University of Wisconsin - Stout

Attached are the responses to the PRC report recommendations directed to the program director, department chair of the hospitality and tourism department, and dean of the college of human development.  Although this response document is long overdue (PRC report submitted to the dean in April 2004), there has been significant change that has occurred in both the program and department and those changes have had a significant effect on how these recommendations are addressed.  At the time of this report, Dr. Lynnette Brouwer was serving as interim program director while Mr. Davies was on sabbatical leave.  Further, the department chair in the hospitality and tourism department was in the process of being replaced with a faculty call for new leadership.  Those situations have now settled down and the department is functioning at a level where reasonable future planning can take place.  Further, the enrollment situation was in a state of flux between the on-campus and on-line versions of the program.  There was also a need to designate individual faculty to serve as graduate instructors and that has now been accomplished.  Hence, these responses can now reflect a more permanent outcome for the M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism program. 

Response from the Program Director, Lynnette Brouwer

I was unaware of this report until the semester was nearly over and broadly speaking, I am not aware that we have a system of assessment in the H&T M.S. major.  However, I had already decided to administer a survey to graduating M.S. students to gather information about the program and where it should be going.  It is this data I’ve used for this report. 

The method was a survey integrating both qualitative and quantitative approaches.  It was administered at the end of the program; 10 students replied.  I analyzed the surveys myself doing a quick manual calculation and summary of comments. 

The results indicate that one student of 10 found that UW-Stout did not meet their expectations; no reasons were given by this one student.

We asked for feedback on the course overall and on its content for all of the courses our graduate students might have taken in this department.  There is a great deal of variety in the feedback, with no course being identified as consistently poor.   Only three course receiving at least 2 responses were identified as consistently great, these being HT-654 Security and Risk Management with 2 respondents, HT-660 Hospitality Industry Law and Liability with 4 respondents and HT-661 Hospitality Industry Employee Labor also with 4 respondents.  In all, we received feedback on 28 courses indicating room for improvement in nearly all of them.

We received valuable comments on our open-ended questions.  Among the courses and curriculum areas students recommended we add to the program are:  food/beverage inventory control, coffee shoppe management, ground/air transportation operations, hotel management, updated trends, operations in specific hotel departments, internet marketing, sales and marketing graduate level, language classes for graduate credits, property management systems, managing technology as on-campus class not just online.

Several students shared the following opinion as stated on one of the surveys:  “Some courses I think need to go deep or high level because I think that some course content I had learned in my country during my undergraduate course.”

Additional comments included the need to provide practical experience in hotel operations, and more help for international students in gaining work experience and co-ops and just generally “more close attention and care to the international student.”

While this instrument was not administered precisely to achieve an assessment of learning in the major, there is much information here than can be used to shape the learning experiences and content of this program.  I would recommend that in the coming year the program director meet with the key graduate faculty to enhance the program consistent with recommendations in the surveys.  While it is unlikely that we will add specific courses to address the additional curriculum areas students requested, there is certainly an opportunity to update existing courses to address this material.  One area which truly is not included in the program, however, is sales and marketing at a graduate level, which should also include internet marketing.  Because we now have two 1-credit Colloquium courses required in the program, and students found the second one of marginal benefit, perhaps in the short-term one of the Colloquium offerings could be dedicated to sales and marketing.

This synopsis will be emailed as a attachment to all instructors in the department on whose courses we received feedback.  The individual surveys will be available at instructor request.

Response from the Department Chair, Ted Harris

I will work with the dean’s office to ensure that we have sufficient funds to recruit, convene, and support an active advisory council for the M.S. Hospitality and Tourism program.  The Department of Hospitality and Tourism is also considering the development of a larger advisory group that could function to advise all programs supported by this department.  This larger group would likely form some sort of Hospitality and Tourism Board of Advisors and be responsible for responding to the programmatic needs of Service Management; Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management; Hospitality and Tourism; Gaming Management and the newly developing Golf Enterprise Management programs.  Significantly more support to convene this larger group would be needed and the dean has expressed support for this concept.

Response from the Dean, John Wesolek

There currently exists adequate staffing support for the M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism program.  However, there is a complicating issue with regard to serving both the on-line and on-campus students with very small section sizes, especially in the on-line version.  At a time when the department is experiencing a continuing drop in overall student enrollments for courses served by the Hospitality and Tourism Department, there is a need to reschedule faculty to carry both graduate and undergraduate student courses.  This situation complicates the sectoring out of specific faculty to serve only graduate-level students.  And this workload balance must be spread among all in the department.  Meetings are currently being held at the department and Graduate College level to discuss how needs of all students can be better served while still addressing the special demands of the graduate students.  A new recruiting initiative is also in process and should attract more students to both the on-campus and on-line programs.  Should the enrollments not increase for the online program (Global Hospitality Management), we may choose to drop or place that version of the major on hold for the immediate future.