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Pat Githens

M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration

Higher Education Administration

  • 2023, William & Mary, Master of Education, Higher Education Administration
  • 2018, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, Bachelor of Science in Education, Secondary English Education

What kind of educational and professional experiences did you have prior to beginning this degree?
Prior to starting my master's degree at William & Mary, I joined the headquarters staff at Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. I traveled full-time for the fraternity for a year in Florida coaching undergraduates on how to facilitate values-based recruitment, foster a safe environment, and develop all of their chapter members holistically through a continuous member development program. After traveling, I moved to Richmond, Virginia, and stayed on the fraternity's staff. I am currently the Leadership Programs Director for SigEp while pursuing this graduate degree full-time.

As a student pursuing a master's degree in Higher Education, why did you choose this field, and what motivates you in this work?
Initially, I thought that higher education was going to be just a one-year opportunity/experience working for the fraternity full-time. Through my interactions with undergraduates and immersing myself in the world of higher education as a whole, I got hooked. I am passionate about creating and fostering positive environments, programs, and spaces where students can grow, develop, and learn more about themselves. I am motivated by the impact that higher education has on students when done right.

What do you hope to be doing after graduation? In 10 or 15 years?
After graduating, I hope to continue my education by pursuing an Ed.D. or Ph.D. in higher education. I'd love to study and learn more about how to better create positive environments that meet the needs of all students, as well as how policy influences these spaces. Specifically, I want my work to ultimately make higher education experiences more equitable and inclusive, especially for students with historically marginalized identities. I'd also love to teach graduate students in higher education programs to help mentor other practitioners or administrators.

Why did you choose to apply to William & Mary and specifically to this program? What sets this degree program apart from those offered at other colleges?
I chose William & Mary because it was clear from the beginning that the faculty and staff are invested in the learning and success of their students. From the first webinar I attended to a tour on-campus from Dr. Jim Barber, I felt welcomed into the William & Mary community. The faculty want to see us find success and grow. Additionally, this degree program provides a significant level of flexibility, especially for folks like me who are working full-time and commute from nearby cities. The EPPL programs within the School of Education truly prepare you to be critical practitioners and administrators to positively influence student experiences within higher education.

What has been the most influential experience you've had so far in your program?
The most influential experiences so far have been case study activities that take place in several of the EPPL courses. This provides students with the opportunity to put theory into practice and think through how to approach "real world" situations within higher education. Through research, assessment, and critical review, I know that these case studies continue to make me a better higher education professional and are preparing me to successfully navigate complex situations. It's gratifying to see that the knowledge gained in these courses is relevant, timely, and applicable.

Any additional information you think a prospective student should know about the School of Education and its degree programs?
Two words: do it. The programs within the School of Education will prepare you to be effective professionals within education and challenge you to grow. Make the most of the opportunities presented to build relationships with the faculty, staff, and fellow classmates. I am confident that I am being made better by pursuing a graduate degree at William & Mary.

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higher education administration