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Teaching Tomorrow’s Leaders

The School of Education has been educating leaders in the Capital Region and beyond for more than 40 years and now has a degree targeted directly at students' career goals in higher education. (Photos by Robert Bangert-Drowns)

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 24, 2017) – Leaders in higher education, whether department directors, student affairs coordinators, academic advisors, athletic directors or policymakers, are in demand.

UAlbany’s School of Education has launched a new Master of Science in Higher Education to strengthen the leadership pipeline for the more than 30 colleges and universities in the Albany area and beyond. The degree is designed to prepare students to lead within college and university settings, and is offered through the Department of Educational Policy & Leadership (EPL).

“Colleges and universities are a national resource, yet face tremendous challenges. We need great leaders in higher education and UAlbany is proud to offer a cutting-edge program that combines theory and practice to prepare the next generation of college leaders,” said Interim President James Stellar.

The University at Albany was one of the first SUNY campuses and the first in the area to offer courses in higher education, and has been educating leaders in the Capital Region and beyond for more than 40 years. Previously, students could concentrate in higher education within the MS in Educational Administration and Policy Studies. Now, prospective students have a degree targeted precisely to their career goals.

“Creating a standalone degree program better prepares students for their future careers and sends a clearer signal to the employers that graduates have gained the necessary knowledge and skills to be effective managers and leaders in the higher education workforce,” said Jason E. Lane, chair of EPL and former senior associate vice chancellor of the SUNY system. “We look forward to working with other institutions in the region to support the preparation of their next generation of leaders.”

“With more than 30 colleges and universities in the Capital District, the Albany area is an ideal location to learn about higher education and to launch a career,” said Professor Susan D. Phillips, a faculty member in the program, former UAlbany provost, and chair of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Council for Institutional Quality and Integrity. “This program will be an asset to the region in preparing the next generation of college leaders.”

The 36-credit graduate program is appropriate for aspiring, early-career and mid-career higher education practitioners. Through evening coursework, students gain the knowledge and skills to take on leadership roles in colleges and universities as well as in governmental, non-governmental and non-profit organizations that shape higher education.

In addition, the University is launching a new Student Affairs Fellows program intended to provide first-year students in the MS in Higher Education degree with applied learning opportunities that will complement their coursework. “We want students to graduate from this program ready to take on leadership roles; this requires in-depth knowledge of the field – both theoretical and practical,” said Michael Christakis, vice president for student affairs and a faculty member in the program. Selected students will receive a $500 stipend each semester they participate.

EPL’s existing master's and certificate programs have graduates who are employed at colleges around the world and throughout the region, including Adirondack, Hudson Valley, and Schenectady County Community College; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Siena College; and The Sage Colleges. They pursue careers in academic management, higher education finance, accountability and assessment, student affairs, athletics, online learning, and academic advising. Many go on to pursue doctoral education.

For those not yet ready for graduate study, EPL has a new interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in leadership. University at Albany undergraduate students interested in a career in higher education can use this program as a preparatory pipeline into the new MS degree.

Most SUNY employees can receive tuition reimbursement through their collective bargaining unit to pursue the degree.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.