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Consider a career in student affairs administration, a profession that supports college students and promotes learning outside of the classroom.

Title

Program Overview

Program Mission

The mission of the Salem State HESA program is to prepare critical, contemplative, social justice and equity minded practitioner-scholars whose life experiences, social identities, and world-views are central to their success and guide in developing their higher education and student affairs philosophies. Key values that guide our mission include:

  • Fostering critical consciousness
  • Advancing towards critical praxis
  • Developing transformative leaders
  • Cultivating compassionate educators

Learn about our General Cohort

The General Cohort (to be renamed Student Affairs Cohort) requires students to enroll in three courses each semester excluding summer. Classes are held in-person on-campus with a few hybrid/online options and meet weekdays in the evening (6:00-8:20 p.m.). (COVID-19 pandemic has impacted course modalities). The general cohort is ideal for aspiring student affairs professionals who are recent college graduates with para-professional experiences as student leaders at their undergraduate institutions. 

Learning how to incorporate theory to practice and developing skills and competencies that relate directly to a student’s functional areas of interest in student affairs are key objectives of our curriculum. The M.Ed. in Higher Education in Student Affairs is a 36 credit program, including two practicum courses. The culminating experience is integrated into the capstone seminar and allows students to reflect on and demonstrate their achievement of the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators (2015). The following is the sequence of courses that matriculated students enroll in over two years. 

Year 1, Fall Semester
Year 1, Spring Semester
Year 2, Fall Semester
Year 2, Spring Semester
Highlights
  • In-person, evening classes on campus; 6:00p.m. - 8:20 p.m. on weekdays (usually Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays).
  • In person, hybrid and online elective course options.
  • Two required practicum experiences (paid or unpaid).
  • HESA graduate assistantships, with a stipend, highly encouraged.
  • Summer internships and professional development opportunities.
  • Extensive alumni network.

The HESA program takes advantage of our proximity to the Greater Boston metro region and the numerous institutions of higher education (public, private four-year, two-year, technical/trade schools, etc.) to offer our students a plethora of practicum opportunities that introduce them to different functional areas in students affairs. Students gain a breadth of experience, develop professional skills, and learn about a specific student affairs or higher education functional area - other than their assistantship. Several of these opportunities are paid positions and provide additional stipend to our students. The HESA program coordinator and/or the course instructor assist students with identifying these opportunities. 

The focus of our practicum courses is the integration of theory and practice whereby students develop their own praxis. Each practicum course has an in-class component and a site-based practical component. Currently, the HESA curriculum requires one practicum course and encourages students to consider taking the second practicum course to fulfill one of the three required electives. In EDU 985A: Practicum in Student Affairs I, students focus on identity-conscious supervision in student affairs and in EDU 985B: Practicum in Student Affairs II, students focus on identity and leadership.

Each practicum includes 150 hours of supervised fieldwork in a higher education/student affairs organizational setting and attending four to five seminar classes with a course instructor. The course instructor works very closely with the student and the practicum supervisor to develop clear learning outcomes, establish explicit expectations for projects and of supervisor, and formalize evaluation criteria through a learning contract. Students are encouraged to examine different supervisory styles as they complete their practicum. Both site-based practical components may be completed at Salem State University or at another institution with permission of the HESA program coordinator.

Below are a sample of past practicum sites:

  • Bentley University (Career Services, Advising)
  • Emmanuel College (Orientation)
  • Endicott College (Community Standards)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (New Student Programs, Multicultural Programs, LGBTQ+ Services) 
  • North Shore Community College (TRiO, Advising)
  • Northeastern University (Fraternity & Sorority Life)
  • Salem State University (First Year Experience, LEAD/Center for Justice and Liberation, Residence Life, Center for Inclusive Excellence, HESA Program)
  • University of Massachusetts Boston (Dean of Students)
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell (Advising, Career Services)

A defining characteristic of Salem State University’s graduate programs is the completion of a culminating experience through which students integrate prior experience, put into practice what has been learned in the program, and demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in a specialized field of study. The School of Graduate Studies offers three culminating experience options, which include a thesis, a capstone project (portfolio, practicum, internship, field experience), or a comprehensive exam. The culminating experience is integrated into the capstone seminar and allows students to reflect on and demonstrate their achievement of the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators (2015).

