SPC seeks outside partnership

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A bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management could be available starting in spring.

By Carlos Ferrand

cferrand@student.alamo.edu

A partnership between St. Philip’s College and the University of Houston, allowing students to earn a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management without leaving San Antonio is a possibility.

The proposal is on the agenda for the October board meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Room 101 of Killen Center, 201 W. Sheridan.

St. Philip’s is proposing a two-plus-two Career Pathway Affiliate Agreement with the university to provide students upper-level courses on the St. Philip’s campus. St. Philip’s offers associate of applied science degrees in hotel management, hospitality management, restaurant management, culinary arts, and baking and pastry arts.

Students from St. Philip’s have transferred to the university to complete the degree in hotel and restaurant management in the past, Mary Kunz, chair of the tourism, hospitality and culinary arts department at St. Philip’s, said.

“Our students and our graduates will no longer have to leave San Antonio to get their bachelor’s degree,” she said.

Kunz said the university has accepted transfer credits from St. Philip’s courses for many years, but the discussion of offering upper-level courses at St. Philip’s started six to seven years ago.

With this city’s reliance on the hospitality industry, keeping students who are interested in the discipline is important, she said.

“The talent will stay here in San Antonio,” Kunz said. “It is a shame to see individuals who might be our future leaders go off to Houston to finish their education and then sometimes never return.”

According to sachamber.org in 2011, this city’s hospitality industry employed 112,531 people and welcomed 22.3 million “leisure visitors” while bringing in $12 billion.

St. Philip’s could begin offering one upper-level course as soon as spring.

According to the minute order, “the University of Houston will eventually offer all upper-division courses at St. Philip’s college since it has the infrastructure to provide classroom and office space for the University of Houston faculty and staff.”

As part of the agreement, the university will not offer freshman and sophomore level courses in San Antonio at St. Philip’s.

If the university wishes to offer lower division courses not already offered at St. Philip’s, the university must give St. Philip’s the first opportunity to offer such courses. St. Philip’s and the university will work together on recruitment initiatives for the program.

Kunz said upper-level courses would probably be scheduled in the late afternoon or early evenings, so that it would not conflict with the classes St. Philip’s offers.

Kunz hopes later class hours will work with people already working in the hospitality industry.

The two colleges have not determined what upper-level course will be offered or how many will be offered in the beginning.

Kunz said the university might relocate professors or perhaps use local industry professionals as adjunct faculty to teach upper-level courses, but that decision is up to the university.

No university in San Antonio offers a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management.

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