The FINANCIAL — Last week, 240 hospitality educators from 105 vocational schools and universities across 22 provinces in China participated in the four-day Marriott China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI) Teaching Conference.
A visionary project of The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, CHEI was initially funded with a commitment of RMB 40.5 million (USD 6.5 million). The initiative engages educators and industry leaders in enhancing hospitality education, leading to rewarding careers for the next generation of China hospitality leaders.
Held at Shanghai Marriott Hotel Parkview with the theme, “Building Bridges to the Future…Connecting Industry and Education,” this invitation-only educational event served as a platform for improving hospitality education by sharing teaching methods, best practices and teaching-learning resources. Select educators also completed hospitality certification courses offered by American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) and STR. School presidents, government officials and Marriott International leaders, including Craig S. Smith, president and managing director of Asia Pacific, joined attendees for various conference sessions and a gala dinner to network and show their support, according to Marriott International.
“We are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response to CHEI programs from schools and our industry advisor, Marriott International,” said Anne L. Gunsteens, Executive Director, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.
“Since CHEI launched in 2013, more than 450 teachers from 67 partner schools have participated in CHEI programs, such as field trips to area hotels and guest lectures on campus. In addition, more than 200 of these teachers have completed faculty internships at Marriott International hotels. Each activity at this conference was thoughtfully planned to immerse the educators in a learning laboratory—an unparalleled opportunity to experience real-world customer service and get an insider’s view of hotel operations.”
“We are so grateful to our CHEI partner schools for their efforts and support the past three years,” said Joy Dong, CHEI project director. “The teachers and administrators are our CHEI ambassadors. The schools represented at the Teaching Conference reflect the far-reaching and growing influence of CHEI. Through CHEI programs, such as the Teaching Conference, educators gain industry exposure, learn new teaching techniques and leave with greater confidence to prepare the next generation of hospitality leaders.”
“The Chinese hospitality & tourism market has grown at an unprecedented rate over the past decade,” said Carl H. Winston, managing director of CHEI and director of San Diego State University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “As a result, China’s education system has been challenged to help young people be prepared to serve at international, world-class venues. CHEI offers a portfolio of programs that are China-centric and schools are adopting the ones that best suit their needs to prepare their students for career success as the industry evolves.”
“Through CHEI programs, we have enhanced networking with our peers nation-wide and increased our influence and teaching strengths,” said President Wang Yuan Hao, Anhui Zhong-Ao Institute of Technology. “Our school has a short history and many majors unknown to the public. However, since partnering with CHEI, our school is now well recognized. We have entered an advanced level in the country offering the most outstanding hospitality and tourism major in Anhui province.”
“We are so grateful to work with CHEI and our school benefits tremendously,” said Shi Mei Shan, vice director of Hospitality and Tourism School of Qingdao Hotel Management College. “CHEI is a leading force to help hospitality education. About 5,000 students who recently graduated from our school have already benefited greatly from CHEI.”
Cui Yu Fan, dean of Management Department, East University of Heilongjiang said, “I feel honored and privileged to be at the Teaching Conference. It is not only an incredible gift, but it also demonstrates the progress we have made through this cooperation based on the fact that we share the Marriott Foundation’s values of helping students and the community.”
Over the next year, CHEI intends to continue to build on its success, further localize programs and increase its capacity to meet the growing demand for CHEI programs from schools across mainland China.