UTA Magazine
Prescription for growth
Degree offering finds niche in booming health care industry

In 2000, the master of science in health care administration had seven students. Now more than 150 populate the flourishing program at the UTA/Fort Worth campus and the Universities Center at Dallas.

The 36-hour MSHCAD offers the opportunity to tackle one course at a time in accelerated 5- to 7-week sessions; students may take two courses per semester. The degree can be completed in 24 months, with classes meeting twice a week, and, being cohort based, allows students to remain together throughout the program.

David Mack, associate director of the Goolsby Leadership Academy in the College of Business Administration, said the program got a boost when then-President Robert Witt wanted to increase the University’s presence in Fort Worth.

“The assignment was to up the program,” Mack said. “I visited hospitals and anybody I could get to talk to me.”

The original target was 30 students. When 57 enrolled, the class was moved to Cook Children’s Medical Center. As the program continued to grow and more space became available, classes shifted back to UTA/Fort Worth.

Mike West, director of the M.B.A. program and executive director of MSHCAD, said the offering appeals to many in the health care industry. “A lot of them are already clinicians,” he said. “They want to gain the management skills.”

West said the average age of a hospital CEO is 58, so a goal is to recruit younger students (minorities, too). Projections show that in 2010, one of every six working professionals will be in health care. “The industry is just booming,” he said.

The MSHCAD is accredited by both the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It has attracted students from Parkland, Presbyterian, Texas Health Resources, Arlington Memorial and other hospitals.

Kaye Bohls, a physical therapist with Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, said she was promoted to director for rehabilitative services because she was going through the UTA program. She graduated in December 2004.

Bohls had been challenged in a performance review to expand her capabilities. Then she learned that classes were offered in her hospital. “I got tuition reimbursement, and it was just down the hall from where I work,” she said.

When the start of the program at her hospital was delayed a month, Bohls drove to Fort Worth and began her studies there. She said she enjoyed having two groups of cohorts—the one from Fort Worth and the other in Dallas. Going through the program with the same group of students was a big advantage, she said.

“That really helped us as a group to go deeper into subjects and to have group support. We grew to know each other, and we’ve grown so close. It’s fabulous.”

She also had high praise for those teaching the classes.

“The professors were so good. They used specific examples from health care. I could use the information I learned in classes immediately. I’ve got these brochures, and if anyone gives me even the slightest hint that they are interested, I give them one. Mike West calls me his recruiter in Dallas.”

Yolanda Brooks with Texas Health Resources said employees from administrative assistants to vice presidents participate in UTA’s program.

“It’s so ideal for our employees who have much of the experience,” said Brooks, who guides THR workers through career development. “We have clinical people who are wanting to balance their expertise and need the business side. Some have the business experience and want to continue in the health care industry.”

And, she notes, the company offers $4,000 a year for an employee to go to school. That fully covers the cost of the MSHCAD program.

And keeps enrollment on the rise.


— Laura Hanna

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