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Higher and Postsecondary Education

Department of Organization & Leadership

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Program Description

The Higher and Postsecondary Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University strives to prepare knowledgeable scholars and scholar-practitioners in the field of higher education. We strive to develop the abilities to analyze and foster excellence in teaching and learning, scholarly and professional development, and student development. Additionally, we strive to develop, in students, the abilities to analyze, design, and integrate the structures, processes, policies, and technologies that comprise colleges, universities, and state and national systems of tertiary education.

Further, we strive to develop understandings of social/cultural and civic perspectives, with attention to the connection between institutions of higher education and their external constituencies.

We have three degrees in higher education: (1) the Master of Arts (M.A.); (2) the Master of Education (Ed.M.); (3) the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.).

Master of Arts (M.A.) Degree

The 32-point Master of Arts (M.A.) degree develops knowledgeable practitioners in three domains of higher and postsecondary education: (1) its educational core (teaching and learning, student and professional development); (2) its organizational and institutional framework (institutional planning, organizational development, policymaking and implementation); and (3) its social positioning and comparative potential (e.g, civic engagement, philanthropy, benefits of higher education in a diverse society). Though students entering the M.A. Program will be exposed to each of these domains, they will specialize in one. Specialization occurs through the selection of one of three sequences: (1) Academic and Developmental Analysis, (2) Organizational and Institutional Analysis, or (3) Social/Cultural and Civic Analysis.

Students who pursue the M.A. degree will build on the program’s historic positioning in the study of student development through the college years and its current strengths in studies of academic learning and development. They will also build on the program's growing capacities in higher/postsecondary education policy, social thought, and comparative analysis, as well as on the department's offerings in organizational studies. As such, students earning the M.A. degree will be positioned to serve in a variety of academic and student support positions, as well as in various administrative roles.

Master of Education (Ed.M.) Degree

The 60-point Master of Education (Ed.M.) degree develops breadth of understanding of higher and postsecondary education, though emphasizing particular domains of study and practice, among them academic learning and development, organizational and institutional processes, and social/cultural and civic perspectives. Students who pursue the Ed.M. in Higher and Postsecondary Education typically bring to their studies well developed understandings of particular facets of the enterprise, often from their own participation in the professional practices that define it (teaching, administration, etc.). The Ed.M. Program helps them situate their practice-based knowledge and their emerging intellectual interests within the broader span of higher and postsecondary education, thereby providing expanded intellectual resources for their scholarly and professional efforts. The program also introduces Ed.M. students to the field of higher education as a scholarly community and a body of developing knowledge. There are two tracks offered for the Ed.M.: (1) the Professional Practices in Higher Education track and (2) the Practices of Research in Higher Education track.

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Degree

The 90-point Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree develops breadth of understanding about higher and postsecondary education with a focus on an intellectual issue or professional activity (concentration or emphasis area). Breadth is assured through study within three curricular domains: (1) Academic and Developmental Analysis, (2) Organizational and Institutional Analysis, and (3) Social/Cultural and Civic Analysis of higher and postsecondary education. As they engage in study across these domains and beyond them (through related out-of-program courses), students will work with faculty advisors to develop emphasis areas, among them studies in teaching and learning, institutional assessment, administration and leadership, diversity and access, student learning and development, and scholarly learning and careers. The Ed.D. requires in- depth study in processes/methods of inquiry appropriate to the area of  emphasis, as well as a substantial theoretical understanding of the area and approaches to inquiry within it.

Students who pursue the Ed.D. explore and question the range of perspectives for understanding the higher education enterprise, its educational and intellectual core, its institutional/organizational rubrics, and its social/cultural and civic contextualizations. Thus, through their own research (situated within an emphasis area), students participate in reshaping current understandings of postsecondary education. Ed.D. students conclude their programs by writing a dissertation that, though focused on a particular research problem within higher and postsecondary education, reflects the tripartite aims of the curriculum, as well as deep understanding of knowledge structures underpinning their area of inquiry. They are positioned then to scrutinize prevailing views of what it means to engage in “higher learning,” and to improve and develop the settings in which that learning occurs.

