Higher Education Leadership Certificate

Higher education is continually changing.  The Higher Education Leadership Certificate will help professionals stay abreast of those changes.  The coursework in this Graduate Certificate covers four critical areas that together describe how institutions of higher learning operate.  Major content areas are: how colleges and universities organize themselves; how they affect students in terms of learning and development; how they are shaped by the larger environment and legal mandates; and how they change and adapt to the changing landscape of education.

The coursework is aimed at working professionals who want to deepen their knowledge of functions such as student affairs, to gain an understanding of how higher education institutions assess, plan and change, and also who want to develop insight into the complex and changing "big picture" of higher education.

Students will earn a Graduate Certificate upon completion of the four required courses.  Students who wish to pursue the MA in Organizational Leadership degree may use the Higher Education Leadership Certificate course credits towards those programs.

Certificate Offered

  • Higher Education Leadership Certificate


Kellie M. McKinney, Ed.D.
Program Director

Program Website: Higher Education Leadership Certificate
Associated Department: Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling

Related Programs

Certificate in Higher Education Leadership Requirements

(12 credits)

Students must:

  • comply with the general requirements for graduate study in the Rider University Department of Graduate Education, Leadership, and Counseling;
  • complete 12 credits with GPA of "B" (3.0) or better.
EDUC 525The Higher Education Organization3
EDUC 535Legal and Ethical Issues in Higher Education3
EDUC 540Leading Operations, Change and Assessment in Higher Education3
One elective from the following:3
Student Affairs & Experiences in Higher Education
Assessing Organizational Performance in Higher Education
Assessment of Student Learning in Higher Education
Total Credits12

Courses and Descriptions

EDUC 525 The Higher Education Organization 3 Credits

This course allows students to gain perspective on the historical and societal context of higher education in America and the organizational structures, functions, behaviors, and cultures that exist within institutions.

EDUC 530 Student Affairs & Experiences in Higher Education 3 Credits

This course will highlight how individuals access higher education and how that education affects students’ development via programs, services and interventions designed to promote student growth. The course will explore multiple dimensions of the student experience and how student development theory is used to understand and enhance those experiences. Students will also explore student affairs organizational structures and functions common in colleges and universities.

EDUC 535 Legal and Ethical Issues in Higher Education 3 Credits

This course discusses the fundamentals of American law that directly and indirectly affect the environment of higher-education. Students will use diverse sources of law to understand the many different ways laws, code and common law affect the life of an higher education administrator. Ethical issues will be explored in relationship to critical issues in higher education such as admissions, affirmative action, dismissal procedures, academic honesty, and student loans.

EDUC 540 Leading Operations, Change and Assessment in Higher Education 3 Credits

In this course, students will gain an understanding of the daily and long-term operational challenges colleges and universities face. The course intends to cultivate a strategic mindset about higher education organizations and a recognition that institutions exist in a competitive environment that require them to change in order to survive.

EDUC 541 Assessing Organizational Performance in Higher Education 3 Credits

Through this course, students will be introduced to the concept of institutional effectiveness which focuses on an institution’s ability to use planning strategies and evaluation information to assess current performance and plan for improvements. Students will understand the importance of a performance assessment culture including the presence of clear performance goals and measures, collaborative decision-making, and engaged leadership. A focus on determining what should be assessed in academic and administrative units and strategies for initiating performance assessment programs is reviewed.

EDUC 542 Assessment of Student Learning in Higher Education 3 Credits

This course examines institutional effectiveness matters focusing on assessment processes in higher education. It explores topics such as the evaluation of academic programs, assessment of student learning outcomes, and involvement in accreditation and accountability demands in higher education. Here, the focus is on how colleges and universities are doing assessment, at the classroom, program, and institutional levels. The course covers the pragmatic planning skills and decision-support tools relevant to assessing student learning. Just as businesses are expected to adhere to compliance and ethics standards, this course provides an in-depth look at how universities’ adherence to standards pertaining to academic success can and will lead to an assurance that accredited universities are achieving their institutional goals, meeting the public's’ expectations, and realizing their greater societal mission.