WCU Online MHA Faculty Member Teaches Students How to Be a CEO

WCU MHA Faculty Member Dr. Jake Redden

When you’re the Chief Executive Officer of any company, but especially one that operates 24-7-365 like a hospital, it’s safe to say you don’t have a lot of free time.

Such is certainly the case for Dr. Jake Redden, the CEO of Madelia Health, a regional independent hospital in southern Minnesota, and yet the busy hospital administrator has for many years found the time to fit teaching a university-level course into his schedule.

Dr. Redden has taught at the University of Maryland and Rutgers University, and currently he’s a part of the Master of Health Administration faculty at West Coast University where he teaches the Entrepreneurship Opportunities in Healthcare course (HA560) online.

So, with so much of a commitment with his “day job,” why does he also choose to teach?

“The reason I like [teaching] the most is it keeps the tip of my spear sharp,” Dr. Redden said.

He noted that what keeps him sharp specifically is all the current and future thinking relative to his industry that he’s privy to from his students’ discussions and presentations, as well as the peer feedback and interactions he has with fellow faculty members such as Tarinder Khatkar, the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center.

Faculty-Student Learning Is a Two-Way Street

To be sure, that exchange is anything but one-way.

Dr. Redden brings his students a wealth of experience and knowledge that spans nearly two decades, beginning with his early days as a Medical Department Assistant Leader and Clinical Care Provider aboard a nuclear-powered U.S. Navy naval combat vessel and progressing on to senior-level hospital administrative positions overseeing areas including healthcare operations, strategic management, and medical staff management.

In addition to his practical experience, Dr. Redden has amassed an impressive academic “CV,” having earned master’s degrees in both health administration and public health as well as a Doctorate of Health Science.

It’s an extensive “hard drive” of information that the students have access to, but it’s his current position as a hospital CEO that Dr. Redden finds especially relevant to the class he’s currently teaching.

Entrepreneurship Skills Critical for Senior Healthcare Executives

Entrepreneurship to many means starting your own business, but as Dr. Redden pointed out, the concepts taught in the class, from building out financial and marketing plans to understanding how to package and present your idea, are so much more applicable beyond an end goal of starting your own business.

Dr. Redden explained that in his role as CEO, he frequently has division heads coming to him with proposals for new business opportunities, and their presentations are effectively the same as an investor presentation, complete with financial analyses demonstrating not just the potential value of the idea, but the value compared against alternatives.

And so, for the students in his class, who better to learn those concepts from than from someone who is already reviewing and assessing these kinds of proposals?

“When I give feedback [to students], I tell them, ‘When you’re done with school, I’m the person who’s going to be interviewing you, who’s going to be listening to your pitch,’ and I think that carries a little more weight with them,” Dr. Redden said.

An Environment of Communication & Collaboration

Dr. Redden taught his first class at WCU in January 2020 and when asked what differentiates his faculty experience at WCU versus his previous stops at Rutgers and Maryland, he didn’t hesitate.

“It’s the level of engagement,” he said.

Dr. Redden explained that whereas he was largely left alone at Maryland and Rutgers, at West Coast University, he has constant contact with Dr. Justin Ako, Dean of WCU’s Health Administration program. He added that he also has quarterly connections with peer faculty.

“I feel like [WCU] is a little more current with the regular feedback and interactions we have,” he said.

WCU’s Master of Health Administration Program Offers Flexibility

If a Master of Health Administration is something you’ve been considering, the MHA program at West Coast University has start dates throughout the year and is 100% online with flexible scheduling. You can choose between three program paces – Accelerated Plus (8 months), Accelerated (12 months), or Working Professional (20 months) – depending on the demands of your schedules.

As an MHA student at WCU, you will learn from faculty members like Dr. Redden who have extensive industry experience and who are passionate about preparing future healthcare managers and leaders.

Learn more about the online MHA degree program at WCU.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment. The views and opinions expressed are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or position of the school or of any instructor or student.