Careers you can pursue in higher education leadership

Working in higher education is a career that can be incredibly rewarding. However, many in the field can still be searching for more stimulating tasks and that next great challenge. According to Business Insider, researchers found that individuals who pursued careers that challenged them were able to keep their minds sharper for longer and also improve their cognitive functioning.

What’s the best way to pave the way to embrace new challenges in your career? Enrolling in an online degree program can give you the chance to revitalize your passion to work in higher education while also giving you the tools to take on more responsibility in another role. With an Ed.D., there are multiple career paths you can choose from.

However, you may feel unsure how to transition from your current role into a leadership role in higher education. See the professional outcomes below to learn more about the different career paths an Ed.D. can offer:

A Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership can prepare you for the role of provost. In this role, you may work directly under the college or university president. You would focus on the academic offerings of the institution while overseeing faculty members across all departments. Academically, you would help colleges face new challenges that prepare students for life after graduation.

Employers in STEM fields are eagerly looking for students with the technical training to help them. For instance, a 2015 report from the Austin Technology Council found that 70 percent of employers found it “difficult” to “extremely difficult” to fill tech positions like engineer or software developer. This hurdle is due to a shortage of students graduating with the necessary degree, the report noted. To address these changes, a provost would work with their administration and fellow faculty members to offer more computer science courses.

Provosts can strive to increase cross-cultural dialogue as well – an important tool in the face of changes made by the current administration. According to The Atlantic, approximately 10 percent of college students have the ability to learn about different cultures firsthand through a study abroad experience. As a result, provosts can increase cross-cultural awareness by offering classes in an array of subjects by working with department chairs.

Chief Academic Officer
Chief Academic Officers can face challenges, especially when looking at how institutions prepare students for life after college. More than half of institutions are increasing their attention on a degree that can help students get a job after they graduate. Their main goals involve improving the educational environment, which includes offering academic studies that actively prepare students for the workplace.

In addition, CAOs strive to find and retain top faculty talent. According to a Gallup Poll among CAOs, 67 percent of these administrators believe their institution is offering an undergraduate education that prepares students for the real world. However, there is room for growth and opportunity. Colleges and universities may address this by offering more STEM classes. They can assist students who are pursuing degrees in the humanities by providing support to educate students about how to maximize the value of their education through internships and cross-departmental offerings.

Furthermore, the rising cost of education challenges CAOs. Only one third of CAOs believe they control higher education costs adequately.

College/University President
College presidents are the face of the institutions. When the current federal administration revealed changes in immigration policy, that would affect educational institutes, many presidents reached out to their student body in response. Presidents need a set of skills that balance the desire to increase the size of the student body with developing and carrying a vision to propel the college forward. However, you are also working alongside fellow administrators and professors, which require strong communication skills and the ability to work together.

Dean of Students
As the dean of students, you could have the opportunity to promote engagement among the student body and help students adjust to their new environment. According to Julia Routbort, associate dean of student affairs at Skidmore College, these adjustments can include coping with depression and anxiety in a stressful academic environment as well the pressures of new social circles.

In addition, the dean of students can establish a dialogue with and between students to discuss the changing social environment. New immigration policies have affected college campuses directly, as many colleges open their doors to students from around the world.

Department Chair
Becoming a department chair can cultivate strong leadership skills for those who accept the role. You can guide the department toward more research or more creative endeavors. It is important to be comfortable working with significant amounts of paperwork, as much of a department chair’s job centers on assessments, budget planning and administrative tasks. Some chairs, like the head of women’s studies at San Diego State University, have embraced the challenge of updating the department’s curriculum in the face of changing times. Other gender studies departments understand the importance of developing an updated curriculum.

“The field should grow and be different than it was in decades ago, because if it didn’t, we didn’t do our work,” noted a gender studies professor to USA Today.

A department chair has the chance to make that difference for his or her students by showing how his or her curriculum can prepare students to become active social activists and civil participants.

There are a number of career paths you can pursue with a Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership. How will you make a difference in the lives of your fellow administrators and students? Reach out to an academic advisor to learn more.


Inside Higher Ed – How Did You Get Stuck Being a College President?

The Change Leader – University Presidents Speak: Greatest Challenges Facing Higher Education

The Atlantic – How Trump’s Immigration Order If Affecting Higher Education

Statesman – High-tech firms, educators push bills to fund computer science classes

The Chronicle of Higher Education – Should I Be the Next Chair

USA Today

NY Times

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