Sean Horrigan '04

MA in Higher Education Leadership

Sean Horrigan completed his undergraduate degree in K-12 education at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA. During college Sean developed an interest for working in student affairs and higher education administration. He was drawn to the experience of engaging with college students in order to promote their reflection, meaning-making, and values clarification as they struggled with the difficult choices and big questions presented by the college experience. Following graduation, Sean moved to San Diego, CA to pursue graduate studies in higher education and leadership at USD. 

While in graduate school at USD Sean worked as a graduate assistant in Student Affairs for leadership development and residential life. He was also president of the SOLES Graduate Student Association. In his second year of the program he worked as a teaching assistant for Dr. Terri Monroe and was able to deepen his understanding of leadership development, group relations, and case-in-point classroom facilitation. Even after completing his MA, Sean has remained involved in the work of the SOLES Leadership Institute and served on staff at numerous Leadership for Change conferences.

Following graduation Sean began working fulltime at USD in residential life and eventually became the Director of Student Conduct and Graduate Student Life. As a university administrator he has been responsible for developing programs and services for student conduct, conflict resolution, restorative justice, residential learning, leadership training, crisis management, student wellness, and graduate student affairs.  In 2015 Sean accepted a new position at USD as the Director University Centers and Student Activities.

Sean’s graduate degree at USD also prepared him to pursue teaching responsibilities in the college setting. In 2005 he became an Adjunct Faculty for Organizational Leadership at National University and continues to teach in the program today. Sean has also taught a graduate seminar on higher education leadership in SOLES and currently coordinates the Emerging Leaders program that introduces first-year undergraduate students to leadership theory, social justice, and invites them to be intentional about their leadership and changemaking practice during their college journey.  

Approximately five years after completing his MA at USD, Sean returned to pursue his PhD in Leadership Studies. He is now a candidate in the program and will defend his dissertation in Spring 2016. The title of his dissertation is Meaning-Making in Student Conduct Administration: A Developmental Perspective. His research explores the relationship between leadership and human development among higher education leaders.