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College of Education > News and Publications > News: Oct. - Dec. 2011 > Organization Educates the Educators of Tomorrow

Organization Educates the Educators of Tomorrow

Penn State's Higher Education Student Association is devoted to instructing future educators with a three-pronged approach.

by Patrick Beal (October 2011)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Penn State’s Higher Education Student Association (HESA) is devoted to training and preparing tomorrow’s educators and higher education administrators by stressing community, communication, and academic progress.

HESA is a formal student organization whose chief concern is preparing and educating students enrolled in the masters, Ph.D., and D.Ed. higher education programs. The organization hosts “brown bag” presentations by guest speakers and current professors, academic writing workshops, practice sessions for students preparing conference presentations, and even mentorship opportunities with higher education alumni.

“The members of our program,” says Travis York, vice president of HESA, “understand that the best educational experiences come from integrating learning and development both in and outside of the classroom.” Furthermore, HESA utilizes a three-pronged approach of community; communication; and professional, intellectual, and academic development.

HESA is actively involved in community service and town hall meetings where community concerns are addressed. The organization’s Web site helps keep members, faculty, and alumni up to date on HESA’s news and events. The three-pronged approach is meant to do more than enlighten students. As York says, “It provides the space for students to take responsibility and ownership in that process.”

Every year, the executive board assesses the state of the higher education program and its students to make alterations to improve HESA’s goals. These changes are working because, for the past several years, the higher education program has been the ranked first in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The number one ranking is what attracted York to the program five years ago when he first started working on his Ph.D. in higher education. He joined HESA shortly after arrival.

To the department, the only ranking that matters is next year’s ranking, ensuring the higher education program and HESA are continually striving to improve. The department is currently in the middle of an extensive search for new faculty who will maintain Penn State’s distinguished level of research and teaching.

More information can be found at HESA’s Web site,