New Minor for Future Student Affair Leaders

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For students considering adding a minor in the Fall of 2015, the options have just increased by one.

The undergraduate minor in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership will be offered through the Department of Educational Studies and Research and will primarily be aimed at students who want to eventually have a career in academic administration, and particularly students who are interested in working in student affairs (which at most universities typically covers things such as Residence Life, Greek Life, Student Government, any student clubs and organizations, as well as officers like the First Year Initiative or Admissions), although looking at the curriculum (which includes the class “Myths, Mascots, and American College Culture,” as well as classes on diversity on campus and leadership development) the minor would be useful to students aspiring to work in any area of collegiate administration, from being a department chair to an athletics administrator.

Lilian Hill, a professor in the Department of Educational Studies and Research and the program coordinator for the new minor, provided some insight into the thought process behind the development of the new offering.

The program began as a collaboration between the departments of Educational Studies and Research in the College of Education and Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies in Arts and Letters…[and will] serve as a new option for students enrolled in Interdisciplinary Studies and other majors. The program emphasizes educational experiences that integrate academic course work with service learning and leadership experiences in the field of student affairs.

Hill also pointed out that students will also be able to take advantage of opportunities to gain hands on experience, as “the program emphasizes educational experiences that integrate academic course work with service learning and leadership experiences in the field of student affairs.”

Adding a minor in this field is good timing for the university. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been a general trend upwards in jobs opening in the higher education sector, especially in administration, over the last three years. Students then who do add the minor with a plan of going into higher education administration probably have a pretty solid job outlook for the immediate future.

Senior English major Chamara Moore, who won’t be able to take the minor but is pursuing a career in higher education, thinks the minor is a good step for Southern Miss. “I see [the minor] as being beneficial since it would give students an introduction to college student developments and work settings in institutions of higher education,” she said.

The department is also considering adding an undergraduate major Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership, but is not very far along in that planning process yet.

Interested students may contact Dr. Hill at 601-266-4622 and lilian.hill@usm.edu.