Start Date

7-1-2011 3:15 PM

End Date

7-1-2011 4:00 PM

Track

2. Track 2 - Poster Session

Subject Area

Hospitality and Tourism Education

Faculty Member

Thomas R. Schrier, MBA, Ph.D., CHE Assistant Professor Iowa State University schriert@iastate.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION Research on competencies in hospitality management has generated a multitude of studies since Tas’s (1988) seminal work on identifying the competencies needed by a manager trainee, as determined by the general managers of 75 top U.S. hotels. Since then, a significant body of knowledge has been generated over the past 20 years, with the majority of the studies focusing on either the hotel industry itself, or the overall hospitality industry. Millar, Mao, & Moreo (2010) reported that very few studies focused solely on the food service industry. The gap in the literature on this topic presents an opportunity to conduct further research on competencies in the food service industry, specifically within the food product research and development (R&D) arena. Successful R&D requires constant innovation, and it is innovation that helps restaurants keep their product portfolio competitive and thereby achieve competitive advantage (Ottenbacher & Harrington, 2009). As a newly formed discipline, the Research Chefs Association (RCA) defines Culinology® as the blending of culinary arts and the science of food (Blanck, 2007). Culinologists can incorporate their knowledge of taste and texture with a scientific knowledge of food production to make nutritious, “ready-made” products that more closely resemble their “from-scratch” originals (Blanck, 2007). A benchmark study by Birdir (2000) was used to guide the formation of the Culinology® curriculum. The resulting curriculum was adopted by the Research Chefs Association in 2001 as the minimum standards that specified the courses needed to make up an undergraduate Culinology® program. However, there is a paucity in the literature on the effectiveness of the RCA’s Bachelor of Science in Culinology® Core Competencies in preparing graduates for employment as culinologists in this bold, new discipline.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the RCA’s Bachelor of Science in Culinology® core competencies in preparing graduates of Culinology® programs for entry-level positions in food product development. The objectives of this research are to (a) examine whether these competencies meet the needs of the current employers of Culinology® graduates; (b) evaluate the graduates’ self assessment of these competencies in relation to their preparedness for employment in their current position; and (c) explore the correlation between the employer’s and the graduates self assessment and its implications for curricular reform in Culinology® education. The theoretical development of the Culinology® curriculum is well established. A gap exists, however, in the applied body of knowledge regarding validation of Culinology® as a viable and integral academic discipline. As identified by Bissett, Cheng, & Brannan (2010), future work should focus on employers to determine if their rating of the importance of each competency agrees with the results of their study. Thus, the proposed study seeks to expand the body of literature on Culinology® by developing an assessment tool to measure the effectiveness of the RCA’s Bachelor of Science in Culinology® core competencies, as determined by the employers and Culinology® graduates themselves.

LITERATURE REVIEW Tas (1988) defined competency as performance of duties based on one’s ability to accomplish specific job related tasks and assume the role of the position. A working definition of competency in education is defined as “a general statement detailing the desired knowledge and skills of [a] student graduating from our course or program” (Hartel & Foegeding, 2004). The literature is rich on competencies assessment of hospitality graduates’ ability to meet the needs of the hospitality industry (Millar et al., 2010), but no research exists for Culinology® graduates. As stated by Zopiatis (2010), “the Chefs’ profession receives little attention by academic scholars worldwide”. In her Master’s thesis, McMeen (2003) concluded that the 46 identified competencies from the Birdir (2000) study that were used in the formation of the original minimum standards for Culinology® curriculums are still relevant and applicable to the field of Culinology® today.

METHODOLOGY This research will survey two different subsets of Culinology® practitioners, (a) those who graduated from a Culinology® degree program, as opposed to practitioners who were trained in the culinary arts, food science, a combination of both, or a related field, and (b) the employers of Culinology® graduates. Due to the relative short existence of Culinology® degree programs and limited number of graduates, the sample size will be the total population. Because the entire population of Culinology® graduates will be surveyed, the results will be generalizable, and applicable to the entire population of Culinology® graduates, both current and future. For this research, a questionnaire consisting of three parts will be developed to assess the effectiveness of the Culinology® graduates’ performance in the food product development industry, as determined by the graduates’ employers and the graduates themselves. Part I will consist of questions related to the survey participants’ characteristics. Part II will consist of questions intended to measure the graduates’ perception of the importance and frequency of use for each of the identified core competencies. A five-point Likert-type scale (1 = none, 5 = critical) will be used to measure importance, and a five-point Likert-type scale (1 = never, 5 = always) will be used to measure frequency of use in this part of the instrument. Part III will consist of open-ended questions intended to solicit additional insights into the competencies that are necessary for a Culinology® graduate to be successful.

The study will be conducted in five different phases. Phase One (Original Instrument Construction), will involve the construction of the initial items for the measurement instrument. Phase Two (Draft Instrument), will be conducted to establish face and content validity by a panel of experts. Phase Three (Pilot Study), will focus on revision of the measurement instrument as a result of internal consistency reliability testing. Phase Four will consist of data collection, and Phase Five will include data analysis.

IMPLICATIONS The outcomes will serve as recommendations to Culinology® educators and the RCA in order to improve the current Culinology® curriculum. The study is considerably valuable to the RCA and all the Culinology® educators as it can also be used to develop a program assessment tool that serves to further refine the approval and quality assurance process currently used by the RCA.

