Master of Healthcare Competency-Driven Curriculum

The UNCW MHA program has incorporated the National Center for Healthcare Leadership’s (NCHL) 3.0 – Competency Model ™ into the MHA curriculum. The NCHL 3.0 model was developed to provide the field with a comprehensive, validated competency model that was suitable as the foundation for a breadth of leadership assessment and development applications.

The MHA program was designed to prepare early to mid-level careerists to serve as effective managers and administrators within a wide range of healthcare organizations. The Program accomplishes this by providing transformative learning experiences and foundational knowledge and skills aligned with competencies from the NCHL 3.0 model. The model is a perfect fit for the Program as it was developed and validated utilizing interdisciplinary subject matter experts, and was refined in collaboration with industrial and educational psychologists.

MHA Program Competencies

The following core competencies serve as the foundation of the UNCW - Master of Healthcare Administration program:

Domain I: Knowledge of the Healthcare System

  • Human Resource Management
    Manages with an Understanding of Basic Employment Processes and Law: Demonstrates basic knowledge of employment management principles, policies, and law in relation to hiring, promotion, or dismissal; Learns and applies organization-specific human resources policies and procedures;  Demonstrates an understanding of union/labor principles and practices (e.g., contracting, negotiations, grievance process, mediation)
    Aligns Human Resource Functions with Strategy: Aligns the components of human resource functions; (recruitment and selection, job design and work systems, learning and development, reward and recognition, and succession planning) to organizational strategy
  • Information Technology Management
    Recognizes the Potential of Information Systems in Process and Patient Service Improvement: Maintains familiarity with current technology for applications such as patient tracking (e.g., registration, billing and records management, relationship management), financial automation and reporting, and reimbursement management; Is open to automation of manual processes
  • Strategic Orientation
    Conducts Environmental Scanning: Performs analyses that identify the competitive/ market, governmental and regulatory, public opinion, scientific, and technological forces that currently and will shape the organization; Identifies the strengths and challenges of the organization vis-à-vis the forces today and into the future; Identifies the required social and economic position of the organization in light of the environmental scan
    Aligns Organization to Address Long-term Environment: Understands the forces that are shaping health over the next 5 to 10 years (market, social, cultural, economic, and political); Aligns strategy, structure, and/or people with the long-term environment; Develops a long-term organizational strategy (including competitive, financial, structural, and people elements) to position the organization for success over the next 10 years 

Domain II: Communications and Interpersonal Effectiveness

  • Collaboration

    Builds Commitment to Collaborations: Promotes good working relationships regardless of personal likes or dislikes; Identifies and breaks down barriers to good working relationships across groups; Actively builds morale and cooperation within the team (e.g., by creating symbols of group identity, recognition activities and/or other actions to build pride and cohesiveness); Encourages or facilitates beneficial resolutions to conflict; Creates conditions for high-performing teams

  • Communication Skills 1 – Writing

    Prepares Effective Written Business Cases and Reports: Uses accurate and complete presentation of facts; Uses logical presentation of arguments pro and con; Develops well-reasoned recommendations; Effectively balances writing with graphical communications (e.g., charts, scorecards); Prepares concise executive summaries 

  • Communication Skills 2 – Speaking and Facilitating

    Presents Persuasively: Uses clear and understandable voice that is free of extraneous phrases (i.e., “uh” and “you know”); Uses effective audiovisual media (presentation software, exhibits, etc.); Stays on topic; Engages in non-defensive Q&A; Stays within time allotment; Changes approach as needed based on audience response

  • Interpersonal Understanding

    Actively Increases Diversity and Inclusion: Uses own insights and perceptions to create and support greater diversity within their organization; Uses understanding to shape future care scenarios to more inclusively serve different community and demographic groups; Sets and monitors progress in achieving diversity supportive goals


Domain III: Critical Thinking, Analysis, and Problem Solving

  • Analytical Thinking

    Recognizes Multiple Relationships: Identifies multiple causal links; identifies several potential causes of events, several consequences of actions, or multi-part chains of events (A leads to B leads to C leads to D); Analyzes relationships among several parts of a problem or situation (e.g., anticipates obstacles and thinks ahead about next steps, in detail with multiple steps).

    Develops Complex Plans or Analyses: Identifies multiple elements of a problem and breaks down each of those elements in detail, showing causal relationships between them; Peels back multiple layers of a problem; Uses several analytical techniques to identify potential solutions and weigh the value of each

