JACKSON, Tenn. – Dec. 20, 2010– Union University’s Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice has some new suggestions for its work and future role in the community, thanks to some business students at Union University Germantown.
As part of the capstone course in the Master of Business Administration degree program at UU Germantown, Steve Arendall had his students develop a strategic plan for the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice, housed in Providence Hall on the Jackson campus.
The project was just one in a series of similar class projects undertaken by Arendall and Kevin Westbrook, associate professor of marketing at UU Germantown, in recent months. Various MBA classes have also developed strategic plan for other local non-profit organizations, such as the Friends of the Pink Palace in Memphis, the Millington Civic Center, United Cerebral Palsy of Memphis and others.
“If we are Christ-centered, if we are excellence-driven and people-focused, these are projects that have value,” Arendall said. “It gives our students experience in a real-world setting.”
“For me it’s more real life experience, and that’s a great value,” said Candace Tookes, a student in the class.
On Dec. 6, the 14 students in the class presented their proposal to Tim Smith, dean of Union’s School of Nursing and executive director of the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice, as well as Lou Oberndorf, founder and former chief executive officer of Medical Education Technologies Inc., where he now serves as chairman of the board. METI has provided the human patient simulators in use at the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice.
According to its purpose statement, the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice is intended to “demonstrate the Christian worldview of humanity in enhancing the skills and knowledge of students and existing health care practitioners. The Center seeks to demonstrate the Christian worldview of humanity through simulation education, continuing education, information services to the community and excellence in clinical research.”
“I think the big take away from it was that they did an extensive examination of the various types of disciplines that may be able to be incorporated into the center,” Smith said, referencing such groups as paramedics, respiratory therapists and others – not just nurses or pharmacists.“They gave us some things to think about.” Arendall said in addition to the value to the students, projects such as these provide a worthwhile service to local organizations -- often constrained by budget issues -- that need the help.
“These tend to be significant projects,” Arendall said. “This is about making strategy for the organization, making suggestions for top management. It’s not nickel and dime stuff.”
One things students learn well through a project like this, Arendall said, is how to connect the external environment to what’s possible for an organization to do, and how the organization fits into the overall competitive arena.
“I think they develop a real, hands-on appreciation for how all the pieces of an organization fit together,” he said. “How marketing works with engineering, and how those both work with finance and accounting. How it all works.”
This project was the first time for one of Arendall’s classes to work with a Union organization.
“But we’re treating it just like any other,” he said. “It’s a not-for-profit entity that is looking for some input.”