CSM Hospitality Program Debuts to Area Businesses

a:10:{i:0;s:422:"Philip Koch’s passion for art began in college. The artist whose traveling exhibit “Unbroken Thread: Nature Paintings and the American Imagination” is on display at the College of Southern Maryland through Nov. 15

Southern Maryland Hotels, Restaurants, Tourism Bureaus Attend Breakfast

            “As a college, our business is education—as a community college, our business is your business,” College of Southern Maryland Vice President of Academic Affairs Debra Tervala told hotel, restaurant and government council representatives gathered Nov. 5 to learn about the college’s new associate’s degree in hospitality management.

            The program, conceived a few short months ago, was put together in record time, according to Tervala. Now, Associate Professor and Hospitality Management Program Coordinator Bill Williams is looking for input from area businesses, county chambers of commerce and tourism bureaus to fine-tune the program to satisfy their needs as well as student needs.

“The program is market-driven, career-oriented, employment-focused, student-centered and experientially based,” said Williams. “It will be based on workforce needs and will rely heavily on on-the-job learning. We feel that what ignites passion in students in the field of hospitality is participating in the success of a business and that is why we are focused on getting students into area hotel and restaurant internships.”

The hospitality management degree requirements include components in general education as well as business. Students select courses within the hospitality core to match their interests—hotel, travel, recreation, tourism, convention services, food service, meeting planning and related service industries. Communication skills are a large component of the program, with a global view emphasis.

At the completion of the program, students receive an associate’s degree in Hospitality Management from CSM which they can transfer to a four-year college and they will earn a certificate in Hospitality Operations from the American Hotel and Lodging Association's Educational Institute.

Classes will be scheduled to meet the needs of working adults as well as traditional students, said Williams. “As the program gains momentum, CSM will offer classes at all campuses and online.”

“Community colleges can be very nimble—we can change and do things quickly,” said Tervala, adding that classes can be held at any business site where there are students in the program.

Business managers at the meeting were asked to consider offering their facilities for on-site student tours, providing co-ops and internship opportunities for students and signing up for guest lecturer positions.

“We are very excited,” said Michelle Jones, chair of Charles County Hospitality Council. “I’ve been waiting for [the program] to come to the College of Southern Maryland.” Jones and Ellen Ferris of Clarion Hotel in Waldorf are glad that their employees, and potential employees, won’t have far to go for this training.

“I see our existing front-desk managers and assistant general managers entering the program, taking what they’ve learned in the classroom and passing it down the line,” said Ferris of the courses related to hotel management.

            For information on CSM’s Hospitality Management Program, visit http://www.csmd.edu/BAT/BUS/HospitalityManagement.htm, or contact Williams at whwilliams1@csmd.edu .