Student affairs is an application-oriented profession and to assess a student’s progress and successful growth and development across all professional ACPA-NASPA competencies, a culminating presentation is incorporated as a requirement for the successful completion of the capstone seminar. Students are required to present a well-developed, succinct yet comprehensive formal presentation to a committee comprised of HESA faculty and student affairs professionals to demonstrate their grasp of student development theories, self-assessment of the competencies and CAS standards, practical wisdom gained from the assistantship, practica, internship and full-time work experiences, and the praxis that will guide their professional practice post-graduation. Students will need to provide evidence and thoughtful analysis of personal growth and professional development.

While admission to our program can be competitive, especially with assistantship placement, the HESA program is not wanting or seeking to achieve selective status. Rather, we welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds with varied educational and life experiences mirroring the students they seek to serve and with a curiosity for graduate education.

Our application review process is holistic and humanistic. As a graduate program committed to course work and practice focused on access and success of college students, it is important that applicants have a barrier-free experience while applying to the HESA program. Our admission process includes submitting the following items along with your graduate application and participating in an academic program interview with a HESA faculty member for Fall semester matriculation. HESA program does not require the GRE for admission or application consideration.

Required Material
  1. Graduate Application Form

The online form is available through our Graduate Admissions Office. 

  1. Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is your opportunity to share your personal and professional hopes, dreams, and disappointments that motivate and bring you to this promising moment of applying for admission to the Salem State HESA program. We explicitly ask our applicants not to relive their trauma (“poor” academic performance, “bad” semester, traumatic life events, etc.) in their statements of purpose for admissions purposes. We understand that life circumstances impact everyone, including college students, and an individual’s past isn’t just a summation of the circumstances that caused the trauma, but represents the renewed hope and purpose an applicant may have in pursuing a career in student affairs through our HESA program. 

In no more than 750 words, consider crafting a statement of purpose that responds to the following prompts.

  1. What personal and professional experiences have influenced you in the past and now lead you to seek admission to the HESA program at Salem State?
  2. What are your long-term professional goals, and how might the HESA program help you achieve them?
  3. Identify one important issue within the field of higher education or student affairs and explain why this issue is important.
  4. Is there any other information that you think would help the admissions committee to evaluate your application? (Optional)

It is important you synthesize your statement as a cohesive essay rather than respond to each prompt individually. Additionally, we recognize that you may seek guidance from family members, mentors, supervisors, and peers to review your essay, who are often well-intentioned when providing feedback. However, when possible, we prefer and invite you to consider not burdening them with this extra labor. Instead, share your essay as is to allow HESA faculty to appreciate your narrative without potential influence from others with respect to content as well as writing style and clarity of ideas.

  1. Resumé

A current/up to date resumé that reflects your academic and co-curricular experiences and achievements must be included with the application.

  1. Letters of Reference

At this time three letters of professional reference are required for your application to be considered complete. When submitting the application, you must be prepared to provide names and email addresses of three individuals with whom you have/had an academic and/or professional relationship. 

  • Reference letters providers will receive an email with a unique link to complete their reference form, upload their letters, and submit their reference directly to Salem State.
  • We recommend you seek reference providers who are able to provide positive letters highlighting your academic, co-curricular, and leadership accomplishments and can offer an informed assessment of your application to pursue graduate education as well as a career in student affairs.
  • We recommend sharing your plans to apply to the program with your reference letter providers early to ensure that their letters are received in a timely manner to avoid delays.
  • Your reference letter providers may appreciate having your statement of purpose, your resume, and knowing the program priority deadline so they can submit their letters on time.
  • If your reference provider is a Salem State HESA alumni, please request that they mention that in their letter. 
  • The Graduate Admissions Office only forwards completed applications for review by the HESA admissions committee.
  • Letters written by friends, family members, peers, therapists, or acquaintances are not appropriate and will not be considered.  
  1. Official Transcripts

Applicants must request official transcripts or transcript evaluations to be directly sent to Salem State. When possible, we recommend that you request electronic transcripts from all previous institutions be sent directly to gradadmissions@salemstate.edu. Click here to follow more specific instructions on how to submit transcripts. 

