Dr. Kevin LaFrance shares how experiential learning factors into the program's teaching methods.
Experiential content within the UIW MHA program focuses on developing the competencies associated primarily with professionalism, teamwork, and leadership. To this end, the program has incorporated four distinct curriculum components that provide our students, contingent on their work status and previous healthcare experience, with the content exposure to meet specific competency outcomes:
The Program has established a Graduate Assistantship (GA) experience focused on providing students an opportunity to work 15-20 hours a week in a healthcare organization concurrent with their didactic program. The GA experience is designed for students lacking relevant healthcare experience. Those participating in the GA program are paired with one of our industry partners representing many different areas of the healthcare industry including hospitals, health clinics, physician groups and community health centers. Students begin the GA program in the fall semester of their second year and have an opportunity to gain experience over two full semesters. The GA program focuses on project oriented activities that demonstrate the student’s ability to contribute to organizational outcomes. The GA program is required for those students without relevant healthcare experience and the ability to participate will be considered in the decision to accept a student into the program.
All students participate in a series of curriculum-based activities that focus on professional and leadership development. Healthcare executive led activities related to resume writing and interview skills help to develop the student’s professional core. Leadership skills are developed and enhanced through peer and faculty assessment and feedback of team-based leadership opportunities. Additionally, students have the opportunity to participate in interprofessional experiences that enhance their understanding of professional and leadership dynamics within the contemporary healthcare environment.
Students are required to attend several program directed seminar sessions in each year of their degree program. These sessions expose the students to current issues in healthcare and allow them to interact with practicing healthcare administrators and other professionals and to observe the application of management principals outside the traditional classroom setting.
The culminating academic event of the program is a client-based capstone project. Working in teams, and for a health industry client, students address a significant management problem, question or issue in real-time. Capstone project work is evaluated by both the professor and the client.