New Certificate Programs at Kent State Ashtabula

ASHTABULA, Ohio – Kent State University at Ashtabula launched online certificate programs last year in hospitality management and event management.

The viticulture and enology programs – the first wine degrees offered in the state – also expanded with the addition of a brewing technology certificate.

The new programs are among several highlights at the campus in 2021, according to Jason A. Tirotta, communications manager.

The hospitality management certification covers a wide range of aspects associated with the industry, including management technology, food production, operations, casino and club management, legal issues, professional practices and more. 

The event management certification covers many of those same topics, but also focuses on business practices, catering and banquet management, weddings and ceremonies, and fundraising events. Graduates will be expected to fully participate in planning and executing different types of events.

Each program can be completed in as little as two semesters. 

“The hospitality industry is dynamic and full of employees from diverse backgrounds and educational levels,” says Mandy Ulicney, associate lecturer. “If you have a passion for the industry and would like to advance your career, this certificate program could be perfect for you.”

The completely online platform was created to meet the needs of those working in the industry and allows students interested in improving their career prospects an affordable way to take classes on their own schedule. 

Each certificate program requires 20 total credit hours and is designed for completion in two semesters. However, each program track can be modified or extended based on the desires of the student.

Previously, a hospitality management certificate was offered as an in-person only option.

Pairing the convenience of the online delivery with affordability, courses through the Ashtabula campus are offered at tuition rates often 40% below the cost of in-state public residential campuses, Tirotta says.

These certificates are part of a “stackable degrees” option, designed to meet all levels of need within the tourism and hospitality industries.  The courses in the certificate path count for college credit and students can then choose to continue to pursue an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree at Kent State.

The brewing certificate provides education and hands-on learning for those interested in the growing craft beer industry.

“Growth in the brewing industry has been exponential in the last 10 years, particularly in Ohio,” says Lori Lee, Kent State Ashtabula viticulture and enology program liaison. “This is a natural extension of the enology program because much of the chemistry and biology are similar in brewing and winemaking.”

The brewing certificate covers 21 credit hours of course work including courses in sensory evaluation, sanitation, microbiology and molecular principles. There are several crossover courses with the enology certificate and degree programs. The certificate also connects to the hospitality management major, as 18 of the 21 credit hours are transferrable to that bachelor’s degree.

Kent State Ashtabula’s brewing technology certificate mirrors that of the viticulture and enology programs by offering a hybrid plan of study – online courses and lectures combined with on-campus lab experiences.

In the fall of 2021 Kent State Ashtabula Wines, a partnership between the viticulture and enology programs and boutique winery Laurello Vineyards, released its fourth wine vintage.

The campus also began a two-year, $180,000 Ohio Grape Industries Committee research project in conjunction with the Ashtabula Agricultural Research Station, a division of the Ohio State University.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.