Assistantships, Practica, and Opportunities for Field Experience
Office of the Dean of Students: Graduate Assistantships
The Office of the Dean of Students at Vanderbilt University offers a number of graduate assistantship (GA) positions to students that have been admitted into the Higher Education Administration program. These positions typically last for two years, pending satisfactory performance of assigned duties, and offer students the chance to connect theory learned in the classroom with real world practice. Assistantships require students to work an average of 20 hours per week during the academic year. Dean of Students graduate assistants will receive the equivalent of full tuition coverage in the form of two-thirds tuition payment and one-third salary. GAs are offered in offices all over Vanderbilt, including Residential Education, the Dean’s Office, and Admissions.
Other Graduate Assistantships
Students have also completed assistantships within Peabody College and at other universities in Nashville. These positions are paid hourly and the rate varies by position. Grant-funded positions typically offer two-thirds tuition coverage and the hours vary by office.
All HEA students are required to complete one three-credit practicum in a position related to their course of study. Students are encouraged to use their time in the program to gain as much field experience as possible, with the practicum serving as structured internships taken for academic credit. Various offices offer practicum experiences, from Peabody Administration to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Students gain professional development through their work with higher education practitioners both on and off campus.
Students also have the opportunity to complete internships during their time in the HEA program. Internships are not for credit and may or may not be paid. Students typically hold internships off campus, either at other universities or in the field of Higher Education. Internships are a great way for students to gain additional work experience over the summer or during semesters in which they already have a full credit load.
There are many additional opportunities for students who qualify for Federal Work-Study. Students may work in the Dean’s Office, with professors as a research assistant, and in other various campus offices. Students will be able to view job postings on HireADore once they receive a Vanderbilt username. Upon arriving on campus, students may also find Work-Study positions within their department. Students are encouraged to reach out to various offices and professors and inquire about available opportunities for employment in their field of study.
Work Experience Profiles
Name: Justin Hua
Hometown: Delray Beach, FL
Undergraduate Institution: Davidson College
Track/Graduation Date: Student Affairs/May 2015
Office of Admission, Davidson College
In my position at Davidson’s Office of Admission and Financial Aid, I traveled to several states, counseled students and their families on the college search and application processes, and reviewed applications for admission and merit scholarship while balancing other duties in the office as well as across the college.
Graduate Assistant, Office of Intercultural Affairs, Vanderbilt University
As a GA in the Office of Intercultural Affairs, I primarily advised some of Vanderbilt’s multicultural student organizations, helped plan diversity/inclusion-focused dialogue, and participated in planning committees across campus (i.e. MLK Day Committee). As an Admissions Evaluator, I reviewed and made decision recommendations for undergraduate applicants for Vanderbilt University.
Graduate Assistant, Office of Inclusion Initiatives and Cultural Competence, Vanderbilt University
As a GA in the new Office of Inclusion Initiatives and Cultural Competence, I will be taking a more active role in creating diversity and inclusion-focused sessions, workshops, and dialogue across campus. Additionally, I will help advise and develop some of our IICC student organizations, and I will assist in managing the website and with the financial management of our office and our student organizations. In my practicum with OHARE, I am assisting one of the Associate Directors with staff professional development, diversity dialogue programs, performance and interviewer management tools, and assessing/improving RA training. Lastly, in my capacity as Graduate Research Coordinator with OHARE, I am assisting another Associate Director with various assessment strategies, implementation, and reporting through the academic year.
Name: Sara Muren
Hometown: Goodlettsville, TN
Undergraduate Institution: Centre College (Danville, KY)
Track/Graduation Date: Student Affairs/ May 2016
Graduate Assistant, Office of Greek Life, Vanderbilt University
My GA position is in the Office of Greek Life where I wear a number of hats. I advise the Interfraternity Council, the Order of Omega Greek honor society, the Greek Emerging Leaders ten-week program, and the Greek Fellows program.
Practicum Student/Intern, Women’s Center, Vanderbilt University
My practicum this fall is in the Women's Center where I am assisting with the first ever Healthy Masculinities Week and researching effective ongoing programming on the same topic.
Intern, Musicians Corner
This past summer I completed an internship with a Nashville music festival called Musicians Corner, where I served in an event management capacity learning the intricacies of programming for a general audience instead of the typical college student crowd on campus events. Being involved in this program outside of academe gave me new perspective on what it takes to be inclusive and prepared in event planning, and that's something that I can easily teach the students whom I advise.
Name: Evan Vaughn
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Undergraduate Institution: Belmont University
Track/Graduation Date: Student Affairs, May 2016
Graduate Assistant for Marketing and Communications in the Office of Housing and Residential Education
This experience has taught me about working primarily with professional staff members rather than directly with students and how department-level vision is translated to external stakeholders.
ACUHO-I Intern at Baylor University as an Assistant Hall Director for Summer School
Here I learned to supervise, encourage, and hold accountable a student staff. This opportunity equipped me with a wide variety of skills that are directly translatable to the Residence Life work I hope to do immediately upon graduation.
Practicum Student/Intern, Lipscomb University Office of Student Activities
I am currently doing a practicum with Lipscomb University’s Student Activities office, where I am learning about student-led university-wide programming.
Name: Karla Coleman García
Hometown: Dallas, TX/Alameda, CA
Undergraduate Institution: Baylor University
Track/Graduation Date: General track: emphasis on policy, diversity initiatives, access & retention/ May 2016
Youth program development at Conexión Américas within Casa Azafrán: College access initiatives for first-generation college-bound freshmen through seniors at Glencliff High School
At Conexión Américas my duties include: Overseeing the Early Escalera program, which is an early intervention college-access program for first-generation college-bound freshmen and sophomores at Glencliff High School. I will be planning the lessons, and leading the cohort weekly meetings. I will also be attending and supporting the Escalera program meetings with the senior cohort. Apart from curriculum implementation and student support, I will also be developing school and community partnerships, planning and attending college visit trips, developing a data tracking method to track students while in and after graduating from the program, and any other duties assigned by the program manager.