Keywords

culinology, competencies, chef, food science, hospitality management



Share

COinS
 
Jan 7th, 3:15 PM Jan 7th, 4:00 PM

What is a Culinologist? An Evaluation of the Core Competencies of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Culinology

INTRODUCTION Research on competencies in hospitality management has generated a multitude of studies since Tas’s (1988) seminal work on identifying the competencies needed by a manager trainee, as determined by the general managers of 75 top U.S. hotels. Since then, a significant body of knowledge has been generated over the past 20 years, with the majority of the studies focusing on either the hotel industry itself, or the overall hospitality industry. Millar, Mao, & Moreo (2010) reported that very few studies focused solely on the food service industry. The gap in the literature on this topic presents an opportunity to conduct further research on competencies in the food service industry, specifically within the food product research and development (R&D) arena. Successful R&D requires constant innovation, and it is innovation that helps restaurants keep their product portfolio competitive and thereby achieve competitive advantage (Ottenbacher & Harrington, 2009). As a newly formed discipline, the Research Chefs Association (RCA) defines Culinology® as the blending of culinary arts and the science of food (Blanck, 2007). Culinologists can incorporate their knowledge of taste and texture with a scientific knowledge of food production to make nutritious, “ready-made” products that more closely resemble their “from-scratch” originals (Blanck, 2007). A benchmark study by Birdir (2000) was used to guide the formation of the Culinology® curriculum. The resulting curriculum was adopted by the Research Chefs Association in 2001 as the minimum standards that specified the courses needed to make up an undergraduate Culinology® program. However, there is a paucity in the literature on the effectiveness of the RCA’s Bachelor of Science in Culinology® Core Competencies in preparing graduates for employment as culinologists in this bold, new discipline.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the RCA’s Bachelor of Science in Culinology® core competencies in preparing graduates of Culinology® programs for entry-level positions in food product development. The objectives of this research are to (a) examine whether these competencies meet the needs of the current employers of Culinology® graduates; (b) evaluate the graduates’ self assessment of these competencies in relation to their preparedness for employment in their current position; and (c) explore the correlation between the employer’s and the graduates self assessment and its implications for curricular reform in Culinology® education. The theoretical development of the Culinology® curriculum is well established. A gap exists, however, in the applied body of knowledge regarding validation of Culinology® as a viable and integral academic discipline. As identified by Bissett, Cheng, & Brannan (2010), future work should focus on employers to determine if their rating of the importance of each competency agrees with the results of their study. Thus, the proposed study seeks to expand the body of literature on Culinology® by developing an assessment tool to measure the effectiveness of the RCA’s Bachelor of Science in Culinology® core competencies, as determined by the employers and Culinology® graduates themselves.

LITERATURE REVIEW Tas (1988) defined competency as performance of duties based on one’s ability to accomplish specific job related tasks and assume the role of the position. A working definition of competency in education is defined as “a general statement detailing the desired knowledge and skills of [a] student graduating from our course or program” (Hartel & Foegeding, 2004). The literature is rich on competencies assessment of hospitality graduates’ ability to meet the needs of the hospitality industry (Millar et al., 2010), but no research exists for Culinology® graduates. As stated by Zopiatis (2010), “the Chefs’ profession receives little attention by academic scholars worldwide”. In her Master’s thesis, McMeen (2003) concluded that the 46 identified competencies from the Birdir (2000) study that were used in the formation of the original minimum standards for Culinology® curriculums are still relevant and applicable to the field of Culinology® today.

METHODOLOGY This research will survey two different subsets of Culinology® practitioners, (a) those who graduated from a Culinology® degree program, as opposed to practitioners who were trained in the culinary arts, food science, a combination of both, or a related field, and (b) the employers of Culinology® graduates. Due to the relative short existence of Culinology® degree programs and limited number of graduates, the sample size will be the total population. Because the entire population of Culinology® graduates will be surveyed, the results will be generalizable, and applicable to the entire population of Culinology® graduates, both current and future. For this research, a questionnaire consisting of three parts will be developed to assess the effectiveness of the Culinology® graduates’ performance in the food product development industry, as determined by the graduates’ employers and the graduates themselves. Part I will consist of questions related to the survey participants’ characteristics. Part II will consist of questions intended to measure the graduates’ perception of the importance and frequency of use for each of the identified core competencies. A five-point Likert-type scale (1 = none, 5 = critical) will be used to measure importance, and a five-point Likert-type scale (1 = never, 5 = always) will be used to measure frequency of use in this part of the instrument. Part III will consist of open-ended questions intended to solicit additional insights into the competencies that are necessary for a Culinology® graduate to be successful.

The study will be conducted in five different phases. Phase One (Original Instrument Construction), will involve the construction of the initial items for the measurement instrument. Phase Two (Draft Instrument), will be conducted to establish face and content validity by a panel of experts. Phase Three (Pilot Study), will focus on revision of the measurement instrument as a result of internal consistency reliability testing. Phase Four will consist of data collection, and Phase Five will include data analysis.

IMPLICATIONS The outcomes will serve as recommendations to Culinology® educators and the RCA in order to improve the current Culinology® curriculum. The study is considerably valuable to the RCA and all the Culinology® educators as it can also be used to develop a program assessment tool that serves to further refine the approval and quality assurance process currently used by the RCA.