University of Wisconsin - Stout

Purpose of the Review

The review was conducted to assess the quality of the B. S. in Food Systems and Technology degree Program as part of the ongoing seven-year review Cycle of every UW-Stout program.

B.S. Food Systems and Technology
Program Director
Dr. Carolyn Barnhart
PRC Consultants
Charles Baird and Nancy Schofield
Date of Review
February 20, 2004
Committee Findings
The committee recommends continuation of this program through the next scheduled review in 2010.


UW-Stout's B. S. in Food Systems and Technology trains students to attain management and professional level positions in the various food-related businesses and industries. The program has four concentrations:

  1. Food Systems Management
  2. Food Science
  3. Food Merchandising and Distribution
  4. Food Communication.

In June 2004 a fifth concentration will be added – Food Packaging.

Process Followed for the Current Review:

In the Spring of 2003, the PRC chair met with the program director to discuss the review process. The PRC consultants also met with the program director to review the procedures and offer assistance. Data regarding several aspects of the program were collected from students, key instructors within and outside the department, and program committee members. The data were analyzed and returned to the program director and PRC members. The program director then completed the self-study report, presented the report to the PRC and responded to questions. The
PRC discussed the program director's report and after feedback from members of the committee, the consultants developed this report. The program director was allowed to provide input on a draft of this report prior to its submission to the PRC.

Program Review - 1997 Recommendations

Program director's response in italics

Recommendations for the Program Director


The program director, along with key instructors in Food Science, should continue to pursue accreditation for the Foods Science Concentration from the Institute for Food Technologists (IFT). Much of the preliminary work for acquiring this accreditation has already been done, but whatever additional information is required by the IFT, particularly information about the proposed course in Food Engineering, should be provided.

Three steps are in process: the food processing laboratories continue to be updated, four graduate student research projects/papers have been completed, and the search for two PhD’s in food science/engineering has begun. The application for IFT accreditation will be made in the Fall 2004.

The program director, along with key instructors, should continue to develop the needed course(s) in the area of and for the concentration in Food Merchandising and Distribution. Encouragement and resources should be furnished for the development of faculty/academic staff expertise needed for this course.

Dr. Barnhart developed the two courses in Food Merchandising and Distribution in 2000. She and Dr. Choudhury have taught these courses.

The program director should take measures to assure that students have ample faculty/staff advisement opportunities.

Dr. Barnhart took over advisement of all students to get them through the transition period. Additional faculty will be added as advisors this March.  Freshmen are now advised in the Advisement Center with cooperation by Dr. Barnhart.

Recommendations for the Dean

The dean should seek resources for the hiring of a part-time academic staff technician to serve as a lab technician for the food processing and sensory evaluation areas.

For financial reasons, the department was not able to add the part-time academic staff, but the current lab technician has been trained on the food processing and sensory evaluation equipment.

The dean should continue his efforts to acquire the equipment necessary for the Food Engineering course, a course having its initial offering in the Fall of 1997.

Some equipment has been added through grants. More is needed.

The dean should encourage continuity in the program director position to lend the program administrative stability, a stability somewhat lacking in recent years because of the rapid rotation of program directors.

Dr. Barnhart has served as program director for four years and is now chair of the Foods Department.

