“The Gold Medal Classroom” launches a new editorial department and forum for deans and directors in 2014: a leadership think tank.
By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC
These are challenging times for culinary-arts programs. Administrators are faced with demands for measureable outcomes from various accrediting agencies, the cost of equipping and operating viable programs is increasing exponentially, and the price of education for students has increased far greater than other indexes (one leading culinary school reported that its yearly tuition alone increased from $8,490 in 1990 to $24,550 in 2010--or 290%) while financial aid and personal loans have become more difficult to obtain.
The ever-increasing number of culinary programs across the country has skewed conversions for admissions departments and increased their cost of identifying candidates (qualified or unqualified), and faculty are faced with teaching a student body that is oftentimes ill prepared for the rigors of a career in food. On the bright side, the restaurant industry in America is strong and growing and demand for qualified graduates remains high.
How do we sift through these challenges, face them head on, differentiate between cause and effect and prepare programs and students for a successful future? This is the most important task that faces program deans and directors. Too often we find ourselves dealing with the operational challenge of today and losing sight of the issues that will keep our programs viable and our students employable.