21-and-over classes let students drink and gamble


Jenna Watson, senior photojournalism major, inspects her wine for oxidation for the Wineries of Northeast Ohio class at Silver Run Vineyard and Winery in Norton, Ohio during fall semester 2015.

Erin Zaranec

There are many reasons to look forward to turning 21: your first legal drink, a horizontal driver’s license and gambling. A bonus perk? The ability to register for three Kent State courses for students 21 years of age and older.

If you’re looking for a way to embrace your adult status for an entire semester, Kent State offers three courses that have a distinguished prerequisite: You must be 21 to register.

Wines of Northeast Ohio

Offered since 1991, Wines of Northeast Ohio is taught as a special topics class in the geography sequence. According to data from Kent State’s Institutional Research Department, more than 1,700 students have enrolled in the course since its creation.

Originally held as a lecture class called Geography of Wine, the course has since developed into four field experience classes (Wines of Northeast Ohio) with Geography of Wine still being offered as a lecture option available to students looking for a smaller course fee.

The two credit hour class is offered twice per semester. Students meet three times a semester, leaving campus on a charter bus at 8:00 a.m. and spending their Fridays or Saturdays visiting wineries, talking to vineyard owners and sampling wine. Wine sampling, transportation and meals are included in the $285 course fee.

Notable wineries visited include Ferrante Winery, Wolf Creek Winery and Sarah’s Vineyards.

“It was my favorite class that I took as an undergrad,” Samantha Lingenfelter, graduate public health major, said. “It was really fun and interactive. What’s really awesome is that you get a chance to see people who are really passionate about what they do. So, even if you think you are just taking the class for fun and aren’t really interested, their passion makes you passionate about it as well.”

Wine and Food Pairing

Developed in 2006, Wine and Food Pairing is taught as a special topics course in the College of Arts and Sciences. According to data from Kent State’s Institutional Research Department, 205 students have enrolled in the course.

The two-credit hour class has satisfactory grading and mandatory attendance for four Friday evening classes, two of which involve travel. A $365 course free includes dinners each evening, two days of travel, wine and cheese and winery tours.

Enologist Anthony Carlucci, who has been with the university since 1998, teaches both wine tasting courses. A college-trained vintner, Carlucci has 20 years of experience in the field, including work in California, New Jersey and Ohio.

“(The wine tasting courses) offer skills that students will have and are using after they graduate. For dating, for careers, sales, whatever they are in, they are certainly going to be making food and presenting wine with their dinners,” Carlucci said. “The classes teach them what to do with a glass of wine, everything from sight, smell and taste.”

Casino Management and Gaming Operations

Professor Robin Heiman developed the Casino Management and Gaming Operations class in 2007, two years prior to Issue 3 being passed in Ohio. After Issue 3 was passed, the course was introduced in 2009 as a general elective and is now classified as an experiential learning course. According to data from Kent State’s Institutional Research Department, 96 students have completed the course.

A four-day trip to Vegas worth three college credits? For some, it may seem too good to be true.

“We have seven or eight behind-the-scenes trips to casinos that we visit. We see everything from food and beverage operations, general casino management, sports bookings, security rooms … it really is amazing. Even I learn something new every year,” Heiman said.

With Kent State being home to Ohio’s only accredited four-year hospitality management program accredited by Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration, Heiman said he believes this class gives Kent State students an advantage in a competitive job market.

“I can’t verify this, but professionals in the casinos in Vegas tell us time and time again that we are the only university in the nation that reaches out to them in this way and gives our students this behind-the-scenes access. It’s incredible,” Heiman said.

Senior hospitality management major Francesca Hardoby participated in the class during Spring 2015 and will be serving as the teaching assistant for the course this upcoming semester.

“This course allowed me to learn skills needed in the professional world,” Hardoby said. “Not only did I learn about the industry that I hope to work in, but we also learned how to behave in a professional setting.”

Interested in spending some time in Sin City? You’ll have to wait until Spring 2017. Next semester’s trip is already completely filled.

Contact Erin Zaranec at [email protected].