Kent State’s hospitality program has seen a 300 percent increase in the past 15 years, according to Barbara Scheule, professor of Introduction to Hospitality Management.
The National Restaurant Association estimates nearly an eight percent increase in food service management jobs by 2020, as well as hotel and lodging positions.
Hospitality Management’s enrollment has seen an increase too, said Michelle Schultz, an academic advisor for Hospitality Management students.
“Our numbers have absolutely increased,” Schultz said.
Event planning positions are expected to increase as well, according to Swathi Ravichandran, an assistant professor of hospitality management.
Kent recently introduced a new event planning minor.
Additional sections of hospitality classes will be added because hospitality majors are not the only ones taking these courses.
Ravichandran said students ranging from interior design, fashion merchandising and communication studies all have event planning minors.
“We got a grant from the university to update all of our kitchen classes that take place in the Beall Hall dining facility,” Ravichandran said.
Hospitality Management lecturer Edward Hoegler, who teaches classes in the Beall Hall student kitchen, said he sees about half of his students come from hospitality and the other half come from various other programs. The kitchen facility is used even more now that more cuisine classes have been introduced.
Hoegler said there has been a lot of interest in these food preparation classes that there is a waiting list.
Peggy Whitmore, a junior visual communication design major, said she enjoyed her food studies class she took last semester so much that she decided to take another hospitality class.
“I tried to register for Baking and Pastry Fundamentals this semester, but they were all filled up,” Whitmore said.
“We also have two new faculty members joining our program come fall,” Ravichandran said.
Ravichandran said because the program is growing so rapidly, it will add two new faculty members next fall.
They will be needed for the expansion the school is undergoing in new cuisine and food courses, updating the kitchen, increased enrollment and adding additional sections of courses. Schultz said the program speaks for itself.
“It doesn’t surprise me that our numbers are increasing like this; We have a wonderful program,” Schultz said.
Contact Julia Sprowls at [email protected]