sahe students group picture sahe students group picture

Program Description

Through a blend of coursework and practical experiences, the SAHE program educates student affairs professionals who are prepared to address contemporary challenges of student affairs practice. Our curriculum is rooted in a social justice lens that aims to create more just and equitable student affairs practice. At the same time that students learn to be critical scholar-practitioners, they also engage in significant reflection about their own identities and life experiences, resulting in meaningful personal transformation.

In doing this work together, we strive to create inclusive and accessible learning environments in the SAHE community. Together, our students, faculty, and assistantship/practicum supervisors are learning partners who value how our different life experiences and identities, such as our race, sexual orientation, ability, gender, religion, and social class, shape our educational experiences and perspectives on student affairs practice.

MS Program Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will be able to understand multiple theories and educate readers about their importance.
  • Students will be able to understand multiple roles of inquiry and methods of research and apply them to investigate questions.
  • Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of personal and professional knowledge and skills related to student affairs practice and apply them to campus phenomena.
  • Students will be able to understand and convey the complexities of integrating theory, practice, and inquiry and demonstrate that integration by addressing campus issues.
  • Students will be able to convey ideas that are based on one’s own beliefs, perspectives, identity, and sense of self in relation to others.
  • Students will be able to produce writing that is organized, conceptualized and reflective of ideas, conveys clear and sound arguments, and few grammatical and APA errors

In the News

How Miami Diversifies Diversity Through Student Affairs Education

In this podcast episode, we talk about Miami University's Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) program, and how its emphasis on critical self-reflection, personal transformation, and its ability to diversify even the concept of diversity itself make it one of the most unique and innovative programs of its kind.

What Our Alumni Say

Dr. Z NicolazzoDr. Z. Nicolazzo

Assistant Professor, Adult and Higher Education Program and Faculty Associate, Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Northern Illinois University (SAHE Ph.D. Class of 2015)

My time as a member of the SAHE Ph.D. program was nothing short of excellent. I was pushed intellectually, supported in my educational pursuits, and encouraged to find ways to align my values with my current and future practice as a critical educator. The SAHE program also set me up well to be a tenure-track faculty member, which has eased my transition to my new role. I would highly recommend this program to anyone seeking an intellectually rigorous and educationally supportive environment that prepares you for whatever future path you may choose.

Ronnie BenionRonnie Benion

Residence Director, Ithaca College

My time in SAHE helped me to develop into the professional I am today. It challenged me to think in new ways and focus on my role as not only a supervisor and educator but as a potential mentor to my students. SAHE taught me what it means to show up for my students and to be present in their challenges and successes. It taught me the value of self-care because the program made me dig up memories and experiences that I had buried to heal from them. These things have helped me in my current role as a Residence Director at Ithaca College. I show up for my students. I see my students as unique individuals with differing definitions of success. I am a small piece of their journey, but my goal is to have our time together be impactful. SAHE helped me discover the type of educator I want to be. Now that I am an alum, I am putting my best foot forward to try and be that person every single day.

Ruby MurilloRuby Murillo

Academic Advisor TRIO Student Support Services and Travelers EDGE, Inver Hills Community College (SAHE M.S. Class of 2015)

Being a part of the SAHE program at Miami challenged me in ways that I never knew were possible. The professors in the program invested in me as a student and as a professional. Not only was I able to learn about and critique the various developmental theories that are currently being talked about across the nation, but I was also able to conduct research and apply some of the knowledge that I was getting in the classroom to the research I was conducting. In addition to the academic guidance, I received a lot of support from the professors which led to self-empowerment and a stronger sense of my identity as a Latina in higher education. I can truly say that I came out as a better, stronger, more confident person and professional thanks to the support of the faculty and the friends that I made along the way.

Tanadjza Robinson-McCrayTanadjza Robinson-McCray

Student Development Specialist/Coordinator of Career Development in the Educational Opportunity Fund, Ramapo College of New Jersey (SAHE M.S. Class of 2014)

My graduate career in the SAHE program at Miami University was life changing.  My classroom and practical experiences and my interactions with faculty members, helped groom me into the person and professional that I am today.  The SAHE program empowered me to find my voice and to use my personal values to follow my passion of being a social justice educator and advocate. If it weren't for the academic challenges and tremendous support from faculty members, I wouldn't have grown intellectually or personally. My journey in the SAHE program is unforgettable and I am forever grateful for the experience.

Hon LamBrandon Cash

Residential College Director, Washington University in St. Louis


SAHE was truly a transformative experience. Both personally and professionally, I grew in understanding, character, confidence, and overall ability to serve collegiate students and the world we all inhabit. My time is SAHE certainly was not always smooth with challenging course work, a high-touch assistantship, and an intensive exploration of the self, however, I know that the time and energy that my faculty, my cohort, and my students invested in me, accompanied with my desire for personal growth, have resulted in me being a more prepared, cognizant, and active educator in the field of student affairs. From serving the students of Ellingson and Collins halls, to co-instructing a course I helped create, to presenting at regional, national, and international conferences, SAHE afforded me incredible experience that I will never forget. The greatest take-aways from my Miami SAHE experience, however, are not the research projects or skills developed working in Residence Life. They are the relationships with dear friends I have been fortunate to foster, as well as the passion to be a life-long learner that will continue to fuel my desire to inspire integrity in my students and serve the world around me.

Meet Our Faculty

Elisa AbesDr. Elisa Abes

Elisa Abes has been teaching in the SAHE program since 2005. She primarily teaches courses related to student development theory. In doing so, she uses a critical theoretical approach to re-imagine student development theory to work against systems of inequality such as racism, heterosexism, and ableism. Her research also centers on critical approaches to student development theory, including intersectionality and critical disability theory. Elisa’s current research focuses on the experiences and identities of college students with physical and intellectual disabilities. Elisa is the co-author (with Dr. Susan R. Jones) of Identity Development of College Students: Advancing Frameworks for Multiple Dimensions of Identity (Jossey Bass, 2013); editor of Critical Perspectives on Student Development Theory (Jossey Bass, 2016); and co-editor (with Dr. Susan R. Jones and Dr. D-L Stewart) of Rethinking College Student Development Theory Using Critical Frameworks (Stylus, forthcoming). Prior to teaching at Miami, Elisa taught for two years at the University of South Florida. Elisa also practiced law as a litigator in a large law firm for four years prior to starting her career as a student affairs faculty member. Student development theory explains much of Elisa’s career transition. Elisa graduated from The Ohio State University with her bachelor’s degree (1992) and doctorate (2003). She received her law degree from Harvard Law School (1995). Elisa and her partner, Amber, are the mothers of two kind children, Shoshana and Benjamin, ages 10 and 7, who like to remind her that playing with them is “more important” than always getting her work done. Indeed, Elisa loves to be outside as much as possible, running, hiking, biking, gardening, and of course, any game her children want to play with her.