  1. Non-refundable Application Fee

A $50 non-refundable application fee is required for reviewing your application.

We understand that the application fee may present a financial barrier to apply to the program. To mitigate the burden, the Graduate Admissions Office automatically waives the fee periodically. Check their website for specific dates or contact the HESA program coordinator to inquire about a fee waiver.

  1. International Applicants

In addition to the above required material, international applicants must peruse the following sections to ensure that these additional documents are submitted to ensure timely review of their application and matriculation into the program.

Upon admission to the HESA program, an international student programs coordinator from Salem State’s Center for International Education (CIE) will contact you. International students must document their ability to meet all educational and living expenses for the first year of their intended study before CIE can issue a Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student Status (Form I-20) per immigration regulations. Although you must only show proof for the first year of study, funding must be available for your entire course of study from your personal or sponsored funding sources. International students are NOT eligible for financial aid and U.S. Federal immigration regulations severely restrict international student employment so students should not expect to subsidize their studies by earning income in the United States.

Important Dates and Process
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until July 15 for the upcoming fall semester for general (Student Affairs) cohort. Priority application deadline is January 15.
  • Your application will not be reviewed until after the priority date, irrespective of when you applied to the program. 
  • After the Graduate Admissions Office forwards your complete application, the HESA admissions committee will review your application.
  • Upon review, you will be invited to HESA Visit Days for academic and assistantship interviews.
  • Following the academic admission interview, admissions recommendations are made by the HESA program coordinator to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. You should expect to receive a final decision from the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the Office of Graduate Admissions within a week of your interview.
  • Students matriculate into the HESA program (student affairs cohort) only into the upcoming Fall semester.

In collaboration with the Office of Student Life, the HESA program offers several on-campus graduate assistantships in various student affairs functional areas. Designed to be learning opportunities while developing specific functional area skills, future Salem State HESA students can apply and interview for these positions as part of Visit Days. HESA assistantships provide several benefits including:

  • Tuition remission for up to nine credits in Fall and Spring semesters. Students are responsible for all university fees.
  • 20 hours per week each semester (Fall and Spring, excluding Winter, Spring, and Summer breaks) at $15.50 - $16.50 per hour. Schedules are subject to agreement between the graduate assistant and their supervisor. 
  • Certain assistantship positions (Graduate Resident Director, Community Standards, Student Life Operations) provide additional benefits such as room and board (see position descriptions for details). 

The HESA assistantship interviews are scheduled to synchronize with the HESA academic program admissions timeline. While these are two separate processes, they occur at the same time as part of Visit Days and are both coordinated through the HESA program. HESA assistantships are awarded only to students who have been admitted into the program. Students are not required to have an assistantship for admission to the program, but are highly encouraged to secure one to gain experience and increase future employment prospects.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, all interviews will be conducted virtually. Below are the HESA assistantship positions at Salem State University that will be available for the academic year 2022-23 and the Visit Days process (academic admission interview and assistantship interview) we will follow. 

Type Details Compensation More Information 
HESA Assistantships Work in a variety of on-campus student affairs/services offices to support student success and retention efforts.

Tuition remission (excluding fees) for nine credits in the fall and spring terms, and a stipend ($15.50-$16.50 per hour for 20 hours per week).

Learn more about the application process, including position descriptions. 

Applications accepted until all positions are filled. 

Cost of Attendance

As a regional public university, Salem State is committed to increased access to graduate education through affordable tuition and fees. The HESA program falls under Price Group 2. In the interest of transparency, we provide a sample worksheet (for informational purposes only) of the cost to attend our HESA program. 

HESA Visit Days is our program’s intentional academic admission and assistantship interview process for students who are invited to visit campus to meet current students, faculty members, student affairs supervisors, and our university administrators. 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the HESA academic program admission and assistantship interviews for 2022 will be held virtually between February 17 and July 15. Your patience with our process is much appreciated.

Academic Program Admission Interview

The academic admission interview is an opportunity for the HESA faculty to get to know you and your potential as an emerging student affairs professional and for you to ask questions about our courses, our practitioner-scholar faculty, and the overall program culture.  

