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Demand for graduates of MS in Higher Education Administration increasing

by Monica Smith

Jan 09, 2020, 9:00 PM.

Technology and competition fuel the education industry’s needs.

In business, strategy is everything. It’s no different in education. While accolades and rankings are paramount, an institution’s responsiveness to its student population is evermore important as cultural changes, community needs and student challenges evolve.

Institutions like Florida International University are rising to the challenge. FIU’s master’s degree in higher education administration, for those who are considering administrative positions at colleges or universities, offers students specific experience on the business and “human” side of running an institution. With FIU, the degree is available both on campus and 100% online.

Need for relevance

“This program, is helping students lean forward to help shape the college environment for current and future students,” Marta Torres-Berlingeri, director of program administration for the College of Arts, Sciences and Education explained.

Florida International University, known for its diversity, is training students with the master’s degree in higher education administration to help lead institutions to better serve the multitude of communities they reach. Whether it’s attracting students, keeping them, or seeing them graduate and become successful, new programs, resources and online technology are aiding learners as they earn their degrees. The degree is also helping institutions stay competitive.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that careers in higher education are more important than ever. The federal agency predicts faster than average growth for colleges and universities in our nation. With thousands of college and university options, both on campus and online, and greater choices for students, it has become more important for institutions to diversify offerings to stay relevant.

“The academic program, offered by the College of Arts, Sciences and Education, runs in partnership with FIU's Student Affairs division, and integrates classwork with assistantships for a total learning experience,” said Torres-Berlingeri, who’s seen many positive changes in how FIU attends to its student population through the immersive program.

Advance in your career

According to Kristie Reyes, a recent graduate, the program offers invaluable knowledge on curriculum and teaches cultural insights on the student experience as well as empathy in both areas of student and academic affairs. Reyes is currently a coordinator for academic program management for FIU Online, a position she was promoted to shortly before she graduated with her master’s degree.

“I would say that for those working at an institution, this degree can be beneficial for career advancement to leadership roles in a vast range of areas and within the university,” highlighted Reyes who earned her degree with a mix of both online and face-to-face classes.

Work at a university

With a fall start, the 12-month master’s degree program provides students with many educational touchpoints. The fully online program also offers the flexibility to balance work, studies and other life obligations. Students learn to serve in a variety of roles at colleges, universities and related institutions.

“Our master’s degree program provides learners with the opportunity to work and study in one of the most diverse higher education environments in the nation,” explained Torres-Berlingeri. “Many of our students secure employment with FIU or other institutions at the end of their program.”

Student point of view

Martha Campos, who graduated from the program recently, feels the program’s curriculum dissects student psychology. Through her courses, she learned the tools to help discern what students desire from their education, the reasons they come to institutions, and what their expectations are. Currently, Campos is a coordinator for fraternity and sorority life at FIU, a position she obtained very shortly after she graduated.


“The curriculum offers graduates a strong foundation for change management to progress with the shifting demands of students,” stated Campos. “I’ve been able to use what I learned immediately.”

The degree primarily focuses on soft skills, said Reyes. “It helps teach next-generation, higher-education administrators how to close the knowledge and skills gaps with an eye toward individual student needs.”

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