experiences

The Center for Higher and Adult Education annually sponsors travel to Washington, DC for students in the capstone core course in the Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education doctoral program (EAD 967).

EAD 967, the capstone course in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education doctoral program, includes a two-day trip to Washington, DC, supported by the Center for Higher and Adult Education (CHAE). On the trip, students have an incredible opportunity for both academic and professional development that is unique among higher education doctoral programs around the country. Students are able to link theory and practice by hearing from current higher education policy leaders on a range of current policy issues. 

The HALE doctoral cohort of students spend time in the nation’s capital each fall, visiting national higher education associations and advocacy organizations to learn about policy issues currently being debated at the institutional, state, and federal levels in the United States. The experience also allows students to learn more about the role that policy analysis and research play in the policy process. Returning students often cite the trip as a "phenomenal" experience that helps bring course material to life.

While there, students experience full days of presentations and conversations with leading national higher education organizations to discuss current legislative priorities, emerging national issues, and the role ways in which policy is influenced by the voices of higher education leaders. For example, the trips often begin with time at MSU's Washington, DC office to discuss institutional advocacy work, meetings with scholars at the American Council on Education, as well as time with staff from the national organizations that support and advocate on behalf of various institutional types. For more details on possible trip sessions, please see the sample itinerary below.

Concepts practiced during this trip include:

  • The policy process as it operates in higher education in the United States;
  • Concepts and theoretical frameworks for understanding higher education policy;
  • Current policy issues being debated at the institutional, state, and federal levels; and 
  • The role that policy analysis and research play in the policy process. 

EAD 967 follows two complementary strands of inquiry: policy development in postsecondary education and policy research design and analysis. Each year's Washington, DC trip is designed to mirror this dual-strand approach to the study of higher education policy and make it real for students. As a result, an additional benefit of this annual experience is the tremendous networking opportunity students are provided, which has led to several internship/fellowship and employment opportunities.