Mildrexler, Assistant Director of Adult Learners and Veterans' Services, Colorado State University

"As a graduate assistant in Enrollment Management & Student Access, I was fortunate to learn from real situations as well as apply what I was learning in the classroom. My assistantships were wonderful opportunities to explore who I was as an emerging professional, to learn more about my strengths, and to recognize areas where I needed improvement." 

- Chris Cobb, Associate Director of Employer Relations, Center for Career Readiness Office, University of Northern Colorado

"The second I stepped onto the UNC campus I felt I had an instant community. The faculty, staff, and students took the time to make me feel at home. Through my graduate assistantship, I have been able to build meaningful relationships with colleagues from all over campus. I know I have received an excellent education which will help ensure a successful future."

- Courtney Matsumoto, HESAL M.A. candidate, Interim Assistant Director Asian/Pacific American Student Services (A/PASS)

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.