For 2022, the academic program admission interview will be held via Zoom and may be scheduled from February 17 till July 15. Applicants with completed applications will receive information via email on how to set up the interview. To learn more about our HESA faculty members and learn more about our program, applicants are encouraged to review our website. You are also invited to check out our social media accounts as we introduce our current students, faculty, student affairs campus partners, and alumni. 

Admission Decision

Following the academic admission interview, admissions recommendations are made by the HESA program coordinator to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. You should expect to receive a final decision from the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the Office of Graduate Admissions within a week of your interview.

Assistantship Interview

Several HESA graduate assistantships will be available for the academic year 2022-23. First, applicants must carefully review the assistantship position descriptions here, then use the assistantship ranking form (click here) to rank each of the available positions based on your interests, and provide a rationale for your top six choices. 

Upon receiving your preferences, our assistantship interview matching process will take into consideration a mutual interest to interview between both the assistantship provider and you. If there is a mutual match for specific assistantship positions, you will be guaranteed an assistantship interview. It is our hope that we can match you with 3-6 assistantship providers (if not more) for interviews. Individual assistantship providers will contact you directly to schedule assistantship interviews.

Assistantship Offers

Assistantship offers will be made early to mid-March. The assistantship interview process is outlined as a flowchart in the position description document. In accordance with the Council of Graduate Schools resolution, students who receive assistantship offers will have until April 15th to respond with their decision to accept or decline our offer. There is no assistantship requirement for admission into the HESA program. 

In addition to the HESA assistantships, there are alternative assistantship and funding opportunities that future and current HESA students may consider. These include on-campus assistantships through the School of Graduate Studies and off-campus assistantships through our Graduate Assistantship Partnership Program. 

Please note that these opportunities have their own timelines and hiring processes and should NOT be confused with the HESA assistantships. 

Type Details Compensation More Information
School of Graduate Studies - Graduate and Research Assistantships

Open to all graduate students. Specific grade requirements. Approximately 50 positions are available each academic year.

Tuition remission (excluding fees) and a stipend ($17.00 per hour for 10 hours per week). Visit the Graduate Assistantship page.
Graduate Assistantship Partnership Program We publicize graduate assistantship positions from local colleges and universities, and the list is provided to HESA students as another resource. Terms of the assistantship and remuneration are the purview of the participating institution. Learn more about partnership program opportunities.

VISIT DAYS VIRTUAL INFORMATIONAL MIXER

Ideally, we would all have wanted to meet and greet every future Salem State student in person. In prioritizing the safety and well-being of our prospective students, current students, staff, and faculty, we decided that providing an opportunity for you to connect virtually and socialize with a few current students as well as potential members of your cohort would be the most responsible alternative. Therefore, we will be hosting an optional Salem State HESA Visit Days Informational Mixer on Saturday, February 26 at 7:30pm EST. Please contact the HESA program coordinator for Zoom info.

HESA OPEN HOUSE 

Randy Fernandez, a first year HESA student and a Graduate Resident Director in Res Life, is completing her practicum requirement as the Visit Days Coordinator. She is available for you to meet and to ask questions about your graduate student application to Salem State HESA program, assistantship opportunities, or to just have a friendly chat! During Spring 2022 semester, Randy will be available most Mondays from 4pm till 5pm EST and Fridays from 2pm till 3pm EST (except university holidays and break) via Zoom. She is also available to meet by appointment. Feel free to contact Randy via email.

GRADUATE ADMISSIONS OPEN HOUSE 

Salem State’s graduate admission experts are committed to supporting students during the graduate school search process by offering a personalized visit experience. Several open house sessions are planned throughout the year. The HESA specific graduate admissions open house session is scheduled for 6pm on Wednesday, April 13. Click here to register for session. 

Matriculation into HESA Program

Email Graduate Admissions and copy the HESA program to let us know you plan to enroll (matriculate). Include your name, Salem State ID and graduate program. Enrolling allows other processes, such as registration and setting up your Salem State email, to begin. Refer to your acceptance/admission email for details of pending items to submit, e.g. proof of degree completion. No enrollment deposit is required for the HESA program. You will neither be able to sign up for your Salem State email account nor register for classes until after you have matriculated into the program. Please allow 24-48 hours after contacting the Graduate Admissions Office for you to be able to access your Salem State navigate account.

