An Inside Look at Johnson & Wales University #JWUNow

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As my regular readers know, Angeline just graduated from high school in June, and she had every intention of joining the Navy immediately after graduation…but after her boyfriend proposed, she decided to forgo those plans and stick close to home and enroll in a local college. Of course the family was thrilled that she wouldn’t be leaving Miami, but it left her in a bit of a confusing state as to what she was going to do as far as schooling! When we were invited to visit the Johnson & Wales University North Miami Campus, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for her to see what the whole college experience was like and give her a few options!

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Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with 16,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its 4 campuses in Providence, RI; North Miami, Fla.; Denver, Colo.; and Charlotte, NC. that was founded in 1914. Yes, it’s been around that long! Now, I actually knew someone who went to Johnson & Wales University for their College of Culinary Arts program a few years ago, and she’s a successful pastry chef at a nice restaurant in Fort Lauderdale now – so I know that Johnson & Wales University has helped some set out on their career path firsthand!

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The first part of the school we visited during our tour was the College of Culinary Arts, where we met the director of culinary operations, Chef Chris Wagner and saw the facilities.

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Now, Angeline doesn’t necessarily know what she wants to do as a career now that the Navy is off the table, so I thought that with her recently taking an interest in cooking, this was the PERFECT introduction to college for her! She got to see exactly what the classroom would look like, what kind of equipment they use and some of their finished products as well!

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Chef Wagner explained to us that all of the equipment was technologically advanced, and the kind of equipment you would find in a professional kitchen. They aren’t cutting any corners when it comes to their Culinary students – these ovens come from Europe!

A really nice treat during our tour was to see the Big Chef Little Chef program in action. JWU works with a local elementary school to bring students onto the campus to cook and eat a meal, it’s a lot of fun for them and a special treat!

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Now, one of my favorite parts of the tour was walking through the JWU edible landscape!! They grow a lot of their own produce and it’s all organic – they focus on farm to table in their Culinary labs.

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JWU has occasionally hosted special events where members of the community are are invited to enjoy a meal cooked by the students in the garden, and they source as many ingredients as possible from their own garden.

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Johnson & Wales University offers more than just a Culinary program; across the university’s four campuses, they also offer degree programs in arts and sciences, business, education, nutrition, hospitality, physician assistant studies, engineering and design! JWU has a unique model that integrates arts and sciences with an industry-focused educational experience with real-life work experience so that students have a better chance at professional success once they’ve completed their degrees.

They even have a real life, hands on approach to fashion merchandising and all things related to the fashion industry, with annual trips to New York City to get firsthand experience in the industry!

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At one point in our tour of the JWU North Miami Campus, the Dean of Academic Affairs, Dr. Michelle Garcia joined us and led the tour, and her enthusiasm for the school was so inspiring! You can really tell when someone loves their job, and it makes it that much more clear that the program benefits the students in life-changing ways. At Johnson & Wales, experience is the difference.

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What exactly does that mean? Well, as you can tell from the classrooms, which they call “labs,” they aren’t your typical classroom setting. Everything is designed to allow the students to work and learn in an environment that would be similar to the career field. Experiential learning is interwoven into all aspects of the degree programs, including internships. Student learn theory, through real world practice, projects in the classroom setting and specific learning labs. I really love this hands-on approach because that’s how I personally learn the most – by doing it.

Just take a look at one of the labs for the Hospitality classes; it’s set up like a real hotel lobby!

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The degree programs offered at Johnson & Wales University aren’t just certifications, they are ACTUAL degrees, which I’ll admit – I didn’t know that.

The North Miami Campus offers Associates and Bachelors Degrees in:

  • Baking & Pastry Arts (AS) and Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management (BS)
  • Business Administration (BS) and Business Studies (BS)
  • Criminal Justice (BS)
  • Culinary Arts and Food Service Management (BS) / Culinary Arts (AS) / Culinary Nutrition (BS)
  • Entrepreneurship (BSBA)
  • Fashion Merchandising & Retailing (BS)
  • Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship (BS) and Restaurant, Food & Beverage Management (BS)
  • Hotel & Lodging Management (BS) and Tourism & Hospitality Management (BS)
  • International Business (BSBA)
  • Management (BS)
  • Marketing (BS)
  • MBA
  • Software Engineering (BS)
  • Sports/Entertainment/Event Management (BS)

Some campuses also offer recreational classes, like Wine & Beverage Education. Doesn’t that sound like a fun thing for adults to enroll in?

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the Johnson & Wales University North Miami Campus and I hope that I’ve helped shed a little light on exactly what this cool University is all about! You can find out more on the JWU North Miami Website.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnson & Wales University. The opinions and text are all mine.

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