Degrees

  • Master of Arts

    • Points/Credits: 32

      Entry Terms: Fall Only

      Degree Requirements

      The M.A. requires a minimum of 32 points of graduate coursework. Students pursue one of three domain sequences: (1) Academic and Developmental Analysis,

      1. Organizational and Institutional Analysis, or (3) Social/Cultural and Civic Analysis.

      Course requirements common to all sequences include (15 points):

      • ORL 5521 Introduction to research methods in education (3) or equivalent with advisor approval

      • ORLH 4010 Purposes and policies of higher education (3)

      • ORLH 4011 Curriculum and instruction in higher education (3)

      • ORLH 4040 The American college student (3)

      • ORLH 5525 Advanced professional seminar: College student development theories (3)

      Beyond the core requirements, additional requirements for the Academic and Developmental Analysis sequence include the following coursework as well as a culminating project:

      • ORLH 4042 Student personnel administration: Programs and services (3) or other with advisor approval

      Three (3) elective courses from the following (9 points):

      • ORLD 4051 How adults learn (3)

      • ORLH 4012 The community college (3)

      • ORLH 4041 Student personnel administration: Organization, functions, and issues (3) or other with advisor approval

      • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3)

      • ORLH 5044 Theories of diversity in higher education (3)

      • ORLH 5522 Advanced professional seminar: Contemporary student issues and policies (3)

      • ORLH 5524 Advanced professional seminar: An analysis of student cultures (3)

      • ORLH 5527 Advanced professional seminar: The college professoriate (3)

      • ORLH 5545 Advanced professional seminar: The civic mission of higher education (3)

      • ORLH 5546 Advanced professional seminar: Philanthropy and education (3)

      • Other ORLH courses (TBA) related to Higher Education area of interest with advisor approval (3)

      Other Courses:

      • M.A. students with internship must take ORLH 5241, Observation and Supervised Fieldwork in Higher and Postsecondary Education (1 point). Non-internship students elect another Teachers College course with advisor approval (1 point).

      • Minimum of two additional out-of-program Teachers College elective courses -- one 3-point course and one 1-point course -- for a total of 4 points. These courses require advisor approval (4 points).

      Beyond the core requirements, additional requirements for the Organizational and Institutional Analysis sequence include the following coursework as well as a culminating project:

      • ORLH 4020 College and university organization and administration (3)

      • ORLH 4031 Financial administration of higher education institutions (3) Two (2) elective courses from the following (6 points):

      • ORLD 4051 How adults learn (3)

      • ORLH 4012 The community college (3)

      • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3)

      • ORLH 5527 Advanced professional seminar: The college professoriate (3)

      • ORLH 5545 Advanced professional seminar: The civic mission of higher education (3)

      • ORLH 5546 Advanced professional seminar: Philanthropy and education (3)

      • ORLH 6556 Educational leadership: Research, art, and practice (3) or equivalent with advisor approval

      • Other ORLH courses (TBA) related to Higher Education area of interest with advisor approval (3)

      Other Courses:

      • M.A. students with internship must take ORLH 5241, Observation and Supervised Fieldwork in Higher and Postsecondary Education (1 point). Non-internship students elect another Teachers College course with advisor approval (1 point).

      • Minimum of two additional out-of-program Teachers College elective courses -- one 3-point course and one 1-point course -- for a total of 4 points. These courses require advisor approval (4 points).

