Factors influencing the effectiveness of school foodservice programs

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Thornton, Janey
Major Professor
Jeannie Sneed
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Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

The Department of Apparel, Education Studies, and Hospitality Management provides an interdisciplinary look into areas of aesthetics, leadership, event planning, entrepreneurship, and multi-channel retailing. It consists of four majors: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design; Event Management; Family and Consumer Education and Studies; and Hospitality Management.

The Department of Apparel, Education Studies, and Hospitality Management was founded in 2001 from the merging of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies; the Department of Textiles and Clothing, and the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management.

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2001 - present

Related Units

  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies (predecessor)
  • Department of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management (predecessor)
  • Department of Textiles and Clothing (predecessor)
  • Trend Magazine (student organization)

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District school foodservice directors are retiring in record numbers nationwide, and there is concern many of these positions are being filled with unqualified individuals. As federal and state legislation has changed the role child nutrition plays at the district level, school foodservice directors have greater administrative responsibilities to ensure these mandates are met. Realizing that in many cases the local board of education and superintendent may not recognize skills needed by a director to successfully operate a multifaceted foodservice program, there is concern that as the district school foodservice director's position becomes vacant, the position may be filled with an unqualified candidate. The purpose of this study was to determine if the educational background of school foodservice directors in the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Southeast region and the amount of time they dedicate to their foodservice program have an impact on program effectiveness.;Based on responses from state agency administrators, school districts in the Southeast USDA region had several characteristics that distinguished them from the other six USDA regions. Most states in the Southeast region had state requirements for the position of district school foodservice director and states that represented other USDA regions did not. Meal participation also was higher in the Southeast for both breakfast and lunch than for other regions.;In the Southeast USDA region, a relationship was evident between the size of a school district and the educational requirements of the district school foodservice director. As the districts increased in size, the educational requirements for the district school foodservice directors also increased. The majority of district school foodservice directors (n = 137, 77.9%) had college degrees and one third of them held teaching certificates. Although results indicated a weak but significant association between programs run by district school foodservice directors with college degrees and effectiveness of their programs, there was no indication the college major of district school foodservice directors had any affect on program effectiveness.;Most district school foodservice directors who responded to the questionnaire enjoyed their careers (n = 280, 92.1%). It was not surprising to find those who reported enjoying their work were more likely to have successful school foodservice programs, although the number who reported not to enjoy their career was small.;Interestingly, 91.4% (n = 278) of directors were in the 51-65 age range indicating a probability that many will be retiring in the next few years and new, well educated directors will be needed. State agency administrators of school foodservice programs reported that an average of 10 district school foodservice directors per state retired in the 2005-06 school year. With so many directors in an older age category, the likelihood the retirement rate will increase is high.;Of the 304 district school foodservice directors responding to the questionnaire, 39 (12.8%) had multiple administrative titles. Smaller districts had more district school foodservice directors performing multiple administrative tasks than larger districts. To draw any conclusions on the affect of multiple administrative duties on program effectiveness, additional studies with larger sample sizes would be needed.;The study confirmed that the majority of school districts will be replacing district school foodservice directors in the near future as current directors will be retiring. With that in mind, local, state, and national leaders should recognize that attention needs to be given to those individuals who will be replacing the current district school foodservice directors. As programs become more complex, adequate training and education for those filling these positions will be needed. A pool of candidates must be identified to ensure that the success of these programs will continue and the nutritional needs of America's school children are met. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2007