Greetings from Our Program Coordinator

Gudrun Nyunt
Gudrun Nyunt

HESA alumni, students, faculty and staff,

I hope these newsletters, sent out three times a year (fall, spring, summer), will become a new tradition that brings our HESA community closer together.

In these newsletters, we intend to share program updates; celebrate personal and professional accomplishments of members of our community; and highlight scholarly activities of HESA students, faculty and alumni. I would love to see many more contributions from all of you in our next edition of this newsletter. To submit an announcement, please email me at

The Fall 2020 semester started a few weeks ago. This semester looks very different than what we are all used to: All of our courses have been moved to an online modality in an effort to keep our students and faculty safe. In spite of this change, we were able to welcome some of the largest cohorts in the history of the program: Over the summer, 13 students started our Community College Leadership Ed.D. program. This fall, we welcomed 22 new students to our Executive Weekend Ed.D. program and 22 new students to our master’s program.

Over the past few years, our programs have gone through many changes.

In an effort to align our doctoral program with the demands of full-time professionals in the field of higher education, we have altered our curriculum and introduced new cohort program structures. We now offer an Executive Weekend Ed.D. program in Higher Education with specializations in Higher Education Administration or College Teaching (hybrid with Saturday face-to-face meetings on our Naperville campus) and a Community College Leadership Ed.D. program (online during the academic year with one week of face-to-face meetings over the summer).

Last May, we graduated our first cohort of Community College Leadership students. This spring, our first cohort of the Executive Weekend Ed.D. program will move into the dissertation stage. We have been excited to see the interest in our programs from professionals in our field. We will be hosting information sessions for both programs this fall and early spring. We hope that you will encourage your colleagues to check out our doctoral programs.

Our master’s program also continues to grow and evolve.

We recently revised our learning outcomes and developed signature assignments for each of our courses. In their last semester, our master’s students create an ePortfolio that showcases how they have achieved each of the learning outcomes of our program. As faculty, we enjoy reviewing these ePortfolios as it allows us to gain insights into the learning our students experienced during our program.

Last year, a group of master’s students founded an NIU chapter of Chi Sigma Alpha, an international honor society comprised of graduate students, alumni, faculty and student affairs professionals that promotes and recognizes excellence in academics, research, and service to the profession of student affairs. At our inaugural induction ceremony in Spring 2020, we inducted 25 new members. A few months later, we celebrated our first group of graduates. Moving forward, we plan on inducting a new group of members of between six and eight students each spring.

This fall, as we are adjusting to life during a pandemic, we hope to make the most of our current situation by using this opportunity to expand opportunities for virtual connections.

We recently hosted a first HESA Coffee Hour with current students. We are also hoping to create new events that connect students and alumni.

In October, we will have Dr. V. Leilani Kupo serve as our Graduate Colloquium speaker. Her talk, titled “Doing the Hard Work and the Heart Work: Identifying and Dismantling White Supremacist Practices in Student Success Programs,” is open to all HESA community members. To RSVP for the event, which will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, please visit

Please also join our LinkedIn page, so that you don’t miss information about upcoming events and other program happenings.

Please keep in touch and all the best for the fall semester!

Gudrun Nyunt, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor and HESA Program Coordinator

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