Why Higher Education Leadership at USD?

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Higher Education Leadership, Katie Russo:
A couple of weeks ago, we had the Admitted Students Campus Visit Day for the MA in Higher Education Leadership program at USD. While meeting and mingling with these admitted students, I was able to reflect on my own passion for the program here, and share my SOLES experience with the men and women I spoke with.
I chose the Higher Education Leadership program in SOLES and USD for 4 main reasons. The first reason was the location, because I needed to attend graduate school in southern California, close to home for me, because of my mom’s health situation at the time. And really… who can complain about San Diego? The dream weather and limitless adventures at your fingertips truly make it “America’s Finest City.” The second reason was the program’s community and family feel, with the small cohort and close relationships with faculty and administration. This was extremely important and meaningful to me, because I was able to have my colleagues, classmates and professors become a part of my San Diego support system. My third reason for selecting this program and institution is the emphasis on leadership in my degree and in my program coursework. I liked that it differed from some student affairs specific graduate programs, by focusing on leadership within higher education. For example, as I like to explain to people now when I am marketing the worth of my degree, I am earning a Masters degree in leadership with an emphasis in higher education, which makes the degree transferable and valuable. Lastly, the final component that truly sold me on the program is the international requirement to complete a global study course or international experience, because I never had the opportunity to study abroad in my undergraduate career.
My final note on my love and appreciation for USD and its educational and student involvement approach is the student-centeredness focus and philosophy on intentional programming aimed at holistic student development. Members of the USD community here, including faculty, staff, and administrators are passionately devoted to student-centeredness work developing the “whole” student, person and engaged member of society. It is something I admire and support so much here at USD. I can’t imagine what my life would be like had I chose not to come to USD, because the experiences and relationships I’ve created here have changed my life for the better in more ways than I ever dreamed of.

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