Highline nurtures new 4-year degree in hospitality

By Emmitt Sevores - Staff Reporter

A new four-year degree in Hospitality, Tourism and Events is coming to the High- line campus next fall, thanks to a collaborative effort be- tween the college and Central Washington University's Des Moines campus.

The program was created by Highline's Justin Taillon, department head of Hospital- ity and Tourism Management and CWU's Dr. Se Eun Lee, who has a background in event planning and tourism as well as doctorates from three dif- ferent continents.

The new program is slightly modified from CWU-Ellens- burg's degree program going from Recreation, Tourism, and Events to Hospitality, Tourism and Events.

Ellensburg's recreation-em- phasis degree has traditionally done well, but the greater em- phasis on hospitality for the CWU-Des Moines degree is meant to address the greater hospitality offerings of a large city, Taillon said.

The recreation-emphasis degree program will still re- main in Ellensburg.

"South Seattle is a living laboratory for the hospitality industry. SeaTac Airport is the nation's eighth largest, we have more than 50,000 hotel rooms in approximately 425 hotel properties," Taillon said.

The food and beverage in- dustry accounts for 15 percent of Des Moines' gross domestic product.

Taillon said that he is excit- ed for hospitality offerings of a large city [Seattle] and feels that this program will help people get jobs to take advan- tage of this market.

"Des Moines is a small beachside town. The beauti- ful setting and relaxed atmo- sphere are an excellent place for studying. Furthermore, with easy access to Seattle's amenities we are well-situate. [Plus, the] campus now fea- tures resident housing. This allows more students, from locations around the state, an ability to live on campus in Des Moines while studying. This also assists international students," said Taillon.

He said the new degree pro- gram will " prepare people for the workforce in the university system."

Highline now offers several bachelors programs focused on "hard skills."

"Soft skill programs such as hospitality are less well suited for college bachelor programs. This is where [Highline is] connected with CWU. Stu- dents complete their first two years with Highline College and subsequently years three to four with CWU on campus. This consistency in location, but transfer within the College from one institution to anoth- er, is definitely a student-fo- cused decision," Taillon said.

There are two different ways to participate in the pro- gram.

One is to be classified as a Highline College student for five to six quarters and then switch to a CWU-Des Moines classification to complete the degree.

"This is useful because you save money, can actually com- plete this work in five to six quarters (i.e. not two years), and you work with Dr. Lee and I on the Highline College side," Taillon said.

Taillon said he believes this was the smartest option be- cause it would save students money by taking classes as a Highline student.

The other option is to start out as a CWU-Des Moines student and complete a mix of classes at both Highline and CWU.

"It costs more this way, but some individuals like to work with CWU as an institution from the beginning," Taillon said.

Whichever way a student goes, they would be familiar with who they are working with.

"You work with the same people for all four years," Tail- lon said.

This degree will be High- line's seventh bachelor's de- gree.

The others offered so far are in cybersecurity and forensics, respiratory care, global trade and logistics, youth develop- ment, teaching and early learn- ing, and integrated design.

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