New Program Elevates Student Success in Higher Education

With a persistent socio-political climate and growing student diversity, Colorado and the rest of the country are in dire need of education leaders and policymakers who are ready to effectively develop higher education institutions.

Dr. Allen Sandoval-Lucer (Master’s ’95, Ph.D. ’04) is an associate professor of clinical studies at SEHD, serving as Vice President of Student Affairs and Vice President of Campus at various Colorado community colleges. It has spent decades developing methods for leaders in education to embrace institutional change, with equity and social justice as focal points. It recognizes the urgency and willingness of educational leaders that must be possessed to empower future generations of higher education students.

Sandoval-Lucer brings its equity-oriented framework for success and retaining students in the new concentration of the Master of Science (MSc) in Leadership in Educational Organizations (LEO) to “Leading Change for Student Success in Higher Education”.

Diploma for those who create change

The new concentration takes five semesters and is completely online. It is designed for individuals from higher education institutions, political and research organizations, and government and nonprofit organizations wishing to move into new roles in higher education. It was designed with mid-level professionals in mind. “They have a commitment to balancing their professional roles and families. The online diploma is available to people across the country and is ideal for working professionals and candidates who find evening personal classes logistically challenging, ”Sandoval-Lucerra said.

The degree is not limited to educational specialties. “You can have any undergraduate experience,” she added. “Most new professionals gain experience as student staff on campus or find themselves involved in student life or student government. After graduation, they often find entry-level positions in housing, counseling, admission or orientation. Whether they specialize in history, political science, business or psychology, but if they want to rise and take a leadership role in higher education, they need a master’s degree.

Online program classes use highly interactive learning design principles that contribute to the attractiveness and motivation of students. The curriculum integrates current issues with historical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations to help candidates identify, research, and implement change in higher education and related organizations.

Lynx Center Student Interaction Coordinator Dui Tran and Jessica Luna, PhD students.

Access is simply not enough

According to Sandoval-Lucer, models of maintaining higher education are moving towards a more robust focus on student success and obtaining a degree. “The point is that the institution meets students where they are and leads them where they need to go,” she said.

Student success is not just about providing access to tutoring and resource centers. Sandoval-Lucer ultimately boils down to the connections and affiliations that develop by evaluating the assets that students bring with them to college. “If we focus on the foundations of asset-based student success, achievements will increase and results will improve,” she noted. Higher education institutions need leaders with innovative views on what it means to be a fair organization, how to engage diverse groups of students and uphold social justice.

One step above the rest

According to Sandoval-Lucer, this new program sets itself apart from other national higher education programs not only by creating a model of student success, but also by “looking at what future higher education executives need to know. Higher education is not separate from what is happening in the world, our communities and regions. The program examines the broader context of higher education and how it affects the work of education leaders. ”

Through this specialized degree, students will learn to evaluate the cultural, governmental, and sociopolitical impacts of higher education in America and internationally, and to critically analyze educational policies and structures that lead to an unfair campus environment. They will also explore intentional leadership practices to respond to change. Graduates will be highly prepared to provide culturally informed, equity-oriented leadership and perform a wide range of roles in educational organizations, including student affairs, academia, and diversity and inclusion roles.

This article was written by Servo Adu-Tutu, Marketing Coordinator of the School of Education and Human Development. It was originally featured in the school magazine Edge.

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