• A Graduate Degree Program Remodel for Academic Success, Differentiation and Access

      Valadares, Kevin; Reynolds, Erin; Nimkar, Swateja; Ward, Zach; Diekemper, Karla; Weagley, JD
      Problem/Issue and Context: The Master of Health Administration at USI was initiated in 2001 as a 39 credit-hour hybrid leadership program. The intended student base is adults working in healthcare. All facets of the program, including its curriculum, delivery method, admission standards and goals, remained largely unchanged until 2019. While a steady stream of students graduated, the program lacked innovation and breath. A program remodel was needed. Grounding: Transformation to an accelerated format is a rapidly growing change in graduate education. Literature shows that online accelerated programs are associated with high student satisfaction and retention rates (Gazza & Matthias 2016). Additionally, instructional design and interactive teaching tools play a critical role in the success of accelerated graduate courses (Gardner et al., 2019). Additionally, project-based learning increases student’s interests in a subject by creating connections to authentic, meaningful and real-world learning, and ensures deeper learning outcomes (Lathram, Lenz & Ark, 2016). Project-based learning pedagogical methods are growing in their use throughout education Helle, Tynjala & Oikinuoua (2006). Project-based learning, as defined by Mills & Treagust (2003), involve projects that focus on application and integration of previous knowledge within the learning environment. Additionally, Mills & Treagust state that project-based learning focuses on several key concepts: the application of knowledge [gained in the course], projects that align with professional reality, and are usually “self-directed” (p. 8-9). Approach/Methods: Three overall methods were incorporated to remodel the MHA program: (a) use of Quality Matters (QM) framework to revise all online courses, (b) addition of project-based learning thread to all courses, and (c) creation of a differentiation strategy to allow additional concentrations and certificates. All MHA courses will be revised and restructured into 7-week online courses through the USI Online Course Development Program using the QM framework. This moved the program to an online- accelerated format with multiple entry points. Prior to the remodel, the program required an exiting Capstone project course which has now been replaced with an emphasis on project-based learning as a curricular thread through all courses. This allowed the program to be converted to a 36 credit hour option. A differentiation strategy was initiated allowing a new Post-Acute Care concentration to be developed along with two adjacent post-baccalaureate certificate programs. The latter allows non- degree seeking students exposure to the facets of the MHA program. The methodology for program evaluation is currently evolving. Metrics used in the outcomes analysis of the remodeled program will include enrollment, retention, graduation, salaries, and job placement rates. Discussion/Lessons Learned: The remodeled program was partially launched in August 2020 with full implementation in August 2021. The QM framework allows for an organized structure and consistent expectations in all MHA courses which enhances student success. The project-based learning component of each course allows for real-world analysis related to the content. The differentiation strategy increases access to the program though new channels – a Post-Acute Care concentration and two new certificate learning opportunities. From an outcomes perspective, we immediately experienced an enrollment increase once the redesigned program was launched. Additionally, we will track job placement, alumni and employer satisfaction and salaries of our graduates for a more comprehensive outcomes analysis of the program as it matures. References Gardner, J., Barclay, M., Kong, Y., & LeVally, C. (2019). Designing an accelerated graduate evaluation course using the first principles of instruction and interactive media. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 48(4), 493-517. DOI: 10.1177/0047239519893049 Gazza, E. A., & Matthias, A. (2016). Using student satisfaction data to evaluate a new online accelerated nursing education program. Evaluation and Program Planning, 58, 171-175. DOI: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2016.06.008 Helle, L., Tynjala, Paivi, & Olkinura, E. (2006). Project-Based Learning in Post-Secondary Education – Theory, Practice and Rubber Sling Shots. Higher Education. 51, 287-314. Lathram, B., Lenz, B., & Ark, T.V. (2016) Preparing students for a project-based world. Getting Smart/Buck Institute for Education. Mills, J.E, & Treagust, D.F. (2003). Engineering education—is problem-based or project-based learning the answer? Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 3(2), 2-16
    • Shaping a collaborative model of food services and public health: A multipronged approach using interprofessional education

      Nimkar, Swateja; Ramos, Elizabeth; Borowiecki, Chris; Nimkar, Swateja; Ramos, Elizabeth; Borowiecki, Chris
      Topic: The purpose of this interprofessional education (IPE) project was to introduce and encourage collaborative learning across the two professions of public health and food service management using community expertise. The intended learning outcomes for students were improved communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution skills. Additionally, students were also expected to identify and negotiate specific roles and responsibilities while working with members of another profession. Context: The project was conceptualized by two faculty from Food and Nutrition, and Health Services programs at the University of Southern Indiana (USI). Undergraduate students and faculty from Quantity Food Production and Purchasing and Public Health courses collaborated with the Vanderburgh County Health Department (VCHD) to ensure best food safety and sanitation practice in a real world environment. Approach: The faculty partnered with VCHD to provide students with the training and resources related to food safety and public health issues in the area of commercial and quantity food production. Quantity food students were ServSafe certified and public health students study food safety topics for this project while engaging in five IPE activities spread out during one academic semester at the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP). Following the initial meetings and education sessions, students engaged in a final project, where public health students served as food safety inspectors as quantity foods students prepared elaborate cultural meals offered to members from the campus community. Finally, students conducted a debate on food safety issues as a culminating experience for the IPE project. Reflection and Discussion: Through this inter-professional collaboration, public health students learned the various aspects of reducing risk for foodborne illnesses and quantity foods production students experienced using Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plans to maintain food safety while preparing cultural meals. Both groups utilized an audit system that was discussed in advance by them to identify, analyze, and minimize hazards associated with foodborne illnesses. This project was conducted with direct supervision from faculty teaching the two classes. Thus, faculty and students are using IPE as an innovative approach to develop critical work skills among the future generations of food service and public health workers. References: Brown, A. (2019). Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage. National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. (2017). ServSafe Coursebook (7th ed.). Chicago, IL: National Restaurant Association. Riegelman, R., & Kirkwood, B. (2014). Public Health 101: Healthy People-Healthy Populations (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.