About the Higher Education Program

Our small size and elite faculty generate high scholarly expectations for students in intellectually stimulating environments, foster interactions among K-12 and higher education doctoral students, and prepare emerging practitioners well for the field.


We prepare intellectually curious and culturally responsible higher education leaders and scholars who will influence change to improve post-secondary teaching and learning environments around the world.


We seek to

  • foster K-12 stakeholder connections and collaboration.
  • cultivate and grow students’ intellectual capacity.
  • develop leaders through a transformational learning experience.
  • mentor scholar-practitioners who are creative problem solvers.
  • create the space for innovation to occur.
  • facilitate integration of learning.
  • help students find their academic voice.
  • support and sustain inclusive environments for teaching, learning, and practice.
  • expose students to international perspectives to foster intercultural competencies and complement our national efforts in that area.
  • produce graduates with skills that are relevant to community needs.

Program Objectives:

  • To engage graduate students in post-secondary professions and prepare to assume competent, reflective, and ethical leadership roles in policy-making and planning and in responsible and meaningful research.
  • To promote the production and application of responsible and reflective scholarship, applied research, and service on national and international post-secondary education.
  • To encourage in its students a broad understanding of the past, current, and projected issues and practices that characterize post-secondary educational institutions, agencies, and constituencies and an in-depth specialization in a specific professional role or line of research.
  • To promote and safeguard the exploration of divergent ideas, theories, values, and methods for its faculty and students without fear of retaliation or ridicule.
  • To contribute to the development and understanding of post-secondary educational endeavors in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Mid-Atlantic region, and national and international arenas.
  • To develop students' analytical and expressive skills through immersion in inquiry and scholarship.
  • To prepare ethical, culturally aware, and socially responsible professionals for lives of personal and professional service to their institutions and communities.
  • To engender an appreciation and respect for cultural diversity and global competencies.

Who we are:

  • Diverse professional and administrative experience among its faculty
    • Institutional governance and leadership
    • Academic administration
    • Student affairs administration
    • Governmental and non-governmental  policy analysis and development
    • Diversity of institutional types
    • International tertiary systems, structures, and issues
    • Community college administration
  • Distinct lines of inquiry and scholarship among its faculty
    • Faculty and academic life
    • Policy
    • Leadership
    • Law
    • Student Services
    • Institutional types: research and comprehensive university, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges
    • International systems, policies, and issues
    • Governance and organizational models
    • Student development and collegiate outcomes
    • Finance of postsecondary institutions
    • History of higher education
    • Diversity: Gender in education, minority inclusion, and class/cultural differences
  • Rigorous but supportive program culture
    • Emphasis on diverse conceptual and methodological  scholarship and application of research to practice
    • Competitive and limited admission
    • Accessible faculty
    • Administrative in-service laboratory through graduate assistantships and internships
    • Community of scholars with active student participation in professional conferences and in writing opportunities