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Institutional Advancement Concentration

The Institutional Advancement Concentration in the MS in Higher Education Administration is a 12 course (36 credit) program. This concentration is designed for students who are pursuing, or wish to pursue, careers in any of the functional areas within Institutional Advancement, including fund raising and development, marketing and communications, alumni relations, and government and community affairs. Students will gain a broad exposure to these areas, along with an appreciation for the historical, legal and sociological contexts in which they operate.


Core Courses (8 courses): MHE 500, MHE 626, MHE 640, MHE 645, NMP 621, NMP 622 –OR –NMP 656, MHE 650, MHE 670

Electives (choose 4 courses): Students can select from a wide number of approved graduate electives, and can check with their advisor for help selecting electives from the Higher Education Administration, Nonprofit Management & Philanthropy, Communications & Information Management, or MBA programs that interest them.

Curriculum & Schedules

Code Course Name Credit Hours
MHE500 Introduction to Higher Education Administration 3

This course provides a basic introduction to the administration of colleges and universities in modern-day America, including the role and purpose of various functions and departments and major organizational participants (e.g., faculty, students, administration/staff, board). Current topics affecting University and university operation are reviewed and the impact of state and federal policy on institutions is explored.

MHE626 Introduction to Institutional Advancement 3

This course provides an overview of the functional areas within higher education institutional advancement, including development and fundraising, marketing and communications, alumni relations, and government and community relations. Particular attention will be given to how each of these functions operates, how they are integrated, and how they are managed and led.

MHE640 History and Economics of Higher Education 3

This course is designed to provide a conceptual overview of the history of higher education and the forces which shaped it. Specific attention will be given to the broader political, social, cultural, and economic context within which higher education was established and continues to develop today.

MHE645 Higher Education Marketing and Communications 3

Students will explore how targeted communications and marketing strategies support an institution’s enrollment management goals. Students will apply marketing best practices and research to enrollment management, examine the use of different technologies in marketing to prospective students, and explore methods for evaluating a strategic enrollment plan. Students will create communication goals and strategies, integrate technology tools into an enrollment communications strategy, and assess the effectiveness of a strategic enrollment communications plan.

MHE650 Leading Change Through Research in Higher Education 3

This course is designed to give students the opportunity to lead meaningful change through creating an original research project in higher education. During the course, each student will design a significant project (applied independent research) pertaining to a higher education management issue or problem. This course focuses on specific methodologies and frameworks for analysis to use in preparation of the research required for their individual capstone project. The course focuses on creating working drafts of the first four chapters of the research project (Introduction, Literature Review, Theoretical Frameworks and Methodology).

MHE 650 and MHE 670 have been designed as complementary “sister” courses to be taken as a sequence. Assignments in the MHE 650 course allow students to hone and refresh research strategies and skills to guide them through the initial phases of the capstone paper that will be completed in MHE 670.

In combination, the two courses work to provide students with the following three goals:
1. A deeper understanding of some of the challenges facing higher education;
2. A strong command of the analytical tools students have learned during the MHE program, which they can selectively utilize to effectively address those challenges; and
3. An appreciation of his or her own potential to be a change agent.

These goals will be achieved through a blend of readings, reflections and assignments, which in combination will “cap off” students’ learning in their respective graduate programs.

NMP521 Foundations of Philanthropy 3

This course provides an overview of America’s tradition of philanthropy and its relevance for today’s fundraisers. Attention is given to changing expectations for ethical behavior and accountability along with changes in donor markets which impact the practice of philanthropy in the 21st century. This course also examines the theoretical basis and goals of fundraising activities, how to apply the theory to develop a comprehensive development program and a personal fundraising philosophy and framework.

NMP620 Consulting in Nonprofits: Theory and Practicum 3

Course content includes theory about the business and practice of providing consulting services to nonprofit organizations. It will also include a practicum during which students will do field work at participating nonprofit organizations in the Greater Springfield area to investigate the presenting problems identified by the nonprofit organization, to conduct a broader organizational assessment, and to develop corrective action plans based upon the findings of the investigation and assessment.

NMP670 Capstone: Advanced Management Seminar 3

This class is designed to provide students with the opportunity to apply and demonstrate their mastery of new skills and knowledge. Each student will complete and publicly present the results of a significant project (applied or independent research) pertaining to an issue or management problem. Students will select their topic and complete the initial literature review and project prospectus during NMP/MHE 650 as part of NMP/MHE 650. NOTE: NMP 650/MHE 650 is a prerequisite for NMP 670.