Auburn University’s Board of Trustees approved a motion two weeks ago to implement graduate programs in hospitality management and child life.
These programs are waiting for final approval from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and are expected to be implemented in the fall of 2020. They will include a Master’s of Science in child life and a Master’s of Science and doctorate in hospitality management.
Currently, if a student wants a graduate degree in hospitality management, they have to pursue a graduate degree in nutrition with a concentration in hotel and restaurant management.
Dr. Baker Ayoun, the hospitality graduate program coordinator for the Department of Hospitality Management, said that these graduate degrees were created to better reflect what these students were working towards and to make it easier for them to find jobs after graduation.
The Department of Hospitality Management has been working towards this transition for years. What started years ago as a set of courses soon became a concentration under nutrition and is now becoming its own program.
“We have been making changes to this program for years,” Ayoun said. “It makes sense for the next step to make it its own degree programs.”
The curriculum will focus on offering more refined courses that will be geared towards any student who wants to have a graduate degree in hospitality management.
Sign up for our newsletter
Get The Plainsman straight to your inbox.
Students will be expected to complete a three-hour internship by the time they graduate, giving them experience in hospitality management for jobs. There are currently 11 students in the Ph.D. program and two in the M.S. program.
The nutrition program is known for being competitive and, in the most recent published ranking, the Master’s of Science degree was ranked No. 15 and the Ph.D. program was ranked No. 6.
Once the graduate programs are implemented, Auburn will be the only school that offers graduate degrees in hospitality management.
“When we put these programs into place, we expect our rankings to go up,” Ayoun said.
Dr. Angela Wiley, the head of Human Development and Family Studies, said that in the next 5–10 years, the National Association for Child Life Professionals will require everyone who wants to be a child life specialist to have a graduate degree in child life. Auburn will be the only prestanding program in Alabama.
To obtain this degree, students will have to complete a total of 33 credit hours, a practicum of 100 hours, an internship of 600 hours and a capstone. The Department of Human Development and Family Studies works with companies around Auburn, such as the East Alabama Medical Center, to place students into practicums and internships.
“Through all of these requirements, students will be prepared to join the workforce with the experience needed to help children and their families,” Wiley said.
The program is expected to have 12–15 students in it when it is implemented. These students are expected to have an undergraduate degree in anything related to child life.
Do you like this story? The Plainsman doesn't accept money from tuition or student fees, and we don't charge a subscription fee. But you can donate to support The Plainsman.Support The Plainsman