Local Students Earn College Credit Through Sullivan's Renowned Culinary Program
A growing number of Northern Kentucky high school students are earning college credits through their schools' articulation agreements with the renowned culinary program at Sullivan University's National Center for Hospitality Studies.
Louisville-based Sullivan - which opened a Northern Kentucky campus in Ft. Mitchell earlier this year - currently has articulation agreements with Highlands, Campbell County, Grant County, and Williamstown High Schools, and is working to forge similar agreements with other Northern Kentucky schools.
Sullivan is also promoting additional articulation agreements in business and information technology to Northern Kentucky high schools as well as its JumpStart program, which allows students to take up to four Sullivan classes for free while they are still in high school. Their only expense is the textbooks required for the classes.
"Sullivan University has great opportunities and programs for high school students to take college classes at only the cost of books," said Katelyn Phillips, Family and Consumer Science Teacher at Campbell County High School. "Our students love taking the culinary arts classes offered at the high school. They get to learn trendy cooking techniques as well as operating a student-ran catering business for our school and community.
"We do so much hands on cooking and learning, the students see how this real world skill is beneficial to them and how they can use these techniques in the future," Phillips said.
Sullivan University Provost Dr. Kenneth Miller said articulation agreements allow parents and students to save money on tuition costs while providing students with a chance to earn college credits while still in high school.
"At Sullivan University, we know that the cost of college weighs heavily on the minds of students and their parents," Dr. Miller said. "With this in mind, we crafted these agreements with the idea of bringing down the cost of college while letting a student finish a degree program faster.
"It's a win-win-win situation," he said. "Students win by getting to start their careers faster. Parents win by saving thousands of dollars off the cost of their children's education. Sullivan University wins by attracting high quality students who decided to get jump starts on their college educations while still in high school."
Sullivan University's National Center for Hospitality Studies (NCHS) has earned a reputation over the past three decades as one of the top hospitality schools in the nation. The American Culinary Federation accredits Sullivan's Culinary Arts program and has designated it as "exemplary".
Sullivan's culinary articulation agreements covers selected high schools courses and includes students scores on competency-based exams offered through the university. Students can also take tuition-free Sullivan University courses for only the costs of textbooks.
Marlee Barton, the Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, said she knew very little about Sullivan before touring the Lexington and Louisville campuses at the beginning of the school year.
"It is amazing what they are doing there," Barton said. "They have offered awesome opportunities for teachers to learn more about the food and culinary content along with hands-on experiences. At the beginning of the school year, I took a few seniors to Lexington Sullivan University and they did a Chef Shadow with them. They prepared food all morning, learning new things that they may have not learned in my class. It was amazing."
The articulation agreements are designed to provide a pathway for students interested in pursuing a career in culinary arts. Once enrolled at Sullivan, students spend most of their time perfecting their cooking techniques, learning new methods in top-of-the-line kitchen labs on Sullivan's Louisville and Lexington campuses and gaining real-world experience through practicum's and externships at top restaurants.
"As a teacher, I know that students love to eat and want to learn how to cook," Phillips said. "But they’ve also seen how this real world skill is beneficial to them and how they can use these techniques in the future. I’ve taught my students how broad the culinary industry is and how many jobs are available; this really opens their eyes to other opportunities within this demanding industry."
In Highlands Culinary Pathway program, which includes three courses, students learn about food preparation skills, menu planning, food safety and sanitation, food service management, special health concerns and diets as well as the skills necessary to prepare for a career in the culinary arts profession.
"In Culinary 1, which is the course that introduces students to the culinary industry, we do many catering orders for the community, school and district," Barton said. "There is a lot of cooking in this class. In Culinary 2, the advanced course, students are also in charge of our catering business as well.”
Like at Campbell County, many of the students who take the classes want to learn how to cook.
"However," Barton said, "we discuss things like the explosion of foodies and why that is happening, farm to table, and talk about the locally-owned restaurants that are in the area and it really interests them."
For those considering studying culinary arts at Sullivan, current students say that the experience is invaluable.
"I’ve learned that Sullivan University has great programs to help students get a head start in their studies if they are planning on attending the school," Phillips said.
Photo: Sullivan University's Center for Learning in Ft. Mitchell (RCN file)