      Beyond the core requirements, additional requirements for the Social/Cultural and Civic Analysis sequence include the following coursework as well as a culminating project:

      • ORLH 5044 Theories of diversity in higher education (3) Three (3) elective courses from the following (9 points):

      • ORLD 4051 How adults learn (3)

      • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3)

      • ORLH 5522 Advanced professional seminar: Contemporary student issues and policies (3)

      • ORLH 5524 Advanced professional seminar: An analysis of student cultures (3)

      • ORLH 5527 Advanced professional seminar: The college professoriate (3)

      • ORLH 5545 Advanced professional seminar: The civic mission of higher education (3)

      • ORLH 5546 Advanced professional seminar: Philanthropy and education (3)

      • ORLH 6556 Educational leadership: Research, art and practice (3) or equivalent with advisor approval

      • Other ORLH courses (TBA) related to Higher Education area of interest with advisor approval (3)

      Other Courses:

      • M.A. students with internship must take ORLH 5241, Observation and Supervised Fieldwork in Higher and Postsecondary Education (1 point). Non-internship students elect another Teachers College course with advisor approval (1 point).

      • Minimum of two additional out-of-program Teachers College elective courses -- one 3-point course and one 1-point course -- for a total of 4 points. These courses require advisor approval (4 points).

      Changes or other adjustments to requirements and distributions, as shown for the

      M.A. in Higher and Postsecondary Education, require approval of the HPSE MA Advisor. The above plan assumes advisor approval for all courses of enrollment.

  • Master of Education

    • Points/Credits: 60

      Entry Terms: Fall Only

      Degree Requirements

      The Ed.M. requires a minimum of 60 points and an integrative paper prepared as a culminating project. There are two tracks offered for the Ed.M.: (1) the Professional Practices in Higher Education track and (2) the Practices of Research in Higher Education track.

      Core courses required by both tracks (36 points):

      • ORL 5521 Introduction to research methods in education (3) or equivalent with advisor approval

      • ORLH 4010 Purposes and policies of higher education (3)

      • ORLH 4011 Curriculum and instruction in higher education (3)

      • ORLH 4020 College and university organization and administration (3)

      • ORLH 4031 Financial administration of higher education institutions (3)

      • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3)

      • ORLH 5044 Theories of diversity in higher education (3)

      • ORLH 5526 Advanced professional seminar: The literature of higher education (3)

      • ORLH 5527 Advanced professional seminar: The college professoriate (3)

      • ORLH 5545 Advanced professional seminar: The civic mission of higher education (3)

      • ORLH 6511 Coordinating seminar in higher education (3)

      • ORLH 6900 Research and independent study in higher education or equivalent with advisor approval (3). (The integrative paper is prepared in this course.)

      Remaining eight courses for the Professional Practices in Higher Education Track (24 points):

      • Four courses within the HPSE Program, with the purpose of developing a concentration in one of the curricular domains that pertains to the student’s professional career (Academic and Developmental Analysis, Organizational and Institutional Analysis, or Social/Cultural and Civic Analysis). To substitute an out-of-program course requires advance approval from the HPSE faculty advisor.

      • Three courses outside the Program, with at least two of these outside the Department of Organization and Leadership. All extra-Program courses should relate conceptually, substantively, and/or methodologically to the student's concentration and area of interest. All out-of-Program electives require advisor approval.

      • One course will be an independent study that will be a guided professional practice experience.

      Remaining eight courses for the Practices of Research in Higher Education Track (24 points):

      • Three courses within the HPSE Program, with the purpose of developing a concentration in one of the curricular domains that pertains to the student’s scholarly and career interests (Academic and Developmental Analysis, Organizational and Institutional Analysis, or Social/Cultural and Civic Analysis). To substitute an out-of-program course requires advance approval from the HPSE faculty advisor.

      • Two courses either within the HPSE Program or with advisor approval appropriate courses outside HPSE, with the purpose of developing a concentration in a methodological tradition: (examples below)

        • Two quantitative courses (one introductory and one advanced)

        • Two qualitative courses (one introductory and one advanced)

        • One introductory quantitative and one introductory qualitative course

      • Two courses should be outside the Department of Organization and Leadership. All extra-Program courses should relate conceptually, substantively, or methodologically to the student's developing area of interest. All out-of-Program electives require advisor approval.

      • One course will be an independent study that will be a guided research experience.

