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Don Behrend

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Nutrition, Food Science, and Hospitality

First Advisor

Georgia W. Crews


The purpose of this research was to determine the extent to which the South Dakota State University Hotel and Foodservice Management program enables learners to meet goals, objectives, and student outcomes that are in the departmental Institutional Program Review and Assessment Plan, and if these expectations are met, the extent to which they are valuable tools for success in the hospitality industry. A graduate survey instrument was developed to include questions pertaining to program goals, objectives, desired student outcomes, and competencies expressed as important by employers in the hospitality industry. Forty-two of the 69 (60.9%) alumni surveys were returned from graduates from the classes of 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. The responses to the usable surveys were recorded and analyzed utilizing the SPSS statistical system. The graduates were asked to respond to groups of questions representing four components of the HFM/HRIM program at SDSU. The four components were coursework, practicum, preparedness for the industry (competencies), and faculty expertise. The graduates were asked to rate the components on a 1-4 point Likert-type scale with 4 being the most favorable response. Mean responses of the graduates to all four components were favorable; coursework (3.05), practicum (2.96), competencies (2.87), and faculty expertise (2.81). The specific areas from the four general categories where the graduates felt the program needs improvement were "providing links to the industry for employment opportunities" (2.36) and "exposure to technology currently being used in the industry" (2.26). Alumni were asked to respond the same way to rating the program for preparing them to enter five different segments of the hospitality industry at a management trainee level. The mean results were mixed; food industry (3.19), lodging industry (2.37), bar and beverage industry (2.04), meeting and convention industry (2.22), and tourism industry (2.17). The graduates were also asked to answer questions requiring written responses by listing positive attributes of the program and to express where they felt the program could be improved. Responses indicate the strongest components of the program are the instructors and the foodservice portion of the program. The respondents indicate that improvements need to be made in strengthening the curriculum in the hotel segment of the program, employing instructors with industry experience, and developing links to the industry. Beyond assessment of the program, data will be used for student recruitment and retention. Over 90% of the respondents (38 out of 42) either were employed in the industry (35), or were enrolled in a graduate degree program (3) within three months of graduating from the program. The responses indicate that the typical salary for the graduates in the industry is $20,000- $40,000. The data also indicate the diverse value of the degree in HFM/HRJM in that graduates hold positions with 21 different job titles. Conducting the study also has benefited the program's links to the industry. Many positive contacts were made with the graduates in the industry by conducting the study. The findings indicate the graduates rate the HFM/HRJM program at SDSU favorably (overall mean 2.95). The stakeholders in the program must strive to improve the hotel curriculum, exposure to technology, and links to the industry.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

South Dakota State University. Dept. of Nutrition, Food Science and Hospitality -- Evaluation
Hotel management -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- South Dakota -- Brookings -- Evaluation
Food service management -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- South Dakota -- Brookings -- Evaluation




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