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Institutional Advancement Concentration

“The curriculum was approachable and useful while still being challenging. In the Institutional Advancement track, each course built on the one before, which provided a clear indication as to how all the different pieces of the industry fit together.” - Darin Pfeifer, G'15


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 Foundations of Higher Education Administration 3

This course provides a basic foundation in administration of colleges and universities in
modern-day America, including an exploration of the role and purpose of various functions,
departments, and major organizational constituent groups (e.g., faculty, students,
administration/staff, board) as well as the different types of institutions and their
organizational models. Current and emerging issues affecting college and university
operation are reviewed and the impact of state and federal policy on institutions is explored.
In this course students will write a life purpose paper marking their program entry, learn or
hone their APA writing skills, examine critical issues from the perspectives of key
stakeholders, apply organizational models to analyze institutions, and interview campus
staff to develop a unique case study paper.

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

In this course students develop a conceptual overview of the history of higher education
and the forces which shaped it, and an understanding of how this history directly impacts
our institutions of today. Specific attention is given to the broader political, social, cultural,
and economic context within which higher education was established and continues to
develop today. In this course students also examine financial, economic, and budgetary
issues, resource allocation and control, and learn how higher education leaders make fiscal
decisions. Students apply their knowledge to several projects including a budget committee
member simulation in which they allocate institutional resources in alignment with campus
needs and values.

MHE645 Marketing and Communications for Enrollment Management 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 Capstone Seminar I: Design of an Applied Research Project 3

This course is designed to give students the opportunity to facilitate meaningful change in
higher education through the creation of an original applied research project. During the
course, each student will design a significant project (applied independent research)
pertaining to a specific higher education management issue or problem of their choosing.
They will write a purpose statement and research question, write an introduction to the problem, research and write a review of literature, develop a framework, and outline a methodology for the proposed study which they will carry out in the subsequent MHE 670
course.  MHE 650 and MHE 670 are complimentary "sister" courses to be taken as a
sequence. Prerequisites: ten concentration track courses are required before the 650
and 670 courses can be taken.

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.