Welcome to Higher Education
The Higher Education Graduate Program provides a pathway to professional employment, advancement, and leadership in a wide variety of careers in community colleges, universities, college transition programs, and community agencies. Founded in 1968 in response to the growing need for community college and university instructors and administrators in North Carolina postsecondary institutions, it now serves a national and international population of students and professionals concerned with postsecondary education.
The mission of the Higher Education Program at Appalachian State University is to prepare individuals to be informed, thoughtful, creative, and effective leaders in community colleges and universities and in adult education and college transition programs. Students in the program prepare for or advance their careers in adult or higher education through active scholarship, professional discourse within a community of diverse learners, the development of caring relationships, reflective learning and practice, and the integration of research, theory, and practice. The program offers both the Master of Arts and Education Specialist degrees, with concentrations in Community College & University Leadership (CCUL), Adult and Developmental Education (ADE), and (College) Teaching.
The Higher Education Program inspires and supports high-quality practice in community colleges, universities, and college transition programs throughout the region and nation. Its curriculum reflects leading-edge thinking in design as well as implementation, and its graduates routinely:
- assume leadership positions in teaching and administration in community colleges and universities throughout North Carolina and beyond;
- are relied upon as catalysts for meeting the evolving social, economic, political, and global challenges facing higher education; and
- are recognized for their strong academic preparation and achievements as they continue their education.
In addition, the Higher Education Program faculty is utilized as a vital professional development resource for community colleges and universities in the areas of instructional improvement, institutional leadership and change, college- and career-readiness, and college access and success for nontraditional and adult students. Faculty, students, and graduates, together with their partners in the field, promote effective and compassionate higher education practice at the individual, program, and institutional level and proactively negotiate the shifting demands of an increasingly diverse and complex world.
- We value the diversity that both traditional and non-traditional graduate students bring to the discussion of higher education and seek to recruit and retain both types of students for our program.
- We value the success of our graduate students and promote that success through thoughtful advising, student-centered culturally-responsive teaching, and personal support.
- We value quality instruction and strive to improve our own teaching through reading, reflection, and assessment.
- We value social justice and advance it through our instruction, our research, and our professional activities.
- We value the concept of scholar practitioner and model it in our behavior and encourage it in our students.
- We value service to Western North Carolina as well as the state and nation and provide that service through our recruitment, admission, teaching, and consulting.
- We value the ongoing contributions that our students make to higher education in the state and region and enhance those contributions by providing a rich and rigorous curriculum.
- We value the concept of the community of practice and model that concept in our dealings with our students and with each other.
- We value integrity and demonstrate it through the consistency of our actions with the values we espouse.