      Changes or other adjustments to requirements and distributions, as shown for the Ed.M. in Higher and Postsecondary Education, require approval of the HPSE faculty advisor. The above plan assumes advisor approval for all courses of enrollment.

      All Ed.M. students are required to complete a guided independent study experience. Students in the Professional Practices track will complete a guided professional practice experience as their independent study. Students in the Practices of Research track will complete a guided research experience as their independent study.

      A limited number of internships may be available to Ed.M. students, pending advisor consultation and approval of the Program Director. For information, please contact the Program’s Internship Coordinator.

  • Doctor of Education

    • Points/Credits: 90

      Entry Terms: Fall Only

      Degree Requirements

      The Ed.D. requires a minimum of 90 points of graduate coursework, completion of the certification exam (two parts), and the writing and successful defense of a dissertation.

      Required core courses include (33 points):

      • ORL 5521 Introduction to research methods in education (3) or equivalent with advisor approval

      • ORLH 4010 Purposes and policies of higher education (3)

      • ORLH 4011 Curriculum and instruction in higher education (3)

      • ORLH 4020 College and university organization and administration (3)

      • ORLH 4031 Financial administration of higher education institutions (3)

      • ORLH 5011 College teaching and learning (3)

      • ORLH 5044 Theories of diversity in higher education (3)

      • ORLH 5526 Advanced professional seminar: The literature of higher education (3)

      • ORLH 5527 Advanced professional seminar: The college professoriate (3)

      • ORLH 6511 Coordinating seminar in higher education (3)

      • Other advanced seminars with advisor approval (3)

      A minimum of four (4) additional research courses (12 points) will be selected relative to the student's research preparation needs; selection of research coursework requires approval of the dissertation sponsor. Additional methodological coursework and a research apprenticeship are recommended and may be required by dissertation sponsor or committee toward development of appropriate research expertise. Consult with dissertation sponsor.

      The remaining fifteen courses (45 points) are to be distributed as follows:

      • Five courses within the Program: Development of a concentration within one or two of the curricular domains, or crossing all three, with advisor approval. The concentration must represent a coherent area of study that broadly situates dissertation research.

      • Five courses outside the Program, with at least three of these outside the Department of Organization and Leadership, with advisor approval. These courses must contribute substantively, theoretically, or methodologically to the student's selected area of study.

      • Five courses either within or outside the Program, with advisor approval. These courses should contribute to the student’s area of study substantively, conceptually, or methodologically.

      Changes or other adjustments to requirements and distributions, as shown for the Ed.D. in Higher and Postsecondary Education, require approval of the HPSE faculty advisor. The above plan assumes advisor approval for all courses of enrollment.

      A limited number of internships may be available to Ed.D. students, pending advisor consultation and approval of the Program Director. For information, please contact the Program’s Internship Coordinator.

Faculty

  • Faculty

    • William J. Baldwin Professor in Practice of Higher Education
    • Thomas Wayne Brock Director, Community College Research Center
    • Katharine Griffin Conway Associate Professor
    • Kevin J. Dougherty Professor of Higher Education and Education Policy
    • Noah D Drezner Professor of Higher Education
    • Anna Neumann Professor of Higher Education
    • Janice Sheryl Robinson Vice President for Diversity and Community Affairs
  • Adjunct Faculty

    • Maria Alana Anderson-Long Adjunct Assistant Professor
    • Monica Coen Christensen Adjunct Associate Professor
    • Tamsyn Phifer Johnston Adjunct Assistant, Higher & Post Secondary Education
    • Thomas Patrick Rock Vice Provost for Student Affairs
    • Corlisse Dolores Thomas-Deberry Adjunct Assistant Professor
  • Instructors

    • Alvaro Andres Cabrera
    • Jeree Monique Matherson Senior Director of Special Projects

