Agreement Creates Pathway for Hospitality Students to Earn Bachelor’s Degree

Austin Community College is partnering with Stephen F. Austin State University to give students in the high-demand hospitality field a seamless pathway to a bachelor’s degree.

Dr. Richard Rhodes, president/CEO of ACC (left), and Dr. Baker Pattillo, president of SFA, sign the agreement.

The two institutions have entered into an agreement that will allow qualified students to complete their coursework in ACC’s hospitality programs and move directly into upper-level coursework in the Hospitality Administration Program at SFA.

“This is great news for our students,” says Michelle Fitzpatrick, chair of ACC’s Hospitality Management Department. “They will know from the outset of their education which courses to take in order to not lose any time when they transfer. There is great demand for hospitality professionals, so it’s important to do everything we can to accelerate students’ completion.”

The hospitality field includes sales, marketing, hotel management, restaurant management, meeting and event planning, and travel and tourism. With the recent introduction of large-scale events such as Formula 1 and X Games in addition to continued growth of hotels in Austin, the region is in need of more skilled hospitality workers. Hospitality also is a major industry across the state; estimates indicate that direct travel spending totaled more than $67 billion in 2013 and supported nearly 600,000 jobs.

ACC offers associate degrees and certificates in hospitality management, culinary arts, travel and tourism, and meeting and event planning. Students get hands-on training using the latest equipment and have access to internship opportunities through extensive industry partnerships.

SFA prepares students for a bachelor of science in hospitality, with areas of focus including restaurant management, lodging, tourism, meeting planning, and culinary. The university trains students in state-of-the-art hospitality laboratories, and the program’s alumni and interns are employed around the world.

“The Hospitality Administration Program at Stephen F. Austin State University is excited to partner with Austin Community College,” says Dr. Chay Runnels, SFA assistant professor and program coordinator. “This opens the door for more students interested in the hospitality industry to become SFA Lumberjacks. The culinary, hospitality, and tourism programs at ACC are known statewide, and we look forward to helping students continue their education.”

Visit the ACC and SFA websites for more information about the institutions’ hospitality programs.

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