School of Graduate Studies

Higher Education Leadership (MSE)

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's Higher Education Leadership graduate program prepares individuals who aspire to hold leadership positions in higher education.  This program takes a critical scholar-practitioner approach, preparing students as future leaders in student affairs, academic affairs, intercollegiate athletics, and two-year college leadership.  The program prepares students to be equity-minded change agents across colleges and universities.  The faculty and instructors of this program each practice leadership in higher education as high-level administrators.  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.  In short, students who graduate from this program are equipped to step directly into fast-paced higher education leadership roles.

Courtney LuedkeHello, and welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's Higher Education Leadership Program! The primary goal of this program is to develop aspiring higher education leaders into equity-minded scholar-practitioners, combining hands-on practical experience with meaningful and engaging classroom interaction. Our program faculty is a dynamic group of current scholar-practitioners, who, together, have a wealth of diverse experiences as higher education leaders. We encourage you to view the profiles of each of our faculty members who will support your educational journey. What truly sets this program apart from others is the high impact, student-centered practices of our campus and faculty. When you join the UW-Whitewater Higher Education Leadership Program, you join the Warhawk family-a culture that is deeply rooted in preparing educators through practical experiences, holistic development, and lifelong learning opportunities. We look forward to your application and working with you on your educational journey.


Courtney L. Luedke, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor & Graduate Program Coordinator

Higher Education Leadership/Athletic Administration


  1. Understand and analyze research related to an original problem related to current issues in higher education (such as equity gaps in persistence and graduation, compliance issues, and creating campus environments that promote belonging).
  2. Use research and theory to guide and improve practice and develop solutions to inequitable practices and challenges facing higher education (such as naming and addressing policies that interfere with student time to degree and improving existing programing and developing new programming to enhance students’ educational experiences).
  3. Inform and improve leadership practice by connecting and applying scholarship from a variety of areas related to higher education leadership such as legal issues, governance issues, assessment strategies, inclusion, diversity, and organizational frameworks.
  4. Communicate effectively in written, visual, and oral formats to share current knowledge in an area of higher education leadership.
  5. Demonstrate understanding of issues of equity, diversity and inclusion and their impact on higher education.

Students complete 9 foundational credits, 15 content-specific courses in higher education leadership, and a 6 credit capstone experience consisting of a 3 credit practicum and 3 credit career development course.

Prospective students should review the general graduate admission information for Graduate Academic Admission Requirements.

Additionally, our program requires:

  • Resume/CV
  • Letter of Interest, 500-800 words, addressing the following:

1.  What are your prior experiences and how have they led you to develop an interest and seek a master's degree in Higher Education Leadership/Athletic Administration?

2. What are your professional goals (short-term and long-term)?

3. How will this program will help you achieve your professional goals?

4. This program has a strong focus on equity and inclusion and preparing our students to become change agents in colleges and universities. How do you see yourself bringing about change? How would this program help you prepare to do this?

  • Two Letters of Recommendation

**No GRE Required

Send admission materials addressed to Dr. Courtney L. Luedke, HELEAD Graduate Program Coordinator at

For admission questions, contact Dr. Courtney L. Luedke, HELEAD Graduate Program Coordinator at

Click here to estimate your cost of attending UW-Whitewater using our tuition calculator.

UW-Whitewater is committed to the scholar-practitioner approach to graduate education, and, in turn, we strive to provide financial support for both adult and continuing students.

Graduate Assistantships

Many units on campus work in cooperation with the UW-Whitewater Higher Education Leadership program to employ graduate assistants.  These positions typically begin in the fall semester and are organized through each campus unit.  A graduate assistantship includes a stipend and health insurance.  When funds are available, non-residents receiving at least a two-thirds award will also qualify for a remission of the non-resident portion of tuition costs for the corresponding time period.  Students have completed graduate assistantships within residence life, career and leadership development, intercollegiate athletics, recreational sports, and academic advising.  Additional opportunities also may be available based on student interest. Students interested in applying should complete the following form: Graduate Assistantship Application Form.