Sign up for Salem State Email

The day after you enrolled (matriculated), your Salem State email account will be automatically activated. Access your Salem State email through Outlook in Office 365. To log in, use the same username and password as your Navigator account. Email is the official method of communication at Salem State; therefore, you are expected to check your Salem State account regularly. Students who have on-campus positions will have an additional Salem State work email, which is a different email account than your student email. Faculty will only communicate to your student email account. Communication to personal/previous institutional email accounts will be discontinued from hereon. 

HESA Cohort 18 Welcome Social: Wednesday, September 7, 4:00pm-6:00pm EDT, Forest River Park, 32 Clifton Avenue, Salem, MA 01970

Join us for an in-person welcome social and say hello to the larger HESA community at Salem State. Pizza and soda will be served. Lawn and yard games will be available. Rain location: Viking Hall 123. If circumstances change due to COVID-19 between now and 09/07, we will meet virtually via Zoom. Information will be shared via email. 

HESA Cohort 18 Academic Program Orientation: Thursday, September 8, 5:00pm-8:30pm EDT, Petrowski Room, Marsh Hall (Second Floor – above Dining Commons)

The HESA academic program orientation is being scheduled as an in-person event at the moment and is carefully designed to provide you with an overview of the HESA experience, resources you can access as graduate students, engage in conversations about how to be a successful graduate student Salem State, life-work balance as a graduate student, and expectations. Faculty, senior university administrators, and program alumni will join us. If you are scheduled to work in your assistantship position (or have other employment commitments) during that time, please be sure to connect with your supervisor(s) and make necessary arrangements to reschedule work and be available during the designated time frame for academic orientation. Feel free to bring your dinner to orientation. If circumstances change due to COVID-19 between now and orientation date, we will meet virtually via Zoom. 

Fall 2022 Course Schedule and Registration

For Fall 2022, you will enroll in three graduate courses (9 credits). Log into your Canvas account to access course registration info. Please be sure to register using the specific class number. All HESA classes are dedicated to students in the program and you should not worry about “not getting in.” To register for courses, check out the instructional video (which is geared for an undergraduate student, but the process is pretty much the same for graduate students). Information regarding course textbooks can be found at the campus bookstore. If the information isn’t available, please wait for faculty to contact you about course material because a textbook may not have been adopted for the course, yet. Also, please refrain from emailing faculty for course syllabi ahead of the semester. Course Canvas pages can usually be accessed on the first day of class.

Plan of Study

Per the School of Graduate Studies catalog, every Salem State graduate student must submit a plan of study (PoS) upon matriculation into a program in consultation with the program coordinator. A plan of study is a list of courses, prerequisites, and capstone requirements needed to complete your degree. It is important that the PoS be adhered to as much as possible to graduate within the two year timeline. Course requirements and schedule in the HESA program are pre-determined and no advising meeting needs to be scheduled. You will complete your PoS form during orientation. 

Transfer Course Work

If you are seeking to transfer graduate courses from another institution, please review the transfer credit policy. To request transfer of courses to count towards your plan of study, please discuss with the program coordinator ahead of time. If you were enrolled in a HESA course(s) as “graduate non-matriculated career” in a prior semester, and successfully completed the course, your course(s) will automatically count towards your PoS. 

Tuition Remission for On-Campus Graduate Assistantships

If you were awarded an on-campus HESA assistantship or a School of Graduate Studies assistantship, your tuition remission will be applied to your university bill after you register for classes. This process requires coordination between several offices and will take time for the credit to appear on your account. Please be reminded that you are responsible for the payment of all fees. 

Paying Your Bill

Your bill is electronically generated and will be sent to your Salem State email address. Upon registering for classes, a monthly eBill will be generated and available for viewing on the second Tuesday of the month. Bills are due the second Wednesday in August (for fall) and the second Wednesday in January (for spring); although the official due date that Student Accounts adheres to is typically after classes begin. Payments can be made online through your Navigator account. Learn more about how to pay your bill. Click here for Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 graduate tuition and fees rates.

