Think Tank

Jun 14, 2021, 21:10

Think Tank: The Degree that Never Ends

Wednesday, 08 July 2015 03:00

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

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 03:00

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.

Think Tank: Changing the World, One Student at a Time

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 03:00

As their career paths become clear, students will inevitably emulate what they’ve experienced in our classrooms and kitchens. Thus, our responsibility is great. Which attitudes, aptitudes and beliefs do we want graduates to portray throughout their careers as a result of our actions?

By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC

As many schools head into the final stretch of an academic year, I thought that it might be an opportune time to reflect on the responsibility we share as a catalyst for positive change in the food industry.

Each student who walks across that commencement stage in 2015 and beyond could be a person who helps to make our industry that much better; a person who may very well define what it means to be a successful restaurateur, chef, research chef, pastry chef, teacher, author or advocate for food integrity in America.

As educators we have an obligation and a wonderful opportunity to set the stage for this to take place. Students will inevitably emulate what they experience in classrooms and kitchens as their career paths become clear. You can, and do, make a difference every day and should never lose sight of the power and responsibility that coexist.

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