Advising Practice in the MHA Programs
The traditional and Executive Master of Health Administration (MHA) programs offer various types of advising support to current students. The overall goal of this advising is to assist students in defining and reaching their academic and professional goals during their course of study and to provide perspectives that complement the learning achieved through the curriculum. We have grouped these efforts into three broad categories: academic advising, career development, and leadership & strategic thinking. In addition to these efforts, student progress is monitored by the Student Progress Committee and tracked in Advising Records.
Each incoming student is assigned to a faculty advisor, who provides guidance at regular intervals throughout the student's two years in the program. The minimum frequency of meetings is once per quarter. The advisor and student establish advising objectives, decide on advising topics, and schedule meetings. Advising topics may include course selection, internship applications, independent study considerations, and career development choices.
Academic advising is a two-way relationship between the advisor and the student, and both people have responsibilities that ensure successful outcomes. Each advisor is responsible for understanding the structure and content of the total MHA curriculum including course requirements, course sequencing, potential course substitutions, and potential areas of concentration (i.e., graduate certificate and concurrent degree options). Students are responsible for communicating their interests and concerns to their advisor and proactively engaging in the process of scheduling meetings and following up on action items.
Faculty advisors each have special areas of expertise within health administration and management; therefore one faculty advisor may refer a student to another one for additional advice on a particular topic or decision.
Career Development Counselor
The traditional and Executive MHA programs each have a dedicated Career Development Counselor who provides advising on matters such as the mentor program, internships, the Capstone project, skill development, networking, and fellowship applications. Generally this guidance is offered in the form of information sessions for groups, skill-building workshops, and individual advising sessions. Moreover, these advisors provide information on logistical matters such as requesting course waivers, registering for courses outside of the program, adding and dropping courses, understanding policies and procedures, and ensuring timely degree completion.
Beyond attending scheduled events, current students can make an appointment with their respective Career Development Counselor to seek additional input and advice.
The MHA Mentor Program
The MHA Mentor Program provides a clear pathway for current students to bridge the theoretical aspects of their learning with the applied, practical world of health care management. Entering students select a mentor from interested and supportive members of the administrative health care or business community. Mentors offer guidance during the students' academic experience.
The personal and professional relationships that grow out of this program have the potential to become central to the MHA student experience and increase the mentor's interaction with the MHA Program.
Leadership & Strategic Thinking
Through a close collaboration with the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking (CLST) within the UW's Foster School of Business, the MHA first-year curriculum offers an integrated series of leadership development activities designed to train students to be high performance leaders who make an impact on the healthcare management field. These activities include one-on-one coaching and group advising conducted by CLST trainers as well as competency assessments conducted periodically.
Student Progress Committee
The Student Progress Committee is designed to monitor individual student progress on a quarterly basis and ensures adequate transfer of relevant information among instructors and the MHA Program Director. This committee does not provide direct advising to students, but its efforts complement the academic advising, career development, and leadership & strategic thinking activities that involve direct interaction with students. Since the committee meeting discussions rely on first-hand knowledge of student performance in the instructional context, instructors teaching in the current academic year are considered de facto members of the committee. The Program Director and Career Development Counselors are permanent members. Issues requiring follow up are communicated to the individual student's faculty advisor or the relevant Career Development Counselor for further communication.
Any event that is deemed relevant to a student's academic progress or status is noted and/or filed in the student's electronic record. Concise summaries are entered into the student's entry in the departmental database, whereas related email files and other documentation are placed in the student's folder in the program's network drive. Information in these records is used as the basis of further advising when necessary and is subject to the University of Washington General Records Retention Schedule. The majority of student records are purged six years after a student's last activity in the program (i.e., normally graduation).