New Online Graduate Program in Higher Ed Aims to Help Close ‘Leadership Gap’

Online Master’s Degree Targets Community College and University Professionals

The next few years will be critical to community colleges and universities whose baby-boom-era leaders are preparing for retirement.  This impending "leadership gap" presents challenges if the next generation of higher education professionals aren't prepared to accept the torch that is passed to them.  The University of Houston College of Education's new online Master's in Higher Education offers a program aimed specifically at working professionals seeking career advancement in a college or university setting.  

Program courses are taught completely online. 

"The online master's is particularly well-suited for those professionals who are working full time at community colleges or four-year institutions and aspire to leadership positions that will soon be vacated by retiring senior administrators," said Lyle McKinney, assistant professor of higher education in the College of Education.  "This is especially true for professionals who want a graduate degree in higher education, but are unable to physically visit the UH campus several times each week because of where they live or because of existing family commitments."

Similar to the traditional face-to-face master's degree, the online master's program is structured to enable part-time students to complete the 36-hour program in two years.   

The degree is constructed around six themes:  Urban Perspectives, Education for All People and for All Places, Student Experience and Opportunity, Policy and Planning, Collaboration and Community, and Proven Experience and Leadership.  Graduates from the program will be prepared for positions such as vice presidents of student and academic affairs, directors of admission, chief advancement officers, and leaders in nonprofit organizations. 

"There is a pressing need for efforts that help close the leadership gap," McKinney said.  "We must ensure the next generation of college and university leaders have a deep understanding of the big issues impacting higher education. Graduates from this program will be well-prepared to assume key leadership roles on their campus.

The program begins in fall 2011.  The deadline to apply for admission is June 30.  Contact Catherine Horn, associate professor and program coordinator, at  or Kimberly Zainfeld, academic adviser, at or call 713-743-9830. 

For more information on the UH College of Education, visit