Higher Education Administration

Engage. Practice. Lead.

About the Program

The mission of the University of Cincinnati Educational Leadership & Policy Studies Program is to prepare excellent leaders and policymakers who seek to generate, test, and share new knowledge for the transformation and improvement of both K-12 Education and Higher Education. We seek to embody the principles of Social Justice, Diversity, Inclusivity, Collaboration, and Reflective Practice in authentic and tangible ways in all aspects of our practice and study.

Program Objectives

  • Pursuing the Master's degree will create the opportunity for you to:
  • Learn in a flexible environment that includes on campus and online class offerings
  • Gain contextual knowledge and applicable leadership skills in Higher Education Administration for the next step in your career
  • Address real world challenges and issues in Higher Education
  • Tuition Remission is available for all UC Employees

Delivery and Format

The Higher Education Administration concentration in the Education Studies degree program requires 30 credit hours with courses offered in multiple formats including online, hybrid, or in-person on the Uptown Campus. Courses are offered through the Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program in CECH’s School of Education. Departments of Educational Administration in the College of Education. Part-time students are often able to complete the program in 2 years. Full-time students typically complete the program in one year.

After Graduation

The vast majority of our students move into a career related to higher education within a few months of graduation. Preparation for a career in Higher Education Administration is designed through a combination of coursework, guided experiences, and a master’s project or thesis. Students can tailor a focus of study that best serves their professional aspirations. MA-HEA students, together with their advisor, design a program of study thoughtfully fitted to their individual interests and professional goals.

Examples of career areas include:

  • Student Affairs Administration
  • General Administration
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Admission & Enrollment Management
  • Institutional Advancement
  • Community Colleges
  • University systems
  • Foundations and associations

Core Faculty

Headshot of Kayla Marie Johnson

Kayla Marie Johnson

Dr. Kayla Johnson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Cincinnati where she teaches courses in leadership, governance and policy-making, and the foundations of higher education. In her research, Kayla uses visual participatory and student voice methods to collaborate with students and communities on developing and improving educational practice and policy. She has three active grant-funded research projects that explore: 1) the impact of international community engagement programs on developing students as global change agents; 2) the influence of access to postsecondary education on the identity development of rural first-generation Indigenous students; and 3) collaboratively developing culturally-grounded e-learning opportunities with Indigenous communities.

Prior to joining the faculty as UC, Kayla was a Postdoctoral Researcher at McGill University and an Instructor of Higher Education at Penn State. She has worn many hats in higher education, having worked in study abroad, international student and scholar services, curriculum development, assessment, and advising to name a few. Kayla is actively involved in her scholarly communities and serves in leadership roles for the Association for the Study of Higher Education's Council for International Higher Education and the Comparative and International Education Society's Higher Education SIG. She is also co-founder of Centro Educativo Pallata Ayllu, a non-profit INGO that facilitates access to culturally-grounded and community-driven education for Quechua children and adults in the Peruvian Andes.
Kayla is originally from Gallipolis, Ohio and is excited to be returning to her home state. She is an avid coffee drinker, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and a proud member of Slytherin House. 
Headshot of Everrett A Smith

Everrett A Smith

Assistant Professor & Program Coordinator, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, CECH Education

610P Teachers College


Dr. Everrett Smith serves as an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of Cincinnati where he teaches courses on higher education governance, policy, and finance. He also leads the Educational Leadership & Policy Studies program and the Higher Education Administration concentration in the Educational Studies master's degree program. With student success at the center of his work, much of Dr. Smith’s research contributes to a new understanding of the factors that influence governance decisions and organizational behavior at public colleges and universities. This work includes exploring trustee, faculty, and student involvement in the shared governance process, and policy, financial, and political decision-making at institutional and state levels. Most recently, Dr. Smith’s research has extended to community colleges with a particular examination of the solicitation, development, and use of private resource allocations for two-year institutions. In addition, his research agenda also considers other government and non-profit organizations. Previously, Dr. Smith served as Director of Assessment for the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Arkansas and has multiple years of experience in higher education administration including student affairs and enrollment management. He also taught and substitute taught in the Memphis City School system. He was a Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Award recipient and completed his doctoral studies in public policy specializing in higher education policy at the University of Arkansas. He is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, attended Middle Tennessee State University for his bachelor’s degree, and attended the University of Memphis for graduate school. Some of his work can be found in the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Journal of Higher Education Theory & Practice, Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, Journal of Academic Administration in Higher Education, and the College Student Affairs Journal.
Headshot of Antar Akari Tichavakunda

Antar Akari Tichavakunda

Assistant Professor, CECH Education

Teachers College


Antar A. Tichavakunda received his Ph.D. in Urban Education Policy from the University of Southern California. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Tichavakunda is a product of DC Public School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education Studies from Brown University. Prior to his doctoral studies, Tichavakunda worked as an 11th grade English teacher in DC Public Schools. Using qualitative inquiry, Tichavakunda has engaged in research on college readiness, Black students’ experiences at predominantly White institutions, and more broadly the sociology of race and higher education. His published work can be found in The Educational ForumThe Journal of Negro Education, and Education and Urban Society. He has also signed an advance book contract with SUNY Press based on his research concerning Black students’ campus lives. Tichavakunda enjoys military pressing, incline bench pressing, and avoiding leg-day at all costs. A walking contradiction, he identifies with Sith ideology in Star Wars but would probably be a member of the Hufflepuff house in Harry Potter.


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.