On-Campus Housing

If you prefer to live on campus, first pay a $300 deposit (which is refundable if Res Life is not able to offer housing). Upon confirmation of the payment, you will be provided with access to the Housing Portal so that you may complete your housing application as well as the Personal Detail form. Complete your housing application and Personal Details Form, if you wish to be considered for housing selection. If you are interested in living on campus or have more questions, please contact housing@salemstate.edu

Check List for Newly Accepted Graduate Students 

The Graduate Admissions office has created a check list for newly accepted graduate students. Many of the items on that list are addressed here. For others, such as submit documentation (if any) as outlined in your decision letter, finalize financial aid, access Canvas (online course/learning management system), and download Navigate app, please review directions in the check list. Specifically, you are able to obtain your Salem State University official id card called “ClipperCard” via snail mail. Your first card is “free.” Please follow the instructions to obtain your card. 

Disability Services

To register with disability services, please contact and schedule an intake meeting with a disability services counselor: disability-services@salemstate.edu, 978.542.6217, TTY: 978.542.7146, Video Phone: 866.881.7097.

Learn about our Executive Cohort

The Executive Cohort (to be renamed Higher Education Leadership Cohort) requires students to enroll in two online courses each semester including summer sessions. Classes are offered only in an online teaching and learning modality and meet weekdays in the evening (6:00-8:20 pm). The executive cohort is ideal for individuals who work full-time in higher education as well as professionals seeking a career change.

Institutions of higher education are dynamic organizations. Understanding how these organizations function and aid in the success of their students are key objectives of our curriculum. The M.Ed. in Higher Education in Student Affairs is a 36 credit program. The culminating experience is integrated into the capstone seminar and allows students to reflect on and demonstrate their achievement of the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators (2015). The following is the sequence of courses that matriculated students enroll in over two years. 

Year 1, Summer Semester
Year 1, Fall Semester
Year 1, Spring Semester
Year 2, Summer Semester
Year 2, Fall Semester
Year 2, Spring Semester
Highlights
  • Online evening classes, 6:00 - 8:20 p.m. on weekdays.
  • Full-time experience in higher education.
  • Professional development opportunities.

A defining characteristic of Salem State University’s graduate programs is the completion of a culminating experience through which students integrate prior experience, put into practice what has been learned in the program, and demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in a specialized field of study. The School of Graduate Studies offers three culminating experience options, which include a thesis, a capstone project (portfolio, practicum, internship, field experience), or a comprehensive exam. The culminating experience is integrated into the capstone seminar and allows students to reflect on and demonstrate their achievement of the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators (2015).

Student affairs is an application-oriented profession and to assess a student’s progress and successful growth and development across all professional ACPA-NASPA competencies, a culminating presentation is incorporated as a requirement for the successful completion of the capstone seminar. Students are required to present a well-developed, succinct yet comprehensive formal presentation to a committee comprised of HESA faculty and student affairs professionals to demonstrate their grasp of student development theories, self-assessment of the competencies and CAS standards, practical wisdom gained from the assistantship, practica, internship and full-time work experiences, and the praxis that will guide their professional practice post-graduation. Students will need to provide evidence and thoughtful analysis of personal growth and professional development.

Applications to the executive (higher education leadership) cohort are invited from applicants from diverse backgrounds with varied educational and life experiences and with at least three years of professional work experience. Our application review process is holistic and humanistic. As a graduate program committed to course work and practice focused on access and success of college students, it is important that applicants have a barrier-free experience while applying to the HESA program.

Our admission process for the executive cohort includes submitting the following items along with your graduate application and participating in an academic program interview with a HESA faculty member for Summer semester matriculation. HESA program does not require the GRE for admission or application consideration.

Required Material
  1. Graduate Application Form

The online form is available through our Graduate Admissions Office. 

  1. Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is your opportunity to share your personal and professional hopes, dreams, and disappointments that motivate and bring you to this promising moment of applying for admission to the Salem State HESA program. We explicitly ask our applicants not to relive their trauma (“poor” academic performance, “bad” semester, traumatic life events, etc.) in their statements of purpose for admissions purposes. We understand that life circumstances impact everyone, including college students, and an individual’s past isn’t just a summation of the circumstances that caused the trauma, but represents the renewed hope and purpose an applicant may have in pursuing a career in student affairs through our HESA program. 

In no more than 750 words, consider crafting a statement of purpose that responds to the following prompts.

