Cal Poly Pomona

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California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

The Collins School of Hospitality Management Interview Transcript

Welcome to Comcast local edition, I’m Tracy Young. (CNN Headline News)

Tracy Young: The Collins School of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona has one of the top hospitality management programs in the nation. And joining us from the college is its Dean, Dr. Jerry Chesser. How nice to have you with us doctor.

Jerry Chesser: Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Tracy Young: I should also mention that you have an award winning restaurant. It’s a restaurant at Kellogg Ranch.

Jerry Chesser: Absolutely, yes.

Tracy Young: Tell us a little bit. Let’s start about ……How are you a little bit different? What’s so popular right now are Culinary Schools, where people go for a real extensive time, maybe six weeks or pardon me, six months or a year. It’s quite expensive, and that you have a different approach. How is a degree from your university different from a culinary graduate degree?

Jerry Chesser: Well, we are…. we are a management program and that’s the primary difference. We are a four year program. Our students explore all aspects of Hospitality Management including: the culinary aspects, the restaurants, club management, hotels. And so when a student walks away from us they have the ability to go into a number of different aspects of what is, without a doubt, the largest field in the United States. And it gives them a greater ability to have an exciting career.

Tracy Young: Because they’re not just trained.

Jerry Chesser: Plus values they have…

Tracy Young: Right, they’re not just trained in how to be a wonderful Chef. They’re trained in Management and Accounting, and all forms of the education.

Jerry Chesser: That’s right, that’s right. They take the full program a full regiment of general education. They take business courses in Accounting and Human Resource Management, Marketing as well as the specialized courses in Hospitality. So by the time they get done, they are ready to move into those management positions and to lead those operations.

Tracy Young: Or be a good Chef, if that’s what they’re coming to do.

Jerry Chesser: Absolutely

Tracy Young: Right, and then you also have an MBA program I understand now.

Jerry Chesser: And that’s true, and the MBA program is becoming stronger everyday. And that’s for those individuals who have decided that they want to move further in their career. Hospitality has become like many, many careers out there. It is begun to blossom and it’s moved from the individual that’s in charge not having a degree to one that has a degree. And it’s moving towards that higher education, and our students are well prepared to do that.

Tracy Young: And you have mentioned about the volume of jobs that are available. I think I read on your website that it’s one of the fastest, one of the largest employers next to the US Federal Government?

Jerry Chesser: That’s absolutely correct. There’s nobody in the country or the world that employs more people than hospitality. That’s also why it is such a major growth engine for the state of California and we feel like that, as being part of the CSU system, we are working for California to generate the resource they need to have that piece grow.

Tracy Young: How is your whole theme for your school is Polytechnic? What is Polytechnic, and how does that go into the fact that you’re saying even though students graduate with an official four year CSU degree, but they’re also hands on and they know how to work when they get out?

Jerry Chesser: Now that is a question that is asked very, very often and the polytechnique simply means that we allow students to apply what we know, and at Cal Poly at the Collins School we do that. One of our major ways we do that is through our restaurant at Kellogg Ranch, which is a student learning experience, a living laboratory, which is open to the public and serves meals five days a week. Monday through Friday for lunch and then it serves dinners Thursday through Saturday. And it’s someplace that not only do our students experience and get to put into operation what they know, but the public can come and see it in action.

Tracy Young: You have your Annual Expo.

Jerry Chesser: Absolutely, and we are, one of the things that we are very proud of is a relationship we have with the industry and the fact that they value what we do. Ah, the Career Expo even when after 9-11 when there was a major drop in a number of people that were out recruiting, we still commanded about 90% of the level we already had. This year we have over 50 companies coming from around the United States. Ah, they will be offering positions to our students, students from community colleges near that we invite and from other universities. So it’s a major event for us.

Tracy Young: How nice it is to have you with us.

Jerry Chesser: Thank you, my pleasure to be here.

Tracy Young: Our guest has been Dr. Jerry Chesser; he is the Dean of the Collins School of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona.

For Comcast local edition, I’m Tracy Young.



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Last updated on: 6/5/2006