Doing and teaching, too | Inquirer News

Doing and teaching, too

Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

That certainly is true of many professors who never venture out of the academe but simply rely on a string of degrees in trying to prepare young people for the world outside.

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Of course, the result for many hapless students is that what they learn in the classroom and what the real world requires are completely out of sync.

Despite their diplomas, many graduates cannot find employment or have to settle for lower-paying jobs than they expected to get with their degrees.

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Faced with this reality, the Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) has decided to get someone who both does and teaches to make the transition from academe to the workplace as painless as possible for graduates—at least those from the College of International Tourism and Hospitality Management (CITHM).

It has just named Roberto “Bob” Zozobrado senior officer in charge of the college to take care of day-to-day operations.

LPU hopes Zozobrado can enrich instruction at CITHM to give students the actual knowledge and skills they would need to land the jobs they trained for.

As LPU president Roberto “Bobby” Laurel says, “With over 40 years of industry experience and the passion to produce the best graduates, it was an easy decision for me to ask (Zozobrado) to head the college.”

Zozobrado has been in the travel and tourism industry for 42 years since he started as a part-time employee of a tour agency in the United States. He has worked in sales, marketing and public relations for major airlines and travel firms and well-known hotels.

He has also developed an extensive network of contacts that LPU will certainly want to tap to give its students a more-rounded education and better preparation for the real work ahead of them.

Zozobrado said that while the college would follow the curriculum approved by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), actual instruction would be adapted to and modified according to real needs of the industry. Also to be taken into account is the hotel and restaurant management (HRM) syllabus of the Dusit Thani Hotel, with which LPU has a working partnership.

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Zozobrado says CHEd has a list of required subjects and Dusit has its own must-have programs so LPU’s HRM is a merger of the two.

Easing the transition

“The training would bridge academic structure with industry,” Zozobrado says. “We would be simplifying the academic structure, while complying with CHEd requirements, to make it easy for students to get connected with the real world.”

Toward the main goal of increasing the employability of CITHM graduates, Zozobrado will prioritize personality development and a good command of the English language. Knowledge of other foreign languages will be a bonus.

Good English will also be expected of the faculty and support staff.

With four decades of experience behind him, Zozobrado knows whereof he speaks when he says, “If you (student) package yourself well, you can hide your deficiencies.”

LPU has very good reason to ensure a high degree of employability for its graduates. It is currently the school of choice for most young people wanting to go into the exciting world of travel and hospitality.

Zozobrado says LPU has the biggest HRM student population, almost 9,000, among schools offering the course. Needless to say, LPU wants to solidify its reputation and stay at the top by enhancing the chances for employment of its graduates.

With global experts saying Asia, including the Philippines, will be the fastest-growing spot in the world in the next 10 years, Zozobrado says, “prospects are very bright” for the travel and hospitality industry and demand for skilled personnel will continue to rise, both locally and globally.

And with people no longer travelling simply for relaxation and recreation, CITHM has added a new program to its menu to cater to tourists who are more into health and fitness, even medical procedures.

The college now offers a new HRM course, major in health and wellness. “We are the only school (so far) that will open that course,” Zozobrado says. For this, CITHM will be collaborating with the College of Nursing.

Currently CITHM offers Bachelor of Science degrees in International Travel and Tourism Management (formerly BS Tourism); International Hospitality Management, specialized in hotel and restaurant administration (formerly
BS HRM); International Hospitality Management, specialized in cruise line operations in culinary arts; International Hospitality Management, specialized in cruise line operations in hotel services; International Hospitality Management, specialized in culinary arts and kitchen operations; International Hospitality Management, specialized in health and wellness.

Teaching expert

What makes Zozobrado an even better fit for LPU’s requirement is that he does not only know firsthand the ins and outs of the travel and tourism industry, he is also no stranger to the academe, having taught business communication at the Far Eastern University.

His teaching experience has given him a pretty good idea of how university instruction can be strengthened and enhanced to ensure that it achieves its purpose—prepare graduates for the jobs they aspire for.

Although he eventually expects to return to the classroom, probably teaching world tourism, tourism marketing and/or business communication, he will focus this year on getting the CITHM ship in order.

Zozobrado says, with the networks he has developed over the years, which he considers one of his strengths, they will have flexibility in planning the practicum program for students.

While the soon-to-open Bayleaf (English equivalent of the name Laurel, the family that owns the LPU system) Hotel, a stone’s throw away from the main Intramuros campus, is expected to be the training hub for CITHM students, he says his contacts would allow the college to venture outside the school for a more diversified experience for students.

Students can look forward to training in airlines, restaurants, travel agencies, placement companies and many more to get a better feel of the industry that will help them decide where they want to work after graduation.

Zozobrado also anticipates that his extensive connections will be tapped by the Culinary Institute, located beside the hotel and which opened this school year. He expects to be working closely with the institute as its programs and his college’s are complementary.

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TAGS: Education, hospitality, Lyceum of the Philippines, Roberto Zozobrado, Tourism
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