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Auburn University’s Hospitality Management Program: Enhancing Hospitality Education through Innovative Curriculum


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The hospitality industry requires skills such as excellent communication, time management, innovation, adaptability, empathy, and leadership. Students must have a sincere focus on internal and external customer service, know the importance of flexibility, value teamwork, and have the ability and desire to lead and solve problems.

With a vision to inspire, innovate, and transform, Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences Hospitality Management Program instills these traits in its curriculum model and attains the standards set by its professional accreditation body.

The Future of Hospitality Education

Exciting times are here for Auburn University’s Hospitality Management Program as a first-of-its-kind educational and commercial facility is set to open in August of 2022. The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center will house the College of Human Sciences’ esteemed Hospitality Management Program and bring unique dining and lodging experiences to visitors.

“The Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center will elevate educational and engagement opportunities for our students as we move forward, in a way that will have the industry and those working in academia take notice,” College of Human Sciences Dean Susan Hubbard said.

This center focuses on preparing graduates for different careers in the vast hospitality sector with many hands-on learning opportunities. It will also provide elevated experiences to visitors through the 1856 teaching restaurant, a microbrewery, a coffee roastery and cafe, a luxury-level hotel and spa, a food hall, a rooftop venue with a sustainable garden, and more.

The Rane Culinary Science Center will take education to the next level by incorporating innovative teaching spaces and partnering with industry professionals through Ithaka Hospitality Partners (IHP), the managing operator of the center. Students will gain a real-world hospitality education as they train in every area of the facility.

Distinctive Study Options

Auburn University has been offering the Hospitality Management Program since 1987 and was initially offered as a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Since 2019, it evolved into a B.S. in Hospitality Management that offers three study options—Hotel and Restaurant Management, Event Management, and Culinary Science. Over the years, the program has evolved from being purely theory-driven, to a blended educational model where students are required to take a mix of combined lecture and laboratory-style classes. In these classes, they are guided, prepared, and exposed to real-world commercial projects and problems, rather than focusing on purely simulated learning environments.

The external operator Ithaka Hospitality Partners manages the on-site Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center and The Rane Culinary Science Center. It works with the faculty to ensure that all students are exposed to numerous practical operations as part of their curriculum. The IHP executive team serves as an affiliate faculty of the program and assists in helping students meet a 400-hour internship requirement and at least 600 hours of relevant on-program work experience.

Reputation and Recognition

The Hospitality Management Program (HOSP) at Auburn University aims to develop a future leadership team for the global hospitality management industry. The program not only values hard work and real-world experiences but also encourages social and ethical responsibility and diversity in a practically oriented and intellectually challenging learning environment. Credentialed faculty, real-time experience options, direct hands-on industry partnerships, and a state-of-the-art learning environment set the hospitality program apart from other programs. Graduate-level degrees at the master’s and doctoral levels are available in Hospitality Management.

It proudly boasts a 91 percent retention rate for the 2020-21 academic year and 90 percent of students found employment within 90 days following graduation. Being one of just 46 nationally accredited four-year programs worldwide by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA), the Auburn Hospitality Management Program has established a reputation for producing high-quality graduates that are highly sought-after.

The Culinary Science option within the Hospitality Management Program is currently one of only six education programs in the nation certified by the World Association of Chefs Societies. The Worldchefs Recognition is the only certification program offered internationally that evaluates culinary programs. 

Supporting Diversity

The Hospitality Management program at Auburn University emphasizes diversity and inclusion and integrates both as a core learning value in its curriculum. It believes that hiring faculty from various backgrounds is critical when it comes to educating students about an industry as globally focused and diverse as hospitality management.

To ensure diversity, it has appointed faculty from different parts of the world such as Australia, the Kingdom of Jordan, Ireland, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Jamaica, and the U.S. Additionally, in a campus-wide fundraising program, donors fully funded a proposed Hospitality Management Graduate School Workshop. This special project called “Creating a Pathway for Underrepresented Graduate Students” will provide crucial information, mentorship, and advice aimed at increasing diversity in the program.

Creating Future Hospitality Leaders

The AU hospitality management program hosts an annual Career and Internship Fair for students as numerous regional, national, and international recruiters from corporate offices participate in this event.

The program welcomes recruiters from many companies that wish to visit campus to engage students in internships and career opportunities. It consistently works with companies offering students many high-impact learning experiences that improve the competitive skills needed for employment after graduation. For example, 70 students had the opportunity to work at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Ga. in the Spring of 2022.

The capstone project of the events management track is the annual Hospitality Gala. This student-led event allows students to design and execute a formal dinner and a fundraiser that includes an impressive guest list. Each year, the Gala welcomes many renowned chefs, winemakers, and honorees from across the U.S. and the world who have showcased excellence in their respective fields. The program also arranges study tours such as the Epicurean Wine Tour and study abroad opportunities with the support of the Gala.

International Expansion

The Hospitality Management program focuses on global exposure, both in terms of the curriculum and the encouragement of studying abroad. It has a specialized Global Hospitality course that focuses on the nuances of doing business internationally. It provides students with excellent experiences in how local culture influences global business. Additionally, it strongly supports study abroad and encourages all students to complete a “for-credit” study abroad opportunity before graduation.

Learn more about Auburn University’s Hospitality Management Program at

Note to the Students:


READ MORE: The 10 Best Hospitality Institutes to Look out for in 2022

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The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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