Advanced Opportunity Program (AOP) Grant:

The purpose of the Advanced Opportunity Program (AOP) is to expand the number of minority/disadvantaged students who receive graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Individuals who are residents of the State of Wisconsin and members of an ethnic minority group which traditionally have been under-represented in the advanced levels of major fields of study offered at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater are given highest priority for receiving AOP awards. The University is committed to recruitment, support, retention, and graduation of AOP recipients. AOP awards are offered subject to availability of funds.

To receive AOP applications, please contact: Advanced Opportunity Program, Office of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs & Student Success, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 226 McCutchan Hall, Whitewater, Wisconsin 53190, (262) 472-4985.

AOP Guidelines and Application


UW-Whitewater both encourages and supports graduate level research that informs practice as well as career development.  Faculty and instructors in the program are eager to assist graduate students interested in completing independent research or taking part in an ongoing project.  Additionally, individual faculty members often employ hourly assistants through research grant funding. Students are encouraged to reach out to the program coordinator if they are interested in graduate research.

Use the following link to help register for classes:

Contact for additional assistance.

Keri Carollo

Keri Carollo

Keri Carollo enters her 20th season as head women's basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2021-22.

Carollo was named Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2019-20 after leading the Warhawks to the regular season conference championship and hosting privileges for the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Carollo guided the Warhawks to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament semifinals in 2013 and 2014. Under Carollo's leadership, the Warhawks have earned 48 all-conference accolades, including 26 first team honors. In 2009-10, Carollo was named WIAC Coach of the Year en route to leading the team to its first outright WIAC women's basketball championship at UW-Whitewater in more than 20 years.Carollo played basketball for four years at NCAA Division II Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., and was a three-year starter. She was named All-Northern California Athletic Conference team her senior year. Carollo graduated on the school's list of highest 3-point field goal percentage and ranked third in the nation in that category during her senior season. Carollo graduated from Humboldt with a bachelor's in sport/recreation management. She received her master’s in exercise and sports science/sports administration from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where she was a graduate assistant coach for two years.After her stint in La Crosse, she moved on to the University of Wisconsin-Stout, where she was an assistant coach (1999-01) and associate head coach (2001-02). While at Stout, the team ranked in the top three of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference during each season and won a conference championship in the 2001-02 season. Keri Carollo is the instructor to HELEAD 702 Organization and Administration of Sports.

Beth John

Dr. Beth John

Dr. Beth John has been working in higher education for over 20 years in various leadership roles. She is currently serving as the Director of First Year Experience at UW-Whitewater. The First Year Experience office is responsible for summer orientation and registration programs, fall orientation programs, mentor programs, learning communities, new student seminar, and family programs. Beth also serves as an Advisor for the Edgewood College Doctoral program in Educational Leadership. She previously served as the Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Student Activities at Edgewood College and provided leadership to areas of student activities, new student orientation, student organizations, leadership development, and commuter student services. Beth received her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education from Edgewood College and her M.S. in College Student Personnel from Western Illinois University. Beth believes deeply in the mission and values of UW-Whitewater and believes that this line of work is a "calling" for her. This is evident in her work with students, her commitment to social justice, and her thoughtful, ethical, and reflective practices.

Courtney Luedke

Dr. Courtney Luedke

Dr. Courtney Luedke is an Assistant Professor and the Coordinator of Higher Education Leadership program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Her research focuses on college access, persistence, and success for underserved populations including first-generation, and Students of Color in higher education. She is currently the lead Project Investigator (PI) on a study launched in the fall of 2014 titled, Academic and Career Socialization for Underrepresented Students (ACSUS). ACSUS is a longitudinal multisite case study developed to understand the role of academic and social support programs in critically socializing Students of Color to undergraduate research, career preparation, and strategies for success in college. Most recently, she launched a new study in 2016, which examines the life and collegiate experiences of undocumented Latina/o/x students in higher education. Dr. Luedke welcomes both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to engage in research with her and her research team, please contact her for more information. Her professional experiences center on pre-collegiate and summer bridge programs; undergraduate research experiences; and student support programs for first-generation students and Students of Color. Dr. Luedke received her Ph. D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis with a concentration in Diversity in Higher Education from the University of Wisconsin, her Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Dr. Luedke has published several book chapters and journal articles in outlets including: the American Educational Research Journal, Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, and the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education on issues of equity in higher education for Students of Color. Dr. Luedke serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice. Visit Dr. Luedke’s website to learn more about her and her work at:

Mario Morris, J.D. 

