Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


David Weintraub

Committee Member

Jo Campbell

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


career skillset, curriculum design, higher education, hospitality, tourism


Colleges and universities have been burdened with the task of preparing students for a successful career in the hospitality industry. As the industry expectations of hospitality and tourism management degree graduates’ change, postsecondary education institutions need to respond to the employment demands of the industry. Also, the global expansion of the hospitality and tourism industry requires that institutions evaluate their degree programs to ensure that graduates possess the essential skillsets to thrive in a global economy.

The purpose of this research is to determine if postsecondary institutions are adequately preparing hospitality and tourism management graduates with the necessary skillsets needed for successful careers in the industry. The expected outcome provides suggestions for curriculum improvement for hospitality degree programs.

This study was based on research previously conducted on the skillset expectations of hospitality industry leaders. Using a cross-sectional survey method, a modified version of a survey used for industry leaders in 2014 will ask recent hospitality program graduates to rank course subjects in order of relevance. Over 100 graduates from hospitality degree programs at two universities were invited to complete an online survey. The data results from graduates were compared to the results offered by the industry leaders. The course subject rankings by both groups were the same for the three highest ranked courses, indicating that all stakeholders support the importance of internships, leadership courses, and effective preparation for industry employment. The results did demonstrate some differences, especially in financial course subjects and human resources and diversity topics. The findings support the continued need for hospitality curriculum developers to work with industry leaders to determine the skillsets desired and create course programs that balance the theoretical and vocational needs.