College Student Services Administration master’s degree comes to OSU Ecampus

Program focuses on working in higher education, provides emphasis on social justice

College can be a chaotic and difficult time for students. Some seek help throughout their undergraduate years from instructors and administrators. These students may be so inspired by these influences that they decide to attend graduate school and become one of them.

This decision may be easier than ever with the College Student Services Administration master’s degree at OSU. This master’s degree of education is specialized for those interested in working in higher education, and provides a focus on social justice. The CSSA degree is becoming an Ecampus-accessible program beginning fall term 2017. 

The degree places a large emphasis on social justice. Ali Duerfeldt, the OSU summer session marketing program manager, completed the degree at OSU.

“I think the CSSA program stands out because it is so rooted in social justice. That was something that was really important to me,” Duerfeldt said.

According to Lisa Templeton, the associate provost for OSU Ecampus, the social justice aspect of CSSA is unique. 

“This group of learners will gain the knowledge and tools needed to successfully deliver accessible and equitable student services programs, promote learning and facilitate community development in higher education settings,” Templeton said in an email.

Jacqueline Balzer is the program coordinator for the new online program.

“CSSA provides the breadth and depth of knowledge, skills and perspectives essential for the student affairs professional,” Balzer said in an email. “The CSSA experience is rooted to social justice.”

Balzer built a career working in student affairs after completing the degree at OSU in 1992.

“I have been working in the field of student affairs for over 30 years and I love it,” Balzer said in an email. “I have enjoyed almost every minute of my career.”

As for Duerfeldt, she decided to pursue the CSSA degree while she was an undergrad.

“When I was an undergrad, I had a lot of amazing mentors and individuals who I had the opportunity to work with on my road to graduation,” Duerfeldt said. “And that sparked a passion in me and I wanted to facilitate those opportunities for students.”

Duerfeldt took the CSSA classes on campus.

“I think that this degree is going to be more accessible to working professionals across the U.S. or internationally,” Duerfeldt said. “This degree is taught by renowned faculty and practitioners. They’re going to be able to give their expertise. It’s facilitated through OSU Ecampus, which is a national leader in online education.”

While the online degree will differ in some ways from the on-campus one, the objectives will be the same, according to Templeton.

“All Ecampus degree programs and courses have identical learning outcomes as OSU’s on-campus degree programs, so there is no difference in the time commitment for Ecampus students and on-campus students,” Templeton said in an email. “The future is providing more options, including partially or fully-online programs, so learners can choose what works best for them.”

Balzer will teach the online version of the degree.

“This fall with be my first time to teach online, and I am very excited,” Balzer said in an email. “The Ecampus staff is great and they have been preparing instructors and supporting the online curriculum development.”

Shannon Riggs, the OSU Ecampus director of course development and training, said in an email that the process of creating an online degree takes two years. 

“Faculty members are paired with Ecampus instructional designers to design and develop their online courses. The Ecampus instructional designers help guide faculty through a required training called the ‘Developing an Online Course Workshop,’ which is a six-week online training,” Riggs said in an email.

According to Riggs, the instructors have their course plans drawn out by the end of the program.

“Once the training is complete, the faculty members continue to work with their instructional designers, who also bring in other team members from Ecampus as needed,” Riggs said in an email. “Students in online courses should expect to engage with the content, with other students and with faculty, all in active ways.”

For more information on the CSSA degree, visit the Liberal Arts webpage on OSU’s website. For more information on Ecampus degrees and options, visit the Ecampus webpage on OSU’s website.