The role of academic literacy in post-graduate hospitality education
Staff and students in the School of Hospitality and Tourism at AUT, and practitioners working in a number of hotels in Auckland, participated in a project investigating the role of academic literacy in postgraduate hospitality study. The project investigated stakeholders‟ perceptions as to what they regarded as appropriate standards of literacy and how challenges in this area could be addressed. First language speakers of English (L1) were overrepresented in the student cohort, yet even among this group it was apparent that academic writing was problematic. As well as linguistic and structuring difficulties, it appeared that the educational practices many had experienced in their undergraduate studies had not equipped them to communicate effectively in writing at this level.
Lecturers were concerned about the lowly status accorded to Hospitality in the academic world. It was a matter of concern that hospitality students, particularly at postgraduate level, be judged as the equal of their peers in other fields. While they shared a concern about students‟ ability to write effectively they were divided as to how the competing discourses of the academy and the industry should be managed. The practitioners were concerned that hospitality education at university level was not sufficiently practical. They did not feel that students‟ ability to write effectively was a major concern although they did want graduates to produce clear, succinct texts.
In this research suggestions have been made as to how these tensions might be addressed by the academic community. These include acknowledging the changing face of tertiary education and considering a more flexible approach to student writing; providing embedded discipline-specific academic literacy support utilising a team teaching approach with an EAP (English for academic purposes) practitioner; pursuing various feedback options on draft writing and acknowledging that writing skills are a „work in progress‟