Research assistant on Lumina founded study on college loan aversion for Brent Evans and Angela Boatman
As a research assistant on this loan aversion study I worked to communicate with high schools across the nation and collaborate with them to administer the study’s survey. I personally administered surveys at a few schools in Texas. Additionally, I worked on the editing and formatting of the survey, gathered literature on the topic, gathered demographic data on high schools and community colleges of interest, and input data via the survey platform Qualtrics.
Graduate assistant, Vanderbilt Office of Conferences and Event Services
As the summer graduate assistant I oversaw the Vanderbilt Summer Inter Housing program, which houses 450 interns from across the nation and the world. As part of this role I drew up contracts, monitored payments, and worked directly with the interns in addressing their residential concerns. I also worked on marketing and social media initiatives for the Office of Conferences.
Name: Taylor K. Odle
Hometown: Springfield, TN
Undergraduate Institution: The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Track/Graduation Date: Policy and General (Quantitative Methods)/ Spring 2016
Graduate Assistant, Office of the Dean, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
Provide administrative support for the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Undergraduate Affairs, and the Office of Academic Services. Report directly to the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and assist with Black and Gold Days, Open House, and New Student Orientation, as well as the recruitment, selection, and training of undergraduate student leaders. Other duties include management of databases, records reporting, advisement of student organizations—Peabody Council and Peabody Academic Leaders, and general administrative duties.
Graduate Research Assistant, Peabody Research Institute
Serve as a graduate student member of multiple meta-analytic projects, principally funded by AIR, NSF, and IES (WWC), on various topics related to K-12 and higher education. Primary responsibilities include compiling and coding literature reviews, coding meta-data, quantitative analyses, and serving as a member of the project review and planning team.
Practicum Student/Intern, Office of the Executive Director, Tennessee Higher Education Commission
Currently serve as a practicum student/intern reporting directly to the Interim Executive Director of THEC. My duties include collaborative research projects across the divisions of Academic Affairs, Fiscal Policy, and Policy, Planning, & Research. Principally, I will work with the Fiscal Affairs Division as it reformulates Tennessee’s outcomes-based and performance (quality assurance) funding formulae; the Policy, Planning, & Research division as it evaluates the impact of the Tennessee Promise scholarship program on college enrollment and completion; and with the development of a research project to assess institutional behavior in response to various funding and financial aid policy implementations.
Graduate Intern for Higher Education & Public Policy, The College Board
Reporting directly to the Vice President for Policy and Analysis and working closely with the Senior Directors of Policy and Advocacy and Higher Education and Financial Aid and the Executive Director of Policy Research, I engaged with higher education policy matters, specifically the FAFSA and Pell Grant initiatives of the College Board, projects related to increasing postsecondary access and success to underrepresented students, and program evaluations of experimental and quasi-experimental student interventions.
Here are some of the offices HEA students have had work experiences in:
- Office of Undergraduate Admissions
- Peabody College Office of Development and Alumni Relations
- Office of External Relations
- Office of Active Citizenship and Service
- College of Arts & Sciences Pre-Major Academic Advising Resource Center
- Peabody Career Services
- The Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards & Academic Integrity
- The Women’s Center
- The Office of Global Education
- Office of the Provost
- The Office of Inclusion Initiatives & Cultural Competence
- Student Engagement and Leadership Development, Belmont University
- Office of Student Disability Services, Nashville State Community College
- Pathways Tennessee, TN Department of Education
- House Director for Stanford Summer College, Stanford University
- New Student & Family Programs, Saint Mary’s College of California
- Vanderbilt US-China Center for Education and Culture, Guangzhou, China
- Office of Orientation, Transition, and Parent Programs, University of Buffalo
- Residence Director, University of Notre Dame
- Office of Residential Life/Learning Communities, SUNY Brockport
- President’s Assistant, Haiyun University in Sanya Hainan, China
- Assistant to the VP of Enrollment Management, Florida Atlantic University
- Enterprise Risk Management, TN College of Applied Technology Jackson
- Career Services, Nashville State Community College
- Tennessee Higher Education Commission
- Office of Athletic Compliance, Belmont University
- Academic Advising for Athletics, Belmont University
- Office of Student Activities, Lipscomb University
- Office of Growth & Purpose for Students, Belmont University
- Peabody Office of Professional and Graduate Education
- Peabody Library Technology
- DOS-Office of Active Citizenship and Service
- DOS- Office of Intercultural Affairs and Advocacy
- The Martha Ingram Commons Center
- Vanderbilt International Office
- Peabody International Affairs
- DOS- Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards & Academic Integrity
- Fuchs Research Assistant
- DOS- Office of Greek Life
- Office of the Provost for Undergraduate Education
- DOS- Office of Arts and Campus Events
- DOS- Office of Religious Life
- Divinity School Admissions
- Program Coordinator/Housing Assignments/Marketing and Communications/Living Leaning Program
- Coordinator for Office of Housing and Residential Education
- DOS- LGBTQI Life
- Peabody External Relations
- DOS- Office of Wellness Programs & Alcohol Education
- Peabody College Graduate Admissions Office
- DOS- Project Safe Center
- Office of the Vice-Provost for Learning and Residential Affairs
- Plant Operations
- Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, Belmont University
- Annual Giving in the Office of Development, Belmont University
- Office of Study Abroad, Belmont University
- Service Learning, Lipscomb University