April 6, 2011

Hotel Faculty Reverse Decision: Restaurant Class Still Required

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After heated debate and a student protest, the faculty of the Hotel School voted Monday to reverse their previous decision to remove Hotel Administration 3305: Restaurant Management from the required core curriculum.

Originally, faculty said they supported the decision to restructure HADM 3305 as an elective in response to student feedback requesting a more flexible curriculum. Further discussion at a Monday meeting, however, resulted in the overturning of that decision.

Opponents of the original decision said they were pleased with the reversal and stressed that the class contains management lessons valuable to every student in the Hotel School.

“This may be my only chance to learn fundamental restaurant operations and management skills. Basic restaurant management principles are essential to hotel operations and the entire hospitality industry that all students in the Hotel School could benefit from,” Graham Webster ’12 said.

Additionally, opponents of the original decision were relieved that the implementation of the proposed change would not occur mid-semester. Some students said they opposed the original decision mainly because it would disadvantage the students who, under the impression that it was required, completed the course prior to the faculty’s decision to cut it from the core curriculum.

Webster expressed concern that the proposed change would have made the course count as an elective credit for all students, even those who were currently in the middle of taking it.

“If it would have been an elective and not required, I would have most likely taken a class that was more applicable to my interestsests,” Webster said. “I am interested in hotel and real estate development and there were other classes available that would make better use of four credits.”

Frustrated by the restrictions HADM 3305 places on course selection for hotel students, proponents of the faculty’s original decision expressed their desire for the same flexible curriculum that the faculty based their first decision upon.

“I don’t plan on pursuing a career in restaurant or hotel management, and I would have really liked to be able to take classes that more closely align to my career goals,” Peter Brogan ’13 said.

Other students viewed the curriculum restriction as a product of the University’s lack of confidence in its ability to choose their own courses.

“If students cannot be looked upon to make the best decision for themselves, then the University has no business sending such unprepared individuals into the real world,” Gabriel Malitzky ’12 said. “It is downright sadistic for a group of students to be campaigning against free choice for other human beings.”

Michael Johnson, dean of the School of Hotel Administration apologized for any negative effects caused by the overturned decision, but he reiterated that decisions dealing with the curriculum are for the faculty, not the dean, to make.

“I understand the negative impact that this is having on so many students and have apologized to them on the school’s behalf. But this is not a dean’s decision. The faculty owns the curriculum and this is a faculty decision. I would encourage our students to discuss the issue directly with the faculty and let them know their concerns,” Johnson stated in an email.

Proponents of the exclusion of HADM 3305 from the core curriculum also cite the rigor and timing of the course as a reason for their disapproval of its status as a core class.

“Most hotelies consider HADM 3305 to be a very time consuming and difficult course,” Brogan said. “The other thing that upsets a lot of hotelies is that this is a junior year core course, but by junior year many hotelies know whether or not they want to go into restaurant management.”

However, according to Johnson, the Food and Beverage sub-area, and program of study in the school, will  reevaluate the content of HADM 3305 in an effort to make the course valuable to more than the small percentage of hotel students considering a career in the restaurant industry.

“As the faculty reconsidered the course’s positioning within the core curriculum, they were assured by members of the [Food and Beverage] sub-area that significant design changes, that would add value to our students’ educational experience, would be made,” Johnson stated in an email to undergraduates in the Hotel School.

Still, some students question the validity of the faculty’s decision due to the leak of information regarding the Monday meeting, which was supposed to be held in private.

“The faculty members were warned several times to keep the re-vote confidential, but one or a few of them violated that trust and tipped off their supporters about the time and date. It amazes me that the vote is considered legitimate even after a faculty member violated that confidentiality,” Omer Ben-Zur ’12 said.

The faculty also voted on Monday to reduce the length of Hotel Administration 2275: Introduction to Information Systems Management.

“The faculty decided to uphold the earlier decision to reduce HA 2275 to a seven-week, two-credit course,” Johnson said. “The faculty further recommended that the changes regarding HA 2275 be implemented immediately for all continuing students.”

Original Author: Kayla DeLeon