How can the universities better connect academia with industry to better facilitate praxis?
Generally speaking, all higher education has a desire to create a balance between theory and practice, or praxis. We know that is how students learn best. From my perspective, that is a good refection of who we are at Johnson & Wales University (JWU). This is why we have been implementing project-based learning for some time now. Of course, the perfect combination is always aspirational, but it is our goal and where we want to be. For this, we have been investing our efforts in training our faculty members to better balance both. For example, if a faculty member is specialized in research and theory, we will train him or her to also implement practical problem-solving, and vice versa. We train our professionals who are specialized in practical cases to also give theory the importance it deserves so students can maximize their learning opportunities. JWU creates partnerships with industry. Our curriculum is designed in concert with industry, which serves as a great benefit to our students, as well as industry leaders seeking to hire top talent.
What efforts is JWU making to ensure diversity at the institution?
Diversity is not the end-game. It all begins with diversity. I believe that diversity becomes the foundation of any institution. We have created a campus environment that respects diversity in a high level. But I believe that hiring is just as important. It is not enough to say that we can bring in students who are reflective of a diverse environment. We have to be able to introduce them to individuals who provide that same level of variety. We also integrate diversity into our programs. A good example of this is every year we collaborate with the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance. Recently, the Wall Street Journal published a ranking of diversity in the country and JWU came in No. 1 in South Florida and No. 3 in the nation. This is a reflection of our commitment to welcoming a diverse mix of students and faculty.