Learning Outcomes

A central component of the SAHE program is engaging in intentionally reflective practice as a foundational skill necessary for effective practice in student affairs. This is both a process and an outcome such that reflection-on-action happens in the program to produce practitioner-scholars who can effectively reflect-in-action.

Through engaging in reflective practice, as well as formal and informal feedback, students who participate fully in the learning experiences offered through the SAHE program will develop awareness, knowledge, and skills across the following seven domains and the specific learning objectives associated with each.

  1. Summarize significant formal theoretical constructs in the field that inform student affairs practice
  2. Apply formal theoretical constructs to daily practice in the field of student affairs
  3. Recognize the limitations of formal theory and literature in the field of student affairs across social identities as well as diverse cultural and national contexts
  4. Creatively adapt, refine, or develop theories-in-use relevant and appropriate for working with specific individuals and student groups
  1. Understanding the mission and values of specific institutional contexts and aligning student affairs work with them
  2. Supporting and facilitating individual and group learning, growth, and holistic development for all students regardless of ideology and identity
  3. “Providing advising and support to individuals and groups through direction, feedback, critique, referral, and guidance” (ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Professionals, 2015)
  4. “Developing [helping skills,] advising, and support strategies that take into account self-knowledge and needs of others” (ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Professionals, 2015)
  5. Supporting and facilitating effective response to campus crisis situations through proactive and responsive approaches
  1. Apply knowledge of diversity and multicultural competencies to promote equity and social justice in campus communities as proactive change agents
  2. Determine the scope and boundaries of their spheres of influence and competently work within them to support equity and justice
  3. Think critically and creatively to apply analytical reasoning to address complex challenges and everyday problems
  4. Use the scholarship and practice literature within higher education and student affairs to evaluate institutional settings, policies, and procedures through a justice and equity lens
  5. Pursue practices in their professional and personal lives that consistently demonstrate an investment in equity, justice, and sustainability
  6. Interact with trust and rapport across lines of social group differences, including dis/Ability, age, ethnicity, gender, citizenship status, nationality, political philosophies, race, religion, and sexuality
  1. Identify and describe the implications of the historical and sociopolitical context of student affairs within specific institutional environments and functional areas
  2. Seek to learn the historical and sociopolitical context of higher education and student affairs work affecting postsecondary education in international contexts
  3. Competently engage the opportunities, limitations, and challenges wrought by (inter)national historical and sociopolitical contexts within specific institutions and aspects of student affairs work
  4. Use knowledge of historical and sociopolitical contexts to competently navigate complex organizational systems and structures
  5. Consider and effectively navigate multiple and competing perspectives to manage complex situations in higher education and student affairs
  1. Comprehend and describe the relationship between research, practice, and institutional and government policies affecting higher education and student affairs
  2. Be able to use research and assessment to support practice and inform policy related to higher education and student affairs
  3. Cultivate approaches to advocate effectively on behalf of student affairs units informed by rigorous research and assessment
  4. Develop skills in methodological strategies related to research-based self-reflection and analysis, program assessment and evaluation, and empirical research design
  5. Demonstrate competence with analyzing, evaluating, and designing research and assessment methods at levels appropriate for entry-level professionals in student affairs
  1. Engage in critical meaning-making about their social identities and how these identities influence their approach to work in student affairs
  2. Articulate the epistemic value of their social identities for how they interpret literature, practice, and policy in higher education and student affairs
  3. Exhibit behaviors that cultivate teamwork, critical thought, and communication skills needed to function in a diverse workforce and global community
  4. Function effectively and with integrity in a multifaceted work environment
  1. Clearly communicate ideas, perspectives, and values clearly and persuasively while seriously considering other viewpoints and perspectives
  2. Develop persuasive arguments both oral and written to advocate for higher education and student affairs with internal and external constituencies
  3. Demonstrate competence in oral presentation and technical writing, including APA style
  4. Use established scholarship to support assertions and claims
  5. Identify gaps in established scholarship and determine what unique contributions they can make
  6. Commit to continued development as practitioner-scholars in the field of student affairs
  7. Contribute to the field of student affairs as critically reflective practitioner-scholars

Core Class Credits: 33 / Portfolio Credits: 4 / Elective Credits: 6 / Practicum Credits: 2 / Total Program Credits: 45



3 credits

Introduction to Research Methods is designed to teach students about the fundamentals of designing and conducting qualitative and quantitative research projects, and is designed to help students become functionally literate consumers of research studies. The course examines basic quantitative and qualitative terminology associated with research, how to collect and interpret a variety of data, and how to read and evaluate research studies.

3 credits 

The course content will provide an overview of historical and philosophical foundations, and current trends including analysis of the role of student affairs in higher education.

2 credits 

This course is designed to provide an overview of ethical issues in student affairs and higher education. This class provides an opportunity for emerging student affairs to develop their own individual ethical codes within the frameworks of standards and expectations of the professional and functional areas and understanding of historical foundations of ethical thought.

