Colleges and universities —and their students — thrive when well-trained professionals and administrators are at the helm of the organization. This field offers a wide array of opportunities, and completing a degree in Higher Education Leadership at UW-Whitewater will prepare you for a position of your choice in a higher education setting.
Supporting students, working with academic units, collaborating or leading student affairs units, and working in athletics, financial aid, advising, orientation, and housing are all opportunities that exist with the completion of UW-Whitewater’s HELEAD program.
Our faculty and instructors are actual, working, high-level administrators, who practice leadership in higher education. They bring real-world experiences and proven best practices into the classroom.
A scholar + practitioner approach
Our 30-credit program prepares you to be an equity-minded change agent across colleges and universities. Classroom experiences are grounded in research and theory that guide organizational leadership, but provide numerous opportunities for practical application. Students who complete this program will have a strong understanding of how to implement policy, apply theory, collaborate across higher education units, and engage in critical equity-minded decision-making processes.
Supportive and flexible
Program support includes a program coordinator and faculty who teach within the program serving as advisors. And there’s no need to put your job on hold — coursework is offered in the evenings or online, to ensure candidates can continue working while completing this program.
Employers tell us that students who graduate from UW-Whitewater’s program are equipped to step directly into fast-paced higher education leadership roles.
As future higher education leaders, practical experience in the field is crucial. UW-Whitewater’s 3-credit practicum includes 150 hours of hands-on work in a unit of higher education of your choice and arranged with the program coordinator and site supervisor. This experience is highly individualized and tailored to assist you with meeting individual career goals.
Students in the program will apply theory and concepts developed in class to higher education leadership settings. The purpose of the practicum is twofold: (1) to enhance individual leadership skill sets; and (2) to enhance each students' professional résumé and CV to be competitive in a job market that values diverse, hands-on, practical experiences in higher education.
Current students and alumni have completed practicums throughout the Midwest. Settings could include:
Academic Affairs Leadership
Intercollegiate Athletics/Community Outreach
Students Affairs Leadership
Two-Year College Leadership
As a university with a true branch campus — UW-Whitewater at Rock County in neighboring Janesville — we’re uniquely experienced in two-year college administration. And we have collaborations and partnerships with many other two-year, junior, and technical colleges throughout the Midwest.
After earning their degree in Higher Education Leadership, UW-Whitewater graduates find a variety of positions in various colleges and university settings. Here’s just a sample of locations and departments:
A professional with more than 20 years of experience in higher education, Beth John believes deeply in the mission and values of UW-Whitewater and says this line of work is a "calling" for her. Most recently, she served as director of First Year Experience, the office responsible for orientation and registration programs, mentor programs, learning communities, new student seminar, and family programs. She’s committed to social justice, and thoughtful, ethical and reflective practices.
Jamilia Lee-Johnson is the UW System Equity, Diversity and Inclusion manager. Her research interests are centered around the leadership experiences of Black women in higher education, and finding and creating ways to support students of color. She’s worked in pre-college programs, residence life, Greek life, and career and academic services, and has published several book chapters, and recently served as a co-editor of a book.
A recent coordinator for the Pathway for Success program at UW-Whitewater, JP Villavicencio oversaw all facets of the program including academic advising, programming, course curriculum, and collaborating with campus partners. He was elected representative to Academic Staff Assembly, a shared governance group, in 2015. He has a strong passion for working with students and seeks to facilitate growth through their educational journey as it relates to their career, academic, and personal development.
A student affairs practitioner for over 20 years, Michael Lango has held roles in student activities, orientation, residence life, international student services, study abroad, and academic advising. He has worked for small, private, for-profit, and non-profit higher education institutions and large and medium public institutions. A published researcher, his interest areas include leadership, applying theory to practice, and crisis response in higher ed. Currently, he serves UW-Whitewater as the Director of Academic Advising.
Attorney Matt Lind has been working in education for 18 years and is currently in the Office of General Counsel at the University of Wisconsin System Administration, where he provides legal advice to the four-year comprehensive schools, UW System Administration and the Board of Regents. He is an expert in immigration and civil rights law as it applies to higher education and has expertise in a wide variety of areas from accommodations for disability to zoning law and its application to state government. He previously worked teaching Latin and Spanish for mostly middle-school students and has taught foreign languages at every K-12 grade level.
UW-Whitewater offers the following Higher Ed. Leadership master’s degree options:
Required master’s degree courses for HELEAD include:
Depending on your interests and career aspirations, you’ll have the choice of targeted elective courses, such as:
Prospective students can apply for admission to this program year-round. Reviews of applications are completed on a monthly basis, and communication regarding admission to the program is sent within 30 days of the application submission.
This program begins in a Fall semester only, and is cohort based for those who wish to enroll full time. If you prefer to enroll part time, that is also a possibility.