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In the discussion - Industry Education: The Merger Continues - by Rob Heiman Assistant Professor Hospitality Food Service Management at Kent State University, the author originally declares, “Integrating the process of an on-going catering and banquet function with that of selected behavioral academic objectives leads to an effective, practical course of instruction in catering and banquet management. Through an illustrated model, this article highlights such a merger while addressing a variety of related problems and concerns to the discipline of hospitality food service management education.”

The article stresses the importance of blending the theoretical; curriculum based learning process with that of a hands-on approach, in essence combining an in-reality working program, with academics, to develop a well rounded hospitality student.

“How many programs are enjoying the luxury of excessive demand for students from industry [?],” the author asks in proxy for, and to highlight the immense need for qualified personnel in the hospitality industry.

As the author describes it, “An ideal education program concerns itself with the integration of theory and simulation with hands-on experience to teach the cognitive as well as the technical skills required to achieve the pre-determined hospitality education objectives.”

In food service one way to achieve this integrated learning curve is to have the students prepare foods and then consume them. Heiman suggests this will quickly illustrate to students the rights and wrongs of food preparation. Another way is to have students integrating the academic program with feeding the university population. Your author offers more illustrations on similar principles.

Heiman takes special care in characterizing the banquet and catering portions of the food service industry, and he offers empirical data to support the descriptions. It is in these areas, banquet and catering, that Heiman says special attention is needed to produce qualified students to those fields. This is the real focus of the discussion, and it is in this venue that the remainder of the article is devoted.

“Based on the perception that quality education is aided by implementing project assignments through the course of study in food service education, a model description can be implemented for a course in Catering and Banquet Management and Operations. This project model first considers the prioritized objectives of education and industry and then illustrates the successful merging of resources for mutual benefits,” Heiman sketches.

The model referred to above is also the one aforementioned in the thesis statement at the beginning of the article. This model is divided into six major components; Heiman lists and details them. “The model has been tested through two semesters involving 29 students,” says Heiman. “Reaction by all participants has been extremely positive. Recent graduates of this type of program have received a sound theoretical framework and demonstrated their creative interpretation of this theory in practical application,” Heiman says in summation.