A Demographic Analysis of Graduate Programs in Higher Education Administration in the United States
Jensen, Devon, Academy of Educational Leadership Journal
This paper explores the history of Higher Education as a field of study as described in the literature and uses this as a foundation to explore the current context of graduate programs in higher education administration through a descriptive analysis of existing programs in the United States. Data analyzed in this study consider graduate programs in higher education administration under the constructs of program demographics, application requirements, and program structure.
Over the past several years, there has been a growing interest in the field of Higher Education Administration. At the time of the writing of this document, a quick review of the Barnes and Noble website in the US listed 1401 books under the heading of Higher Education Leadership. The reality of this extensive amount of literature indicates that North American society wants to know more about Higher Education from how to pick the right college to how to be a women administrator in a university. The scope of the literature also represents the complexity of Higher Education. It further indicates that more and more academics and writers are researching and studying Higher Education as a separate and defined topic. Along with more researchers, there is a growing demand among learners to be educated in the field of Higher Education Administration. Conscious of this growth, the focus of this research was to conduct a demographic study of all graduate programs in Higher Education Administration across the United States. The intent was to survey the landscape of the programs to reveal a broader look at just what is currently happening with this field of study.
RETRACING THE FOOTSTEPS
Many of these current efforts into studying Higher Education trace back to the original ideas of Granville Stanley Hall who taught the first North American university course in college and university problems in 1893 at Clark University (Goodchild, 1996). Further evidence of a growing interest in Higher Education as a field of study came in 1930 with the first publication of the Journal of Higher Education that has grown to become one of the pre-eminent journals on the issues of Higher Education. In this same year, Miller (1930) published an article that surveyed Masters and Doctoral Theses written on issues related to Higher Education between the years 1919 and 1928. In his research, he was able to locate 250 theses written about Higher Education. A total of 65 were at the doctoral level with 185 at the masters level. A breakdown of the doctoral studies revealed 31% of the theses focused on administration, 17% concentrated on issues pertaining to tests and measurements, 11% considered college teaching and teachers, an equal of 11% dealt with university curricula, another 9% focused on the history and description of Higher Education, with the final 6% on guidance.
Within the Journal of Higher Education, an article appeared in 1937 by Payne (1937) further justifying the need for continued research in matters related to Higher Education. Payne spoke of his concern that higher education of his time used trial and error practices related to leadership and curriculum in higher education. He expressed the desire to use research as a means to better understand just what was going on with higher education in North America. Another reference to Higher Education occurred in 1938 with the publication of "A University Course on The American College" (Eells, 1938). Eells, along with the American Association of University Professors, recommended that universities across the country offer a course on issues and problems related to the American college. It was deemed that any student wishing to pursue a career in college teaching take a class of this nature. Eells also felt that this class should be housed in the Faculty of Education.
The general aim of the course was to develop such understanding and attitudes concerning the history, objectives, organization, and administration of American higher education as to make the students taking it more effective university or college professors, more intelligent participants in the determination of college and university policies, and better interpreters of the institutions of which they might become a part to the communities in which they might be located. …