Program Review

Program Strengths

Distinctive Program
The B. S. in Food Systems and Technology Program has a distinctive array of concentrations leading to professional careers focused on the needs of society.  There are only a few other institutions providing similar programs.  Graduates of this program will be able to attain management and professional level positions in the various food-related businesses and industries.  There are four concentrations presently being offered with a fifth concentration planned to be available by June 2004.
Food Communication
This concentration prepares one for a career in the world of media, working with magazines or television.  Jobs would also include working for food companies or advertising and marketing organizations.
Food Systems Management
Students are prepared to manage food.  Services serving markets as diverse as airlines, schools, businesses, hospitals and restaurants
Food Science
This concentration enables students to pursue a career in new product development, quality assurance, food analysis, sensory evaluation or technical sales in food companies.
Food Merchandising and Distribution
For students who want to achieve a management position in retail food stores or in food brokerage and sales companies, this is the concentration of choice.
Food Packaging (Effective June 2004)
This new concentration will prepare students for careers in design and management in the food packaging industry.
Facilities and Resources
Most of the laboratories have been recently remodeled and are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.  Lab modernization funds have been requested for HE 230 as this facility is 23 years old and receives extensive use.  Funds will be requested each year as needed to keep each of the labs updated with the best equipment available.  Students utilize well-equipped labs found throughout the university as part of their basic preparation (i.e., science, packaging, graphic arts and photography).
All six members of the Food and Nutrition Department are well-credentialed and professionally active.  They are involved in research, grants, contracts and service activities.
Program Director
Dr. Carolyn Barnhart has been the program director for the last five years.  Dr. Barnhart received extremely high evaluations from student survey's, key instructors in the department, and from the Program Advisory Committee. 
The program is to be commended for its efforts in developing and utilizing a variety of effective assessment instruments.  Especially noteworthy, is the program's evaluation of student achievement through use of the Food Systems and Technology Test (F-SATT).  This assessment has a bank of over 500 questions that covers the wide variety of curricular areas included in the Food Systems and Technology Program. The exam is given as a pre-test in the intro class, Food Systems and Technology Futures, and as a senior checkout to graduating seniors. This assessment will be reviewed in 2005-2006 with the objective of improving its effectiveness.
The program will be submitting a self-study document to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) for the Food Science and Food Packaging Concentrations in the Fall of 2004.  Approval by IFT would allow students from the Food Science Concentration to compete for national scholarships that are funded by various individuals and food industries which are administered through IFT.   
Other strengths
  • There is a very high rate of retention of students in the program.
  • Students are actively engaged in research and often times working with their professors.  Senior research projects are now required of all students.
  • Student placement is consistently maintained at 100% as long as students are not limiting their opportunities to a certain geographic region.
  • A high percentage of students from this program are on the chancellor's list.
  • There is a high level of interdepartmental cooperation.  The program includes many courses from several different departments; therefore, this level of cooperation is very beneficial of the program. 
  • The program has an active Program Advisory Committee.

Issues of Concern

  1. Two new faculty positions are being recruited for:  (1) food science and (2) food engineering/food packaging.  These two additional Ph.D's in food science are required to meet the minimum requirement of four Ph.D's in food science to apply and attain approval from IFT.  Funds have been approved for these two positions and recruitment will begin soon.  However, the lure of  "greener pastures" will make it difficult to retain these people.
  2. Lab remodeling.  Several labs were remodeled in 2000 and 2002. Three additional labs need to be modernized. This is an ongoing need in such a lab-based curriculum.
  3. Equipment.  The program needs to continue to acquire state-of-the-art equipment for all its labs. 
  4. Number of students in the program is small. The program has a difficult time recruiting high school students. The program's faculty and facilities can easily work with up to 40 new freshmen each year.  Several students in the program are transfer students.


Recommendations for the Program Director and Department Chair:

  1. The program director, along with key instructors in Foods Science, should continue to pursue accreditation for the Foods Science Concentration from the Institute for Food Technologists (IFT).  This will enable the program to start an IFT student chapter and make more scholarships available to students.  This will also increase other companies interest in funding research projects and in contributing funds to update the equipment.
  2. The program director should develop specific plans for recruiting a greater number of qualified high school students.  The competition sessions at the Science Olympiad in April 2004 seems to be a very positive approach to accomplish this.  As other competitions are added – food packaging, for example – this may also increase recruitment of high school students.  Perhaps these competitions could also be open to students in Minnesota.  Consideration should also given to working more closely with high school counselors who would be able to identify high school students who are outstanding in the math and science areas.  As these students are identified, develop some means of contacting the students to inform them of the opportunities this program has to offer.
  3. The program director should continue to take measures to assure that students have ample faculty/staff advisement opportunities.

Recommendations for the Dean

  1. The dean should continue to provide resources for the two new positions in the Food Science Concentration.
  2. The dean should continue to provide resources to maintain a full-time Food Technician to provide training, maintenance and quality investment in the food equipment.
  3. The dean should continue his efforts to acquire the funding to complete the modernization of the three labs that are in need of upgrading and to add new equipment as needed to keep the labs as modern as possible.