Penn State Berks, MCCC receive grant to develop free course materials

Written by Lisa R. Baldi, Director of Strategic Communications at Penn State Berks.

Students studying hospitality management and entrepreneurship will save money on textbooks, thanks to a grant from Pennsylvania Grants for Open and Affordable Learning. Dr. Pauline Milwood and Sarah Hartman-Caverly, both from Penn State Berks, along with Shawn Murray of Montgomery County Community College received a Cycle 1 Open Educational Resource Development Grant in the amount of $14,000 to develop and publish an entrepreneurship-focused, real-world business guide for students.

Milwood, assistant professor of hospitality management and principal investigator on the grant, developed Penn State Berks’ first pop-up restaurant in 2018. The project was part of the hospitality management capstone course titled “Advanced Food Production and Service Management” and it has become an annual event. Students are tasked with planning, developing and running a fine dining pop-up restaurant, working in partnership with local chefs, restaurant owners, and décor providers who serve on the college’s Hospitality Management Advisory Board.

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The grant project has two objectives: To provide a zero-cost OER text-alternative to students in the capstone course at Penn State Berks, other Penn State campuses and post-secondary hospitality management education institutions; and to provide an operational, marketing, and financial restaurant business guide as a resource to learning environments where students are involved with real-world experiential entrepreneurial projects.

“The OER is adaptable to learning environments where the real-world experience requires students to produce haute cuisine in a mobile food truck context, gymnasium, or classroom; and can be adaptable and transferrable to pop-up enterprises outside of the hospitality domain,” explains Milwood.

Milwood is working in conjunction with team members Sarah Hartman-Caverly, reference and instruction librarian, Penn State Berks Thun Library, and Shawn Murray, assistant professor of tourism and hospitality management and interim director of the Culinary Arts Institute, Montgomery County Community College.

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“One of the aims of PA GOAL is to create affordable and accessible materials across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Given this emphasis, we saw the opportunity to involve Montgomery County Community College for collaborative input on key aspects of culinary and food-and-beverage focused content to be included in the OER. From a future articulation / transfer agreement perspective, we saw the OER project as an opportunity to strengthen the increasingly important relationship between Penn State Berks and community colleges, which house fast-growing hospitality education programs.”

Photo submitted by Penn State Berks.

In addition to hospitality management students, the OER is anticipated to benefit entrepreneurship education students, hospitality management and tourism instructors, and entrepreneurship education instructors.

The OER is scheduled for publication in June 2022 and will be piloted at Penn State Berks and Montgomery County Community College in fall 2022.

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