  • Financial Skills
    Explains the Organization’s Financial Metrics and Reports: Uses financial metrics to drive and track the organization’s success; Explains income statement, balance sheet, cash flow; Explains indicators of financial health, especially profitability, and accounting entries through general ledger to revenue
    Manages and Assists the Budgeting Process: Develops budgets; Demonstrates expense and revenue management (unit or department); Manages budget variances, including revisions and corrective actions; Explains expense sources and management alternatives with implications; Understands sources of revenue including sensitivity analyses; Uses capital budgeting and asset management techniques
    Understands Impact of Payment Models: Assesses reimbursement and payment system alternatives; Explains connections between behaviors of providers and payers; Develops incentives that align priorities with the organization’s mission and goals; Considers impact of reimbursement and payment systems when assessing management alternatives
    Uses Financial and Needs Analyses to Inform Investment Decisions: Analyzes decisions using corporate financial management concepts (e.g., rate of return, net present value, and cash flow analyses); Analyzes trends in population, disease, and utilization data; Understands principles of insurance rating, actuarial risk, and shared risk
    Develops Long-term Financial Plans: Develops long-term plans for funding growth and development (e.g., new services, clinical programs, community outreach); Develops long-term capital spending for building renovation and expansion; Develops funding sources and their financial implications
  • Information Seeking
    Delves Deeper: Asks a series of probing questions to get at the root of a situation, a problem, or a potential opportunity below the surface issues presented; Calls on others who are not personally involved to get their perspective, background information, experience, etc.; Does not stop with the first answer; finds out why something happened; Seeks comprehensive information, including expecting complexity
    Conducts Research to Maintain Knowledge: Makes a systematic effort over a limited period of time to obtain needed data or feedback; Conducts in-depth investigation from unusual sources; Commissions others to conduct formal research (e.g., market, financial, competitive) through newspapers, magazines, computer search systems, or other resources regarding practices in health and other industries for the purpose of keeping current; Seeks expert perspective and knowledge
  • Innovation
    Recognizes Patterns Based on Life Experience: When looking at information, sees patterns, trends, or missing pieces/linkages; Notices when a current situation is similar or dissimilar to a past situation, and identifies the similarities and/or differences
    Clarifies Complex Ideas or Situations: Provides new perspective on challenges by making complex ideas or situations clearer, simpler, and/or more understandable (e.g., re-framing the problem, use of analogy); Assembles ideas, issues, and observations into a clear and useful explanation; Restates existing observations or knowledge in a simpler fashion; Translates intricate technical information into terms everyone can understand; “boils down” information
  • Process and Quality Improvement
    Evaluates Organization Structure and Design: Assesses the advantages and disadvantages of current and alternative organizing structures (e.g., functional, departmental, matrix, service line, etc.); Understands basic differences in provider structures (e.g., retail clinics, practice sites, teaching hospitals, community hospitals, sub-acute providers); Uses understanding of organization structure to design performance improvement strategies

Domain IV: Management and Leadership

  • Initiative

    Acts Over a Year Ahead: Scans for environmental inflection points to anticipate changes, future opportunities, and potential crises that others may not see; Anticipates and takes action to create an opportunity or avoid future crisis over a year ahead

  • Performance Measurement

    Monitors a "Scorecard" of Quantitative and Qualitative Measures: Tracks financial, customer, quality, and employee performance measures; Uses patient and constituent satisfaction scores, as well as demographic and epidemiological statistics to set organizational priorities, plans, and investments; Gathers both quantitative and qualitative information on customer perceptions, market position, and financial viability; Tracks high-incidence procedures and conditions; Establishes procedures based on evidence; Ensures medical professionals undergo quality reviews; Uses measurement systems to determine “early warning” as well as “rear window” indicators

    Uses Evidence-based Approaches to Support Community Wellness: Monitors community wellness; Measures organization success by tracking community wellness and performance against national criteria and priorities; Uses advanced warning measures to enable the movement of people, equipment, and resources; Anticipates community needs; Ensures timeliness, effectiveness, and efficiency of services; Advocates for treatment and other care decisions that are evidenced based and patient/customer centered

  • Self-Awareness

    Pursues Long-term Personal Development: Takes personal responsibility for analyzing future developmental needs, factoring in accurate self assessment, feedback from others, personal career goals, and direction; Proactively pursues multi-year personal development, willingness to pursue fundamental style and behavior changes as well as mastering new areas of expertise 


Domain V: Professionalism and Ethics

  • Professionalism and Social Responsibility

    Acts Openly and Honestly: Actions are consistent with organization’s expressed core values; Interacts with staff and other stakeholders in an open and truthful manner; Expresses their beliefs even when the message may not be welcome; Shares information, insights, or comments when it would be easier to refrain from doing so

    Promotes Organizational Integrity: Ensures that organization adheres to honesty and fair dealing with all constituencies, including employees and community stakeholders; Promotes the development of professional roles/values that are compatible with the improvement of health and wellness; Serves with a focus on the greater good; Strives to uphold trustworthiness

    Promotes Community Stewardship: Develops professional roles/values supporting the improvement of individual and population health; Commits to addressing the broader health and wellness needs of the total population, including adapting new and inclusive approaches that address diverse cultural attitudes about health; Ensures sound organizational stewardship and accountability for dealing with all stakeholders honestly and equitably


Career Development - Focused Curriculum

The Program curriculum is innovatively designed to focus on individual developmental needs within each “learner specific” career field. Program faculty realize that while each student is on the same path toward an MHA degree, their prior experiences and ultimate destination will vary. As a result, the curriculum is created to be both adaptive and personalized – leveraging concepts of connectivism, standardized-, and customized- learning paths.

Adaptive learning within the curriculum involves using technology-based educational tools that provide individual adaptive learning experiences for learners based on data gathered throughout the learning process. The Program’s design allows learners the ability to custom-tailor their learning experience so that it becomes more meaningful to their long-term career goals. This often involves engagement in “just-in-time” learning experiences where learners can further develop and apply program competencies.