Unlocking the Potential of Higher Education Leadership: The Path to Professional Growth

February 08, 2024

Meet Jessica Maitland, a seasoned professional in higher education and a settler of Chinese ancestry from British Columbia. With two decades of experience in various roles within post-secondary institutions, Jessica's recent venture into management consulting is fueled by her scholarly training in the MEd in Educational Leadership Post-Secondary program. 

The program aims to develop the research capacity and leadership skills of educators who are currently working in diverse educational contexts and equip them for innovative practice upon graduation.

Through insightful reflections, Jessica shares the transformative impact of her education, emphasizing the importance of connections and rigorous scholarship in navigating the complex landscape of higher education leadership.

Q: What led you to choose SFU, and specifically, the Leadership Post-Secondary program?

A: I was an employee of SFU at the time and many of my colleagues have recommended this program. The Leadership Post-Secondary stream was directly relevant to my practice as a higher education professional. I wanted to pursue a master’s that provided flexibility and supported my professional goals and provided me with scholarly training in understanding post-secondary systems and leadership. 

Q: Can you recall any moments, classes, or experiences during your time in the program that stood out to you or left a lasting impression?

A: Connecting with classmates from different institutions and industries was the most impactful experience. My classmates are so impressive, and the faculty helped everyone shine and grow together. Also, the lasting connections with faculty and our conversations are particularly important to me as I navigate my future career and education choices.

Q: How have you been able to apply the knowledge and skills you gained from completing the program in your post-graduation endeavours?

A: The research skills I gained from this program gave me the ability to look at the systemic challenges in my work and investigate them properly. The knowledge I gained about policy and leadership helped inform my management approach with staff and outlook on governance in higher education. Through the combination of my work experience and this master’s training, I was able to start my consulting practice and provide value to clients that is based on experience and scholarship. 

Q: Considering your experiences, what advice would you offer to both newcomers and current students who are navigating their academic journeys at SFU?

A: The connections are what activated knowledge and learning for me. Learning the material without experiencing the cohort and the faculty mentorship would have felt incomplete. I would not have grown as a person or professional had it not been for the influence of my classmates and the incredible faculty in this program. Make the most of it and challenge yourself in this academic space! This was a kind and safe space to explore your ideas, but it was also a rigorous space to build your research skills and scholarship. 

Our MEd in Educational Leadership: Post Secondary is now accepting application for the Fall 2024 intake. Apply by March 15, 2024 and join our community-driven approach, collaborating with local partners to address diverse educational needs and advance your career in an inclusive, supportive environment!