Cheyney University HRTM Program Listed as Top 20 Degree Producer
July 8, 2011
Professor Shawn Murray and his mother, Gladys '65, establish an alumni scholarship for HRTM students. Here pictured with Alumni Relations Director Gregory Benjamin
A special report in a recent issue of Diverse Issues in Higher Education has named Cheyney University’s Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) Program as a top 20 degree producer.
“The three-part Top 100 Special Report provides the only national analysis of U. S. college’s and university’s success in awarding degrees to Black, Hispanic, Asian American and American Indian students,” the journal noted in an article announcing the top 100 degree producers. “This eye-opening report on minority degree attainment reveals those institutions whose commitment to diversity best translates into measurable results.”
HRTM Program Coordinator Shawn Murray attributes the program’s success to the lofty goals set 3 years ago when he came to Cheyney University. “I’m a very competitive guy. We had a one year goal and that was to establish the HRTM Program as one of the top in the region,” said Professor Murray. “We now have a five year plan. We want to rank higher. We’re positioning ourselves to be the top in the tri-state area.”
Professor Murray recruits three types of students: traditional students directly out of high school; transfers from community or local colleges; and people working in the hospitality industry who are looking to advance to management. “We attract hard-working, dedicated individuals ages 17 to 40-something. They come from several different regions of this and other countries, and they represent a diversity of thought and ideas, as well as a diversity of career interests. One recent graduate, Eric Parker, who was one of the two class valedictorians, is headed to Villanova Law School to study hospitality law.”
The Cheyney University HRTM curriculum features a “hands-on” learning environment that engages students in part lecture and part research. The second half of the program provides an opportunity for top notch internships. “We are in talks with a resort in Vietnam for a management pipeline," Murray said. "There is really no limit to the possibilities for preparing our students for management-level positions and graduate schools."
The hospitality industry is one of the few that is growing, according to Professor Murray. “The popularity of food television, food sciences, and travel tourism has helped set us up for enormous growth in the next five years,” he said. Murray insists that every degree program on campus encompasses hospitality. “Even if you are studying to be a teacher, you need hospitality training.”
At Cheyney University, HRTM classes have no more than 15 students and they hone their skills in fully equipped food science labs, an experimental kitchen and a student-managed restaurant.