Award Date


Degree Type

Professional Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Hotel Administration


Hotel Administration

First Committee Member

Anthony Gatling

Number of Pages



In the past five years, hospitality educational programs have seen a distinct decline in enrollment from year to year (Oakley, 2016). Upon reflection of this decline, there could be many reasons, which caused a consecutive downward trajectory regarding enrollment. First, individuals are finding that a formal degree is not required for entry-level positions in the hospitality industry. Second, people are utilizing technology and videos to substitute for formal education and are finding success in the entry-level hiring process. Third, this generation does not see the value in formal education for entry-level employment. True as that might be, trends have shown that these individuals forego formal education completely and immediately enter into the workforce (Hersh, 2015). However, these individuals work for a short period of time and discover that promotion is not attainable since they lack the proper skill-set essential for leadership roles.

Brownell and Chung (2001) argued that hospitality curriculum may not be offering the right knowledge and skills to individuals seeking future work and that a change must be made in higher education to address the issue. Perhaps the notion is that individuals need more than technical skills in order to succeed in their careers. If this statement is true, then putting forth changes to the curriculum in order to fill gaps in education is the first step to accomplishment.

This paper examines whether competency based learning (CBL) in higher education is predictive of leadership outcomes in the hospitality industry. Within the higher education framework, competency based learning focuses on theory supported skill development and the application of concepts in scenario-based and problem-based assessments. More importantly, competency based learning emphasizes student advancement via demonstrated mastery of competencies that are specific, measureable and are learning objectives that empower students. In addition, the student learning outcomes stress competencies that include application and creation of knowledge along with the development of important skills and dispositions. Finally, CBL allows students to learn skills vital to leadership success in the hospitality industry.


Hospitality education; Hospitality curriculum


Business | Educational Leadership | Hospitality Administration and Management

File Format


File Size

607 Kb

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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