Students learning to roast a chicken.
Today, the State Building Commission approved the acquisition of the old L'Ecole Culinary campus in Cordova.
The campus will serve as an expansion of the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality & Resort Management at the University of Memphis.
We asked Thomas Nenon, University of Memphis Executive Vice President and Provost and Professor of Philosophy, about the move.
Why is the university doing this? What's the thinking behind it?
Programs in Hotel and Resort Management usually will also include culinary arts and management as an integral part of those programs, because of the scope and importance of the businesses and careers associated with that area. Our program at the University of Memphis already had an approved program that was limited primarily by our current facilities. This will provide an opportunity for us to expand the program significantly to meet student demand and community needs.
What is the plan? When will you open?
If we receive the approval as expected next Monday, we will begin our first regular college-level courses at the beginning of this fall semester, i.e. the last Monday in August. We may be offering some professional development and/or recreational classes before that, but we do not have those plan finalized yet.
Will the students who were already studying at L'Ecole be able to pick up where they left off? How will it work? Will they get university degrees?
Those who were taking college-level courses appropriate to our program will be able to transfer those credits. They can apply to us as transfer students just as like other students and the department will do an analysis of their transcripts to see which credits will indeed transfer. They can then continue towards completion of their Bachelor’s degrees.
Other students may not be seeking university degrees but professional development and might want to enroll in specific courses or course sequences relevant to their needs. Others might want to participate in some of the continuing education courses we will be offering in cooking and nutrition.
Why is a program like this important to this community?
Hospitality and restaurants are an important part of our business community and offer career opportunities that are attractive for many students. This will allow us to serve those industries better and the students who are interested in them.
Will the University re-open the Presentation Room?
We have not yet finalized those plans, but do anticipate that there will be dining opportunities in which our students work at that location, similar to the way the Holiday Inn on our campus serves both as a functioning business and as a training opportunity for students in our program who work there.