  1. What personal and professional experiences have influenced you in the past and now lead you to seek admission to the HESA program at Salem State?
  2. What are your long-term professional goals, and how might the HESA program help you achieve them?
  3. Identify one important issue within the field of higher education or student affairs and explain why this issue is important.
  4. Is there any other information that you think would help the admissions committee to evaluate your application? (Optional)

It is important you synthesize your statement as a cohesive essay rather than respond to each prompt individually. Additionally, we recognize that you may seek guidance from family members, mentors, supervisors, and peers to review your essay, who are often well-intentioned when providing feedback. However, when possible, we prefer and invite you to consider not burdening them with this extra labor. Instead, share your essay as is to allow HESA faculty to appreciate your narrative without potential influence from others with respect to content as well as writing style and clarity of ideas.

  1. Resumé

A current/up to date resumé that reflects your academic and co-curricular experiences, leadership, and professional achievements must be included with the application.

  1. Letters of Reference

At this time three letters of professional reference are required for your application to be considered complete. When submitting the application, you must be prepared to provide names and email addresses of three individuals with whom you have/had an academic and/or professional relationship. 

  • Reference letters providers will receive an email with a unique link to complete their reference form, upload their letters, and submit their reference directly to Salem State.
  • We recommend you seek reference providers who are able to provide positive letters highlighting your academic, co-curricular, and leadership accomplishments and can offer an informed assessment of your application to pursue graduate education as well as a career in student affairs.
  • We recommend sharing your plans to apply to the program with your reference letter providers early to ensure that their letters are received in a timely manner to avoid delays.
  • Your reference letter providers may appreciate having your statement of purpose, your resume, and knowing the program priority deadline so they can submit their letters on time.
  • If your reference provider is a Salem State HESA alumni, please request that they mention that in their letter. 
  • The Graduate Admissions Office only forwards completed applications for review by the HESA admissions committee.
  • Letters written by friends, family members, peers, therapists, or acquaintances are not appropriate and will not be considered.  
  1. Official Transcripts

Applicants must request official transcripts or transcript evaluations to be directly sent to Salem State. When possible, we recommend that you request electronic transcripts from all previous institutions be sent directly to gradadmissions@salemstate.edu. Click here to follow specific instructions on how to submit transcripts. 

  1. Non-refundable Application Fee

A $50 non-refundable application fee is required for reviewing your application.

We understand that the application fee may present a financial barrier to apply to the program. To mitigate the burden, the Graduate Admissions Office automatically waives the fee periodically. Check their website for specific dates or contact the HESA program coordinator to inquire about a fee waiver.

  1. International Applicants

In addition to the above required material, international applicants must peruse the following sections to ensure that these additional documents are submitted to ensure timely review of their application and matriculation into the program.

Upon admission to the HESA program, an international student programs coordinator from Salem State’s Center for International Education (CIE) will contact you. International students must document their ability to meet all educational and living expenses for the first year of their intended study before CIE can issue a Certificate of Eligibility for Non-Immigrant Student Status (Form I-20) per immigration regulations. Although you must only show proof for the first year of study, funding must be available for your entire course of study from your personal or sponsored funding sources. International students are NOT eligible for financial aid and U.S. Federal immigration regulations severely restrict international student employment so students should not expect to subsidize their studies by earning income in the United States.

Important Dates and Process
  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until April 15 for the upcoming Summer semester for Higher Education Leadership (executive) cohort. Priority application deadline is January 15.
  • Your application will not be reviewed until after the priority date, irrespective of when you applied to the program. 
  • After the Graduate Admissions Office forwards your complete application, the HESA admissions committee reviews your application.
  • Upon review, you will be invited to schedule an academic program admission interview.
  • Following the academic program admission interview, admissions recommendations are made by the HESA program coordinator to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. You should expect to receive a final decision from the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the Office of Graduate Admissions within a week of your interview.
  • Students matriculate into the HESA program (higher education leadership cohort) only into the upcoming Summer semester.
  • At the discretion of the program coordinator, matriculation may be delayed till the Fall semester to ensure appropriate cohort size. 

