So you think you might be interested in a career in student affairs… for many, this means first  looking for a professional preparation graduate program. But, with hundreds of master’s degree-granting institutions focusing on student affairs or higher education today, how do you decide which program might be the best fit for you? Beyond asking campus mentors and searching online databases, you can employ a variety of other search tactics. And so, on this episode of Student Affairs Live, faculty panelists at four diverse institutions will address questions focused on choosing student affairs as a career path and the master’s graduate program search. 

Tune in if you:

  • are an undergraduate student or considering a career change into student affairs
  • are investigating professional preparation programs
  • interact with students on your campus who may be interested in pursuing a career in student affairs and want to learn about graduate programs to share with them!

This free episode will air live on Wednesday, October 4 at 1 p.m. ET. To watch the archived video, just return to this page at any point after the epode airs.

This episode builds on a previous episode entitled “Building Your Career in Student Affairs”, to view please click here. If you have questions for our panelists, in advance of the episode please email or tweet @heather_shea_ with your question and she will incorporate it into the dialogue. We will also take questions during the episode via the Twitter backchannel at #higheredlive.


Episode Host

Heather Shea

Heather Shea

Heather Shea's career in student affairs spans nearly two decades and five different campuses, and involves experience in many different functional areas including residence life, multicultural affairs, women’s centers, student activities, leadership development, and commuter/nontraditional student services–she identifies as a student affairs generalist. Heather is currently serving as the director of Women*s Student Services in the Division of Student Affairs at Michigan State University having just completed her Ph.D. in MSU's HALE (Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education) Program. She completed her master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Colorado State University in 2000. Connect with Heather on Twitter at @heather_shea_


Dr. Ryan Bronkema

Dr. Ryan Bronkema is an Assistant Professor of Counseling and Higher Education at the University of West Georgia. Dr. Bronkema’s research agenda is focused on the social engagement of college students, successful transitions into college (and graduate school), and advocacy for Queer individuals in higher education settings. Prior to faculty life, Dr. Bronkema worked professionally in housing and residence life and faculty development.

Professionally, Dr. Bronkema is active in ACPA and the POD network (Professional and Organizational Development in HIgher Education). Within ACPA, Dr. Bronkema is a directorate member of the Commission for Professional Preparation where he coordinates programming to market graduate programs in higher education and student affairs throughout the association. Dr. Bronkema has a bachelor’s in business from Western Michigan University, a master’s in Counseling in Higher Education from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Bowling Green State University.


Dr. Tiffany J. Davis

Dr. Tiffany J. Davis serves as Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Houston, where she also serves as Program Director of the Higher Education Master’s Program. Dr. Davis previously served on the Higher Education faculty at North Carolina State University and throughout her faculty career has taught courses related to administration and finance of student affairs, research and assessment methods, current issues in higher education, leadership, and internship experiences in educational leadership.

Dr. Davis’ professional background includes administrative experiences across various functional areas including residence life, multicultural affairs, fraternity and sorority life, first year programs, undergraduate research, TRiO Programs, service-learning, and leadership programs. Dr. Davis remains active in professional associations, namely NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, serving as the current national Chair for the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program (NUFP). She has also enthusiastically served on the ACPA Commission for Professional Preparation directorate since 2015. Dr. Davis earned her Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel Services and a graduate certificate in Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies at the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in College Student Personnel and graduate certificate in Organization Development and Change from Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology from the University of Tennessee.


Dr. Brian McGowan

Dr. Brian L. McGowan is an assistant professor of higher education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His research agenda focuses on Black men’s achievement, engagement, identity development, and interpersonal relationships in higher education; and examinations of race, gender, diversity, and social justice within postsecondary institutional contexts.

Prior to UNCG, Dr. McGowan was an assistant professor and program coordinator of the student affairs and higher education program at Indiana State University. His professional background includes experiences in housing and residence life, orientation, and career services. Dr. McGowan recently completed a three-year term on the Commission for Professional Preparation directorate. Dr. McGowan holds a Ph.D. in higher education from Indiana University, a master’s in higher education and student affairs from The Ohio State University, and a bachelor’s in music education from Old Dominion University.


Dr. Maureen Wilson

Dr. Maureen Wilson is professor and chair of the Department of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Bowling Green State University. She is a Senior Scholar with ACPA—College Student Educators International and former chair of the ACPA Professional Preparation Commission. Her recent scholarship has focused on professional socialization and identity of graduate students and new and midlevel professionals. Prior to her work as a faculty member, Dr. Wilson worked professionally in housing and residence life and academic advising.

Dr. Wilson has a rich history of involvement in ACPA (College Student Educators International), including having been the former chair of the Commission for Professional Preparation. Dr. Wilson has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Communication Arts from Aquinas College, a master’s in College and University Administration from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Ohio State University.