Mario Morris, J.D.

Mario G. Morris, J.D. currently serves as the University of Notre Dame's Deputy Athletics Director for Business Operations. Mr. Morris is currently pursuing his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include higher education issues related to student-athletes as well as finance and legal issues in higher education. Prior to his current role, Mario served as the Director of Financial Operations for the University of Wisconsin Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, where he had primary oversight of the athletic department financial operations and budget which exceeded $100 million dollars. Mr. Morris also worked for several years in the financial services industry. Mario teaches the NCAA Governance and Budget and Financial Management in Athletics and Higher Education courses. Mr. Morris received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin in 2006. He received his Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Alabama in 1994 where he was a starting linebacker for the University of Alabama football team that won the national championship in 1992.

Dr. Jamilia L. Lee

Dr. Jamilia L. Lee-Johnson

Dr. Lee-Johnson is the UW System Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Manager. Dr. Lee-Johnson is a former UW-Whitewater Inclusive Excellence Lecturer. Dr. Lee-Johnson has taught several courses in the HELEAD Program over the past 5 years. Dr. Lee-Johnson earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019; she holds a master’s in student Affairs Administration from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree from Clark Atlanta University. Dr. Lee-Johnson’s research interests are centered around the experiences of Black women in higher education, specifically the leadership experiences of undergraduate Black women at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and finding and creating ways to support students of color. Dr. Lee-Johnson has worked in several functional areas of higher education including: pre-college programs, residence life, Greek life, and career and academic services. Dr. Lee-Johnson loves working with students, and has published several book chapters, and recently served as a co-editor of a book.

Maijuana Vandyck 

Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck

Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck is founder and Executive Director of Action as Empowerment, an organization providing performance coaching, workshops, and intimate multi-day retreats to professionals who are unfulfilled with their current life trajectory and are looking to pivot and bring about specific goal-oriented changes in their lives. She is also a long-time real estate entrepreneur and has previously served as Inclusive Excellence Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, as Director of the Department of Education funded TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Program at Beloit College, Director of the Future Teacher Program and Coordinator for Recruitment and Retention in the College of Education and Professional Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater.

Dr. Vandyck holds a PhD in Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education, a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, and a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Her research interests include college access, persistence and graduation, and factors impacting academic achievement in marginalized student populations.

In her spare time, Marijuana loves ignoring housework to read historical romance novels instead, going camping, fishing, kayaking and spending warm cozy times with her family.

Dr. Vandyck would love to connect with you at

JP Villavicencio 

Dr. JP Villavicencio

Dr. JP Villavicencio (he/him) currently serves as the Coordinator for the Pathway for Success program at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. In this role, he oversees all facets of the program including academic advising, programming, course curriculum, and collaborating with campus partners. He has also been an elected representative to Academic Staff Assembly, one of the shared governance groups at UW-Whitewater, since 2015. JP is an active member of NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising where he has been elected chair of the Sustainable NACADA Leadership committee, served as co-chair of the 2021 Virtual Region 3 & 5 conference, and was a member of the Inclusion and Engagement committee. He has a strong passion for working with students and seeks to facilitate growth and development through their educational journey as it relates to their career, academic, and personal development. JP received his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a concentration of Higher Education and Leadership Studies from Edgewood College, his M.S.E. in Higher Education Leadership from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, and B.A in Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Artanya Wesley

Dr. Artanya Wesley

Dr. Wesley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Psychology and Masters of Science in Education. She received a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from Capella University. Dr. Wesley has 16 years of experience working in the University of Wisconsin System. Dr. Wesley is currently the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Previous to this position, she served as Dean of Students and Interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Students Affairs. Prior to arriving at UW-Whitewater, Dr. Wesley served at UW System Administration as the Senior Academic Planner for Student Affairs in the Office Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, & Student Success. Dr. Wesley also served as Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Students and held various other positions at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

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