Think Tank

Mar 25, 2017, 18:32

Think Tank: The Degree that Never Ends

What can the graduate do for the school? Says Chef Sorgule, the proper question should be, What can the school do for the graduate?

By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC

Considering the ongoing questions about the value of a degree and the ever-changing landscape of the food business, I am constantly giving thought to how administrators of culinary programs can increase the perceived and real value of an education in food.

Everyone is certainly aware of the pressure pertaining to value being passed on to institutions from accrediting bodies, especially those preparing students for technical trades. The answer moving forward might very well be in shifting how we look at a degree.

For far too long, earning a college education was a two- or four-year process that students went through in pursuit of a degree. In other words, students passed through the college experience, incurring significant debt, with closure coming on graduation day.

The connections that continue to exist between the college and the graduate are limited to alumni newsletters, reunions and gift requests from the Institutional Advancement Office. We might invite an occasional graduate back to speak to a class or provide a demonstration, but, for the most part, the theme is: “What can the graduate do for the school, rather than what can the school do for the graduate.”

Think Tank: It’s All about People

Graduates will not remember many specifics of their educations, and will even realize that so much they thought would be important to their life paths isn’t. But they will remember those who influenced their learning in meaningful ways.

By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC

Another academic year has come and gone. After students walk across the stage, every administrator, faculty member, student and parent has an opportunity to reflect on the two or four years that went into making graduation possible.

Deans and directors are beginning to plan time into their summer schedules for review of curriculum, some overdue maintenance on kitchen facilities, completing outcome assessment materials from the year coming to a close, and justifying budgets nearing the end of a fiscal year.

Faculty are putting course materials to bed and cleaning offices as they head into some well-earned time off. Students are breathing a sigh of relief combined with that uneasy feeling as they enter the workforce, and parents are still glowing with pride—knowing that their son or daughter has just completed another phase in his or her life.