ASC awarded grant to develop graduate program in higher ed leadership


Dr. Melissa Freeman will develop and direct a master's in higher education administration program.

Adams State College received a $280,928 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare leaders of Hispanic Serving Institutions, according to Adams State Provost Michael Mumper.

Hispanics comprise about 20 percent of America's college students, with 54 percent attending Hispanic Serving Institutions - a federal designation for colleges and universities with student enrollment that is least 25 percent Hispanic. Adams State is an HSI, with undergraduate Hispanic enrollment at 29 percent.

"Only about 5 to 6 percent of mid- and senior-level leaders at these colleges is Hispanic. It's a real mismatch. There is no clear path of advancement for Hispanic professionals from entry to senior leadership positions," Mumper said.

Adams State received one of 30 grants totaling $8.2 million from The Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) in its Special Focus Competition for Graduate Programs at Institutions of Higher Education Serving Hispanic Americans. The grant will support development of and student recruitment for a master's in higher education administration targeted to entry and mid-level professionals at HSIs. Once the program, housed in Adam State's School of Business, is approved, this will bring Adams State's number of graduate programs to seven.

The grant application was a collaboration between Mumper and Dr. Melissa L. Freeman, assistant professor of business, who will direct the program. She holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Ohio University.

Freeman said a five-member external curriculum advisory committee will visit campus in December to help develop the program's goals and curriculum. "This group will share their expertise as academics and practicing administrators from both community colleges and four-year institutions," she added.

"This program will help position Adams State College as a leader among HSIs. Other schools will look to us to find and develop their own leaders," Mumper said. The program will also contribute to increasing enrollment and in developing Adams State's own administrative staff.

In addition to the 36-credit master's degree program will be an 18-credit post-master's certificate program. The majority of coursework will be taught online by senior administrators at HSIs, Freeman said. The program also includes a three-day on campus residency and attendance at a Leadership Summit in Denver.

Plans call for the program to begin in fall 2010 with 40 students between both the degree and certificate programs. Students will take six credit hours (two classes) a semester for two years, with new cohorts beginning each fall. Freeman hopes to submit the program for state approval in late spring. Initially, student recruitment will focus on HSI's in Colorado, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California.

By Julie Waechter