NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/cK7eFH)
(Ashland, Ore.) — Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission approved a new bachelor’s degree program on Thursday that will prepare students at Southern Oregon University for a variety of careers in health care – the region’s largest and fastest-growing job sector.
SOU’s new Healthcare Administration Program will be offered to students beginning in winter term of the coming academic year. Program coordinator Craig Switzler said he expects an initial cohort of about 10 students, and for the program to eventually grow to between 30 and 50 students.
“I’ve already been approached by about a half-dozen students,” he said.
The program will prepare students for management, rather than patient-care positions, in the health care industry. The Oregon Employment Department projects that over the next five years, there will be nearly 1,500 openings in southern Oregon for health care management positions that require bachelor’s or advanced degrees.
The SOU program will be available to incoming freshmen, current undergraduates who haven’t settled on a major and working professionals looking for additional skillsets.
Those who enter the program may focus on any of three health care-related concentrations. A personnel management track will emphasize human resources in the health care industry; a community health concentration will explore how group or community health care is provided, maintained and improved; and a data analytics path will prepare students to analyze and interpret data for improving health care systems.
The overall program will provide students a foundation in health care, including knowledge of the industry’s terminology, ethics and safety, data management standards and communication skills.
The interdisciplinary program will include courses from SOU’s Health and Physical Education, Business, Communications, Psychology, Sociology and Biology departments. A new philosophy course will be part of the curriculum, and each student will also complete a capstone project and practicum class prior to graduation.
“The classes are already here on campus,” said Switzler, who developed a proposal for the program after he was hired at SOU three years ago as an athletic trainer.
The proposal has gained traction over the past year, and has been endorsed by various SOU committees, the university’s Board of Trustees and the state universities’ Provosts Council. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission approved the program unanimously on Thursday.
There is a handful of similar undergraduate and graduate programs in health care administration or management at other public and private universities in Oregon.
More information about the SOU program is available on its website, at sou.edu/hca.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.