Industry engagement with tourism and hospitality education: An examination of the students’ perspective
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© 2015 Editorial matter and selection: Dianne Dredge, David Airey and Michael J. Gross. Solnet et al. (2007) argue that tourism-related fields can be thought of as applied subject areas. This means that academics, students and curricula develop and benefit from close links with industry (Cooper & Westlake, 1998). Some authors (e.g. Cooper & Westlake, 1998; Busby, 2003, 2005; Solnet et al., 2007) criticize tourism linkage strategies in many education institutions; this is because they are often haphazard, lack vision, focus, commitment and resources. Due to the traditional importance of universities as research centres and sources of innovation, a review of relevant literature sources indicates that most studies of industry engagement have revolved around knowledge transfer and tourism innovation (e.g. Shaw & Williams, 2009; Baggio & Cooper, 2010; Weidenfeld et al., 2010). Few literature sources have considered the impacts of industry engagement on the enhancement of the teaching experience. Moreover, many papers have been written from a university or industry perspective. As the key stakeholder of such engagement, the students’ voice is missing in the research (Chapleo & Simms, 2010). Higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK face challenges from many different directions, and the institutions’ value to students and also wider society is regularly questioned (Department for Business Innovation and Skills, 2009, 2011; Gannon & Maher, 2012). A lack of a clear understanding of the students’ expectations and experiences in such relevant engagements generates serious problems when trying to integrate the tourism industry with tourism and hospitality education.
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