3 credits 

The purpose of this course is to gain an understanding of college student development theory and its application to practice.  Identity, cognitive, moral, psycho-social, and ethical theories applicable to college student populations are examined. Theories are viewed with a critical lens, modified, and applied to the working with college students.

Second Semester

3 credits 

This course is designed to prepare students to effectively handle counseling situations in their professional role. It will focus on theory and practical application of counseling in student affairs.

3 credits 

This course emphasizes development of the awareness, knowledge, and skills necessary to be a multi-culturally competent student affairs practitioner. Its emphasis is on the practitioner’s responsibilities, challenges, and opportunities for creating and sustaining affirming, pluralistic, and inclusive campus communities for all students.

2 credits 

This course introduces basic autoethnographic research skills that underpin the creation of the culminating SAHE program portfolio. Foundational research methods, the portfolio process, cultivating reflective practice, and critical analysis skills are necessary to both conduct autoethnography and develop as a practitioner-scholar.

2 credits 

This course provides an introduction to the epistemologies and methodologies related to qualitative frameworks used in student affairs research. How to design a basic qualitative study, including research questions, data collection and analysis, as well as findings and discussion appropriate for topics related to student affairs.


3 credits 

This course focuses on legal issues that impact higher education and the legal responsibilities and obligations of higher education administrators.

2 credits 

In this course, students will apply advanced theoretical concepts and refine autoethnographic data collection, analysis, and writing skills. Focus on use of literature, refining a personal plan to complete the portfolio, and continuing to use data and reflection as tools of effective practice.

3 credits 

This course is an education research methods course in the models and practices of assessment and evaluation in collegiate settings. This course has been designed to build a bridge between theories and assessment and evaluation practice.

2 credits for Practicum or Cognate. 3 credits if beginning Thesis credits.

By this point students have completed the first third of their portfolio within the structure of the two Autoethnography and Reflective Practice courses and the direction of their advisor. This is shared with the student’s committee for feedback as they prepare to complete the portfolio in the final semester.

Fourth Semester

2 credits 

This course will help students gain an overall understanding of the finance environment for student affairs and the factors that influence that environment. Students will utilize budgeting strategies to create, analyze and revise budgets. In addition, students will gain an understanding of basic accounting, internal controls and strategies to maintain fiscal oversight over Student Affairs operations.

3 credits 

In this course, students will apply theories of organizational behavior to student affairs practice in the areas of understanding how organizations work, managing and leading people, best practices, and understanding these processes within the context of the campus ecology. An ecological perspective emphasizes how the organization’s social and physical environments impact learning, campus life, and student development.

3 credits 

This course focuses on the study of the purpose, structure, and role of leadership within the administration of higher education and analysis of current issues as students transition to professional roles.

2 credits for either a Practicum or Cognate course. 3 credits for completing Thesis credits.

In the final semester, students complete and submit their professional portfolio to their committee for a defense.

* Students are required to complete one practicum experience during the course of the program for a total of two credits.  An additional practicum of two credits may be used to fulfill the cognate and electives requirement. More information can be found here.

Find a PDF version of the SAHE Residential Curriculum here.

Students in the online program take courses over a three-year period. The degree pathway for online students can be found here.


Students are required to take six credits of electives that can be themed together as a cognate or pursue a thesis for a total of six credits. Students are encouraged to examine the thesis option as well as cognate and elective choices with their advisor. The following are meant for illustration only. Every course is not offered every year. Further, please keep in mind that some of the offerings below are online-based, while others are offered on-campus. Details are updated to reflect current offerings. Other graduate courses may also be used toward the student’s cognate. CSU has a rich assortment of graduate programs offering opportunities for interdisciplinary study.

Course Code: EDHE 681A1 
Credits: 2 Credits 
Delivery: On-Campus 
Offered: Fall 2020 

This course introduces disability as a part of a holistic diversity agenda through the lens of social justice which allows exploration beyond what law mandates. It recognizes the inherent ableist elements of society and especially the higher education system. Recognition of ableist elements and how to implement accommodations to mitigate their effects are covered.

Course Code: EDHE 675 
Credits: 3 Credits 
Delivery: Online Only

Crisis management on college campuses.  

Course Code: EDHE 590D 
Credits: 2 Credits 
Delivery: On-Campus 
Offered: Spring 2020 

This class introduces students interested in university administration to the field of international education. Participants will gain an understanding of critical issues in comprehensive internationalization including education abroad, international students, globalized curriculum, and institutional partnerships. The techniques, trends, and concerns in the processes of campus internationalization will be discussed from multiple points of view (students, administrators, faculty, etc.).

Course Code: EDHE 640A 
Credits: 3 Credits 
Delivery: On-Campus

This course is an international field experience that prepares student affairs professionals to work with culturally diverse student, staff, and faculty populations; students who study abroad and the transitional challenges of returning from international experiences; growing populations of international undergraduate and graduate students, and the increasing demands from the federal government and education institutions for internationalization of higher education.