Courses

  • ORL 5521 - Introduction to research methods in education
    This course meets a departmental requirement for an introductory course on empirical research in education and organizational studies. The goal is to help students be able to access, comprehend, synthesize, and utilize research, to support and facilitate the research efforts of others, and to begin to prepare to conduct their own research. Students read exemplars of published research, along with texts about research design, data collection and analysis, and strategies for assessing the validity and trustworthiness of research. The course covers qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches to research, such as experiments, surveys, case studies, ethnography, and action research.
  • ORLH 4010 - Purposes and policies of higher education
    An introduction to the U.S. system of higher education through an overview of the system and its history, a survey of the missions and purposes served by U.S. colleges and universities, and an investigation of some of the pressing policy questions now confronting those institutions.
  • ORLH 4011 - Curriculum and instruction in higher education
    An introduction to theories and practices pertaining to curriculum and teaching in U.S. higher education. Internal and external influences on curriculum and teaching and implications for college and university classrooms. Examination of key trends and developments, including the impact of the scholarship of teaching.
  • ORLH 4012 - The community college
    Emerging issues, problems, and trends in community colleges, technical institutes, and adult education. Topics include the history and philosophy of the community college movement, governance and finance, teaching, student personnel work, impact on students, and the future of the community college.
  • ORLH 4020 - College and university organization and administration
    Basic aspects of college and university organization and administration with consideration given to the roles of various groups in governance and management as well as organizational processes such as leadership, decision making, and conflict resolution. External and internal constraints examined from conceptual, practical, and policy perspectives.
  • ORLH 4031 - Financial administration of higher education institutions
    No financial training is required. Introduction to the financial pressures facing colleges and universities and the various kinds of solutions they have adopted to meet those pressures. Topics include strategic planning, cost cutting, outsourcing, enrollment planning, new curricula, and fund raising.
  • ORLH 4040 - The American college student
    Reviews the demographic data about student access to college, the determinants of social class, race and gender differences in college access and choice, and the influence of colleges upon students.
  • ORLH 4041 - Student personnel administration: Organization, functions, and issues
    Permission required. An introduction to various forms of organization and functions: multidisciplinary foundations, including historical and philosophical foundations and conceptual and research contributions from the behavioral and social sciences.
  • ORLH 4042 - Student personnel administration: Programs and services
    A survey of programs and services typical of American colleges and universities. Includes contemporary issues of concern to student personnel administrators.
  • ORLH 4845 - Diversity: Implications for recruitment and retention
    Students will explore diversity (race, class and gender) concerns affecting the recruitment and retention of diverse student and faculty populations in the context of American higher education.
  • ORLH 4900 - Research and independent study in higher education
    Independent research.
  • ORLH 5011 - College teaching and learning
    Designed for individuals who aspire to college teaching. This course emphasizes research on student learning and pedagogies. The course stresses the implications of diversity in the student population.
  • ORLH 5044 - Theories of diversity in higher education
    Critical analysis of cultural diversity in American higher education with respect to the curriculum, co-curriculum, and institutional structure. Presents new paradigms with which to understand the complexities of response that are necessary to adequately meet the needs of all students.
  • ORLH 5241 - Observation and supervised fieldwork in higher and postsecondary education
    Permission required. Students reserve two days a week for work in colleges. A seminar integrates field practices with course theory. Required of all students doing an internship.
  • ORLH 5522 - Advanced professional seminar: Contemporary Student Issues and Policies
    Intensive analysis of selected problems and issues in postsecondary education. The course is intended for practicing professionals in postsecondary education as well as majors in the program. Other students in the college who wish to enroll should obtain permission of the instructor.
  • ORLH 5524 - Advanced professional seminar: An analysis of student cultures
    Critical analysis of selected research reports pertaining to the student cultures. The focus is on the purposes of each study, the question(s) asked, the assumptions and theories upon which the research is based, the sources of data, the method(s) of data collection, the conclusions and interpretations developed, and the relevance of the research to student personnel in particular and to higher education in general.
  • ORLH 5525 - Advanced professional seminar: College student development theories
