Date of Award
Dissertation - NSU Access Only
Doctor of Education
Center for the Advancement of Education
The Florida International University School of Hospitality Management program has been in existence since 1973. It is the only university program rated by Florida's Board of Regents as a "Distinguished Program" and is consistently ranked by educational and industry leaders as one or the top four programs of its kind in the United States. The undergraduate program consists of fifty-five courses on a 3000-4000 level, and they are taught by a distinguished faculty or thirty-five professors, plus adjuncts and visiting lecturers from the industry. In 1990 the school moved into its own $10 million state-of-the-art facility on the university's North Campus. Since its inception the administration has made it a matter of policy that the undergraduate curriculum will be reviewed internally every five years. The 1988 review was moved back one year to accommodate the relocation of the program to the new building, and to coincide with the self study required in the reaccreditation process of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Thus this study occurred over an eighteen-month period, culminating in June, 1990. The purpose of the study was clearly established by Jean Anthony G. Marshall and Associate Dean Rocco M. Angelo. Specifically, it was intended to evaluate staff, discipline, and course efficacy on a performance/perception basis. A number of congruent factors as follows added to the significance of this type of evaluation: The university has established heightened requirements on degree programs for improved performance. Research and self-analysis were deemed central to this objective. The educational arm of the hospitality industry is seeking o professionalize itself by requiring program accreditation through its Council of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Editors (CHRIE) working with the Council on Post-Secondary Education (COPA). An anticipated move to accept freshmen and sophomore degree candidates require an in-depth program review. The study sough to develop answers to, or directions for, a set of both philosophic and pragmatic questions relating to a professional school education: a) What is the appropriate balance between general/liberal education courses and the specific disciplines requirements as perceived by industry leadership? b) How do our graduates perform in the industry on the basis of the curriculum as it now exists? W c) What is the real opinion of industry leaders of the school's product? d) How, precisely, should the curriculum "look"? Utilizing the resources of the school and faculty, stratified random sample of the baccalaureate population was selected; a questionnaire was constructed by faculty and university research experts, and a mailing was sent to 600 graduates. Concurrently, the deans and faculty compiled a list of industry leaders to be personally interviewed approximately 200 individuals were involved in the process and results were collected over a three-month period. Analysis of the results indicated a very high level of success and satisfaction by program graduates and by industry leaders who have employed the graduates. Graduates remain in the industry in significant numbers, are mobile within the industry, receive regular pronotions and are, overall, satisfied with the knowledge they gained in the school and the relevancy of this information to the industry. Both graduates and industry leaders were open and articulate regarding perceived needs, emphasizing improvements in the areas of marketing, additional accounting material, and applied leadership. To synthesize the results of the, study, a "model'' curriculum was proposed to emphasize changes in human resource-type courses. It was recommended that an ad hoc curriculum revision committee be appointed within the School of Hospitality Management charged with presenting curriculum change recommendations to the full faculty by Fall 1991. This has been accomplished, and the work is in process. Two courses that were determined to be superfluous by the study are in the process of being phased out, and a new seniors honors course in career development tracking is under study. In the final analysis, this study has met every objective it was assigned and has provided the meaningful data that was sought. The result will be manifested in a modern, more relevant, and humanistic hospitality program curriculum.