What They Expect and Why We Should Care: Students’ Perspectives on Hospitality Faculty Industry Experience

Kelly Virginia Phelan
Cynthia Mejia, University of Central Florida


Hospitality management programs, similar to other fields within higher education, are faced with numerous challenges including decreased funding and competition for students.In an effort to boost enrollment, researchers suggest a transformation of higher education, placing students at the center of these initiatives.With a focus on service, particularly student-staff interactions, knowledgeable and experienced faculty have been shown to increase perceived service quality. This research sought to quantify students’ perspectives regarding the importance of faculty members’ hospitality industry experience in an effort to meet expectations, which may translate into greater undergraduate enrollment, retention and graduation rates. A large sample (n = 1130) of undergraduates from the U.S. participated in the study from hospitality programs ranging under 500 to over 1000 students.