    Course focuses on college student development theories and their application to higher education. Primary areas of focus include: (1) intellectual and ethical developmental theory, individual development models, learning styles models, and theories of cultural identity, (2) ethical considerations using theory in practice, and (3) critique of theories from a variety of research perspectives.
  • ORLH 5526 - Advanced professional seminar: The literature of higher education
    Permission required if not a student in the program. Intensive analysis of research process as applied to study of higher education. The course is intended for Ed.M. and Ed.D. students in the program. Other students in the college who wish to enroll should obtain permission of the instructor. Analysis of selected classic and contemporary works that have influenced thought and affected public opinion and public policy related to higher education. Topics vary from year to year.
  • ORLH 5527 - Advanced professional seminar: The college professoriate
    Review and discussion of the research and literature, diverse roles, and expectations that characterize the position of college professor, with attention to implications for professional and personal development. Consideration of the professoriate as a profession.
  • ORLH 5533 - Advanced professional skills: Faculty development
    Theory and practice concerning theory, evaluation, and improvement of college teaching. Topics include models and practices for review, design, and conduct of faculty development programs.
  • ORLH 5545 - The civic mission of higher education
    This course is designed to give you an understanding of the civic mission of higher education and introduce you to the study and practice of public engagement in higher education. During the semester, we will consider the civic roles of postsecondary education institutions both past and present. Special attention will be paid to contemporary philosophies and practices of engagement, and how engagement is expressed in various institutional contexts.
  • ORLH 5546 - Philanthropy and education
    The power of philanthropy within the United States and American higher education has been tremendous. Philanthropy has become a cultural norm in the United States; Americans give their money at a higher rate than any other country in the world. In fact, Peter Dobkin Hall believes that “No single force is more responsible for the emergence of the modern university in America than giving by individuals and foundations.” The purpose of this course is designed to look critically at how philanthropy and fundraising has affected American higher education.
  • ORLH 5547 - Higher education assessment in an era of accountability
    This course will introduce students to assessment practices in U.S. higher education, focusing on assessment of teaching, learning, and educational quality as it relates to the learning outcomes movement in higher education. The course divides the intended learning into two broad topics: understanding and analyzing the national landscape of higher education accountability and assessment; and developing the skills to create and implement an assessment plan.
  • ORLH 5900 - Research and independent study in higher education
    Independent research.
  • ORLH 6020 - Craft of interview research
    Taught in research team/practicum format, the course develops students' knowledge and skills of interview research as a process including development of research questions, conceptual framework, study design and methods, data collection, data analysis, interpretation, and reporting. We focus on one-to-one interviewing coupled to document analysis and observation toward understanding persons' thinking and learning in diverse educational contexts.
  • ORLH 6511 - Coordinating seminar in higher education
    Permission required. Course restricted to Ed.D. and Ed.M. students in the Higher Education program. An overview and discussion of the most topical literature in American higher education, this course is designed to explore a wide variety of educational roles in the context of the goals and aspirations of new doctoral students.
  • ORLH 6556 - Educational leadership: Research, art and practice
    Examination of leadership research definition, dimensions, characteristics, and capacities. Exploration of leadership opportunities within entire range of educational practice. Application of leadership lessons to educational problems and situations through case studies.
  • ORLH 6900 - Research and independent study in higher education
    Independent research.
  • ORLH 7500 - Dissertation seminar in higher education
    Students should have completed most or all coursework (including research methods courses) and have passed the certification examination. Students register for the course the semester a proposal hearing is to be scheduled. The course is intended for students who have identified a reasonably narrow area for research and have already completed a preliminary literature review. The course will assist the student in design, methods, and other matters of concern in the preparation of an acceptable dissertation proposal.
  • ORLH 7900 - Directed dissertation research
    All doctoral students eligible for this course must register each semester until a proposal hearing has occurred and a proposal has been approved.
  • ORLH 8900 - Dissertation advisement in higher education
    Individual advisement on doctoral dissertations. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see section in catalog on Continuous Registration for Ed.D./Ph.D. degrees.
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