Why Study Higher Education?

Why Study Higher Education?

The Higher Education master’s program at SMU has a variety of resources necessary to provide students with the tools needed to excel at the highest level and to feel prepared for the challenges their future career opportunities may provide. In our small cohort-style courses, students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty and administrators across campus and in the community.

With typically 10-15 students per cohort, students experience the engaging benefits of small classes, as well as the opportunity to work closely with our faculty, who bring current research into class to improve students’ knowledge of higher education. Professors help students achieve their goals by providing the flexibility necessary to focus on each student’s individual interests. Our higher education students also have the opportunity to learn from university administrators and practitioners, so that they have a clear idea of what it is like to work in the world of higher education.

In addition, our master’s students form lifelong connections within their cohorts. In the classroom, students get the chance to discuss their readings and interests among their peers and work together on projects. Graduate students and alumni participate in events coordinated by the Higher Education Student Association (HESA) and SMU’s Division of Student Affairs, such as professional development programs. You have the opportunity to get to know each of your classmates on a more personal level and support each other during your time in the program and beyond graduation. 


Program Faculty

  • Evelyn Ashley, Ph.D. (Bowling Green State University) Associate Dean of Students, Director for Student Support, Advocacy and Accountability
  • Kiersten Ferguson, Ph.D. (University of Texas at Austin) Clinical Associate Professor and Program Director
  • Dominique Baker, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University) Assistant Professor
  • Sondra Barringer, Ph.D. (University of Georgia) Assistant Professor
  • Denisa Gandara, Ph.D. (University of Georgia) Assistant Professor
  • Michael S. Harris, Ed.D. (University of Pennsylvania) Associate Professor
  • Susan M. Howe, J.D. (University of Tulsa) Associate University Counsel and Clinical Associate Professor
  • Ashley Tull, Ed.D. (Florida State University) Clinical Associate Professor
  • Paul Ward, J.D. (Southern Methodist University) Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel, and Clinical Professor