Master of Science in Student Services Administration: A Successful Blend of Theory and Practice
Recent efforts to revamp and revitalize Baylor's master's degree in student services administration program are paying off. The fruit of this endeavor is especially apparent as recent graduates make headlines for their good work. The Baylor Line, for example, highlighted the contributions of Karin Klinger (MSEd '05) and Taryn Ozuna (BA '03, MSEd '05) in a fall 2006 story Service Masters. The story outlined how Klinger and Ozuna are putting theory into practice in their respective roles at Baylor as assistant director for student organization development and coordinator for multicultural activities.
"I never realized just how often I would use my theoretical training before becoming a professional in this field," said Klinger. "I see students every day in various developmental stages, am able to identify those stages, and adjust my messaging and work to meet their unique needs. It's very rewarding to see my education impacting my daily work." One of the major projects Klinger helps oversee is Steppin' Out, the University's community service program in which more than 2,500 students take part biannually.
Revisions to Baylor's student services graduate degree include an overall change to the curriculum, course sequence, and programmatic enhancements. The objective was to design a program for students who have leadership potential, a strong commitment to serving undergraduates, and the motivation to improve higher education. The program is open to qualified students of all academic backgrounds who possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited higher education institution.
Students complete a 42-hour curriculum and a two-year assistantship within Student Life, which was the most noteworthy shift in the program. Assistantships are designed to complement the academic program with practical experience.
Since the academic program prepares students to be scholar-practitioners, courses are a shared responsibility of full-time Student Life administrators and the School of Education faculty. Coursework is taken in a cohort model and in a prescribed sequence that must be completed within 22 months. Each of these changes came from the intentional desire to blend educational theory and practical application. The Baylor program is known as the only one of its size that integrates faith and learning while preparing individuals to become practicing student life professionals in positions throughout the world.
The program has attracted a student cohort that represents diversity of ethnic and racial backgrounds. It is worth noting that with each cohort the average GRE score and average GPA have steadily increased.
During the spring semester of their second year, the University provides financial assistance for students to attend a national conference and interview for positions at other colleges and universities. Placement is another measure of success. Graduates of the program are currently employed as coordinators and directors of orientation programs, special performances, student success centers, residential life programs, intramurals, academic advisers, community service centers, Greek life, and student unions.
Carrie Powell Ingoldsby, a graduate of Trinity who received her master's degree in 2006, now serves as the assistant director of campus activities and programs at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Carrie writes that "in addition to an excellent two-year graduate assistantship, I have been given practicum opportunities to gain practical experience in multiple areas of Student Life, giving me a broader understanding of Student Life and the chance to discover how my own strengths and passions fit within this field." Carrie, like many others in the program, immersed herself in blending theory and practice to prepare herself for the opportunities that await her professionally.
Find out more about the master's in student services administration program at www.baylor.edu/soe/ed_admin/msed_studentservices.