Information for Non-Matriculated Degree Seeking Graduate Students

HESA curriculum is designed intentionally and students in both cohorts enroll in courses sequentially. Occasionally, however, we understand that an applicant may need more time to apply than they had anticipated. In such instances, you must first contact the HESA program coordinator to determine how best to proceed. After a preliminary assessment and with the permission of the program coordinator, you may contact the Student Navigation Center and request them to create a “graduate non-matriculated career” for you. Once that process is completed, you may register for no more than three courses before you are admitted to the program for either cohort. 

Please note that taking courses prior to applying does not guarantee admission to either cohort. Additionally, you will not be eligible for federal financial aid for courses taken prior to enrollment/matriculation into the HESA program.

Meet Our Faculty

HESA courses are taught by a mix of full-time faculty and current student affairs professionals. All of our faculty are scholar-practitioners, bringing extensive student affairs professional experiences to the classroom. You will learn from professionals holding senior administrative positions within admissions, graduate education, retention and student success, and residence life among others. Additionally, HESA faculty are actively engaged in regional and national student affairs organizations, providing HESA students with wonderful networking and professional development opportunities.

Our faculty are also active scholars, conducting original research on a number of contemporary higher education topics, including: accessibility of higher education, retention of students of color, student leadership development, higher education leadership, student affairs administration, and how marginalized identities impact educational opportunity and academic achievement in secondary and higher education

Best of all, our faculty are invested in you. They are committed to teaching the concepts necessary to be an effective student affairs educator, fostering discussion among our diverse cohorts of students, and improving higher education.

 

Vijay Kanagala, Ph.D. - Associate Professor and HESA Program Coordinator 

Lee Brossoitt, Ed.D. - Assistant Provost and Visiting Professor

Nicole J. Harris, Ph.D. - Associate Dean and Visiting Assistant Professor

Steven Thurston Oliver, Ph.D. - Associate Professor

Our adjunct faculty are nationally recognized higher education and student affairs experts with terminal degrees. They bring a wealth of experiential wisdom into the classroom to enhance your learning. 

Alan Acosta, Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor and Assistant Vice Provost for Student Life and Director of Positive Learning Environments at University of Massachusetts Medical School

Mahauganee Bonds. Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor 

Pam Eddinger, Ph.D. - Visiting Professor and President of Bunker Hill Community College

Valerie Glassman, Ed.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor and Director, Clinical Support Division, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Jennifer L. Granger Sullivan, Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor and Associate Director of Experiential Learning, College of Our Lady of the Elms 

Maren Greathouse, Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor

Danielle Licitra, Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor and Senior Special Programs Coordinator, Bristol Community College

Barbara W. McCarthy, Ph.D. - Visiting Professor and Retd. Provost/Vice President Academic and Student Affairs, Massasoit Community College

Kevin Piskadlo, Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Stonehill College

Kirk S. Robinson, Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor 

Jenny L. Small, Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor

Lisette Torres-Gerald, Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor and Senior Research Associate and Program Coordinator at TERC

Carlos Vega, Ph.D. - Visiting Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of Admission & Athletic Liaison, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Teaching Mentors

Aaron Parayno, M.Ed. - Visiting Instructor

Careers Post Graduation

Our graduates work primarily on college campuses in areas like residence life, student activities, multicultural affairs, judicial affairs, admissions, financial aid, academic and personal advisement, international student services, career services, and more. However, you do not have to work on a college campus, as some graduates choose to work in organizations with links to higher education, for example, a non-profit college access organization. Regardless of their career aspirations, our graduates secure jobs and advance professionally as evidenced by our high placement rate for recent graduates.

Notable alumni include:

Dr. Danielle Morgan Acosta (HESA '09) - President, ACPA: College Student Educators International, 2021-22.

An essential element of career development is networking. Faculty strongly encourage HESA students to participate in professional organizations through membership, attending conferences and volunteer opportunities. A number of HESA alumni have gone on to assume leadership roles in regional and national student affairs organizations, including ACPA: College Student Educators International, NASPA: Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education, and the Boston Area College  Housing Association. 

Finally, those HESA alumni interested in pursuing a doctoral degree have been quite successful in their doctoral studies. HESA has a collaboration agreement with the doctoral program in Higher Education Administration at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Our students can take elective courses in the UMass Boston doctoral program and hear about the application process from the program's director. This relationship supports our graduates who want to continue their education.

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