SACSCOC approves health care M.B.A. courses to be offered at medical school’s campus

ill Lightfoot is the dean of the College of Business & Mass Communication at Brenau.Following the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges approval for Brenau University to offer courses in Brenau’s Master of Business Administration program on the campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, Ga., the university plans to offer its first class in the program at the beginning of the spring term March 4.

Although the full program primarily targets medical and pharmacy personnel and students interested in a health care administration specialty, the Brenau program will be open to anyone interested in pursuing an M.B.A. Brenau officials currently are accepting applications for all classes.

Brenau currently offers M.B.A. programs on five campuses and online. Specialties include proficiency in health care, project management, accounting, international business, general management and insurance. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the online components of the Brenau M.B.A. among the top programs in the nation for faculty credentials and training, student services and technology and student engagement and accreditation.

Decatur, Ga.-based SACSCOC said in a letter to Brenau President Ed Schrader that the PCOM-Georgia expansion was consistent with the mission and strategic plan of the university and that all the pieces were in place in terms of faculty, facilities and other academic resources for the program to begin operations.

For several years Brenau has partnered with PCOM on a dual degree physician assistant program in which students receive undergraduate education at Brenau, the first year of medical training at PCOM’s main campus in Pennsylvania and clinical training in northeast Georgia health care facilities. The M.B.A. on the Suwannee campus is a “natural extension of the relationship,” Schrader said.

Brenau has a successful track record of partnering with health care providers on hospital campuses in two Georgia locations – near the main Brenau campus in Gainesville and in coastal Brunswick.

Brenau already has a campus near Suwannee in Gwinnett County, the North Atlanta/Norcross campus, which offers both undergraduate and graduate studies. In fact, Brenau’s first two terminal degree programs, a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design and a Doctor of Nursing Practice, both are based on the Norcross campus. However, the Suwannee-based course offerings will create additional convenience for those interested in pursuing an M.B.A., said Bill Lightfoot, the dean of the College of Business & Mass Communication at Brenau.

Both PCOM and Brenau, said Lightfoot, see the value in equipping health care professionals with broader business and management skills for managing their own enterprises as well as contributing to the broader goal of helping drive down health care costs through better management. “Many doctors and pharmacists find themselves in business management roles in the careers,” he said, “but their professional training does not provide them with the skills they need to succeed.”

For others, he added, the courses at PCOM-GA “are the common foundation required for all professional administrators whether they’re involved in health care, accounting, international business, or insurance – or managing a project to build a NASA space vehicle.”

The program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, a specialized accreditation association for business education supporting, celebrating, and rewarding teaching excellence.

For additional information, contact Dean of Graduate Admissions Christina Cochran White at 770-718-5320 or cwhite@brenau.edu or Terrie D. Thamer, graduate department chair, College of Business & Mass Communication, 770-538-4742, or tthamer@brenau.edu.

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