Missouri State University
Dr. Stephanie Hein

Dr. Stephanie Hein

  • Hospitality Leadership department head
  • Springfield, MO

Five-star service starts with a better curriculum

When Dr. Stephanie Hein, head of the department of hospitality leadership, returned to Missouri State as professor, a fellow alum of the program had some essential advice for her.

“When I told him I was coming back to teach at Missouri State, he said to make sure that the students understand what the industry is really about, because it is a challenging industry,” said Hein.

Hein took this advice to heart and early on was interested in how to improve her own teaching and abilities in the classroom. In 2008, she began developing a program review process with her colleagues.

Improving service through industry

Dr. Stephanie Hein

In her article, “A Systematic Model for Program Evaluation and Curricular Transformation: A Tale from the Trenches,” Hein and her colleague, the late Carl Riegel, former professor, aimed to eliminate one of the biggest issues many programs face: curricular review.

“In the article, we discuss how we went about reviewing the program and implementing changes for improvement,” said Hein. “We also wanted to tie together what we thought was important to the curriculum with insight from industry. We felt industry input was an important piece of the process.”

The pair surveyed industry partners across the nation, totaling nearly 150 respondents. Their survey results provided a wealth of information that led to several more articles.

“We focused on what industry thought was important in the curriculum. There is a core body of knowledge that is commonly taught in hospitality programs across the country. We wanted to know the value industry placed on each content area that makes up that core,” said Hein. “That really is what spurred the process — making sure that what we are teaching in the classroom is relevant to what industry needs.”

They discovered that industry had five main areas of concern when hiring new employees: communication skills, ethical considerations, financial management, organizational/management theory and management of hospitality operations. Special attention was granted to these areas as the curriculum was reviewed and reworked, with an emphasis on communication, ethics and financial management.

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