By LILLY BROGGER/Montana State News
A two-part proposal has been requested to add an associate’s degree in culinary arts through the Gallatin College and a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management through Montana State University. In November, the student senate voted in favor of a proposal to offer a hospitality management program through the Jake Jabs College of Business.
Montana tourism is one factor driving the proposal. At an Associated Students of Montana State University Senate meeting on Nov. 19, President Waded Cruzado said, “We want to empower those graduates with the tools necessary to capture the niche of Montana tourism.”
The hospitality management track would prepare students to work in the management of hospitality enterprises, like restaurants or guest lodges. According to the proposal, the vision of the program is to create, “A vibrant hospitality industry in Montana providing professional customer service and inspiring visitors to engage in our communities, cultures, and landscapes.”
One concern with the proposed addition to the Jake Jabs College of Business is having room in classes, according to ASMSU Senate meeting notes. MSU’s enrollment has increased, but MSU President Waded Cruzado said that the university is prepared for the growth.
“I look at the leadership of the College of Business and we have this opportunity knocking at businesses door saying we want to partner with you,” she said. “We have put our support behind this because this program will add luster to Montana State University.”
Gregory Gilpin, MSU professor of agricultural economics and economics, voiced his concern at the Nov. 19 ASMSU meeting.
“We are on the cheap end of tourism in this state,” he said. “It does not bring in the suggested money. We don’t have unnecessary degrees in other departments so why have a hospitality management degree when we already have management?”
The original proposal failed twice in the faculty senate before passing, but has garnered support from the community and MSU. According to an MSU student newspaper article, several local business owners voiced their support, saying graduates from the program would be highly employable. Currently, anyone wishing to study hospitality management must go out of state.
Upon approving the proposal, on Jan. 27 the senate voted in favor of adding the two-year culinary arts program, which would become one of several in the state.
For the degree option to be offered, Cruzado must submit a proposal to the state Board of Regents, who will either approve or deny the new areas of study.
– Edited by Sara Saxton