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Department of Educational Administration

Ph.D. in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education

Alumnae/i Testimonials

Learn about the experiences of some of our recent HALE Ph.D graduates ...


Scott Hirko, HALE Ph.D 2011

Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Education & Sport, Central Michigan University
Associate, Communications and Research, Knight Commission on     Intercollegiate Athletics

I am honored to be asked to share my experiences with HALE PhD program, among the most challenging and rewarding of my lifetime. My time with the HALE program was of immense professional and personal growth. I relished the opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and to expand my knowledge, but what exceeded my expectations was making life-long friendships with HALE faculty and fellow colleagues. Learning via HALE was fun: viewpoints were shared in an inclusive and dynamic environment that made learning an incredibly satisfying experience. I felt like a sponge, soaking up every drop of knowledge from every direction. Sometimes, the challenges made my brain hurt, but in a good way because I could feel intensive intellectual stimulation. Fellow students and the HALE faculty encouraged me to expand my horizons (and my network) through professional conferences and engagement in new areas of research. The HALE family inspired me to extend my interests in intercollegiate athletics and higher education policy toward theoretical and conceptual applications, advice which has been crucial in my successes. I remember the first year discussing early topics of interest, then unexpectedly having HALE faculty sharing their contacts to leading researchers across the country, which I used to expand my understanding and create future research relationships! I cherish my history with the Michigan State HALE program and each of my future rendezvous with fellow HALErs. The thoughtful direction, support, knowledge, and friendships make the HALE PhD program the best higher education program in the land. I'm a proud Spartan HALE grad for life!



Katherine (Stolz) Madden, HALE Ph.D 2010

Master's Program Coordinator
Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education
University of Michigan

When asked about my experience in the HALE doctoral program, I often answer simply, “It taught me how to ask questions.” Inherent in this response, of course, is that I also gained skills and knowledge to pursue pathways to begin to answer these questions, although I feel that “living with the ambiguity” was one of our major lessons throughout the program.

During my five years as a HALE student, I worked full-time in residence life at Michigan State. Doing so provided me with a sense of balance that helped to ground the theory and conceptual discussions of my coursework and research with the everyday realities of living with and serving 450 first-year students. I felt both supported and affirmed by the HALE program in continuing my career in student affairs in tandem with my doctoral studies, which I do not believe is necessarily the case in every doctoral program.

HALE opened an immense array of opportunities to me, including the support to conduct an independent study in Mumbia, India, in addition to group trips led by HALE faculty to Southwestern England and South Africa. I sat on a research team and published this work, attended conferences, and presented nationally. Perhaps most important to me, however, was that throughout my doctoral program, I benefited from the camaraderie and guidance of the HALE faculty and my cohort members. The support of the HALE community truly made all the difference for me, as we engaged in inquiry together to further explore our field.