Culinary

Bring your talent to the table.

If you want to enrich the world with your talent for creating amazing cuisine—or ambience—start by learning everything from kitchen skills to international flavors.

Program Areas

Culinary Management

Prepare to run both the kitchen and the front of the house, using your passion for food and your head for business to create a memorable dining experience.

Hospitality Food & Beverage Management

You can learn your way around both the front and back of the house while you prepare for the challenge of bringing something new to the table for demanding consumers.

Meet our Faculty

  • Collen Engle

    Culinary Management

    "To stay vital and current in our industry, you have to challenge yourself to learn something new every day."

    Read More
    Collen Engle

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I was in college—not studying culinary—and working for a high-end catering company that arranged parties for exclusive clients. I was so impressed with the food quality, the presentation, and the enjoyment of the people eating food in a social gathering, that I really began to think this could be my career path.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    Relating my own industry experience as a cook, chef, consultant and restaurant owner makes me seem more "real" to students, and helps them relate classroom learning to the real world. I also provide a bio that details my experience and opens students’ eyes to opportunities available to them as graduates.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    The class that resonates most with me is Management by Menu—specifically the creation of a restaurant-ready menu. Using my experience as a restaurant owner, teaching menu classes, and having seen examples of menus from all styles of restaurants for the past 20 years, I encourage my students to use their creative skills and personal experiences to create the kind of menu that they’d want to be handed. I want them to be proud of their work, and to use the menu as a tool for helping design and implement their own business concept.

    What are the benefits of teaching an online course?

    I’d say convenience and flexibility, a richer teacher-student experience, and the chance to get to know each student better. There’s more exchange between students—not just the ones that typically speak up in an on-ground class. Every student is treated equally, and the online environment encourages students who are more shy to speak their mind and contribute. In addition, I find that I can add value to the class at any point during the week.

    What are the benefits of an online education for students?

    Again, I’d say convenience and flexibility, along with being able to continue your career while still attending school. You’re a part of a community of learners who are engaged from all parts of the world, being exposed to a variety of skilled teachers with a wide range of of experience.

    What are the most student-friendly features of an online education?

    Online students get an enhanced classroom with video, storyboards, and links to material. They can showcase their talents through projects including facility design, menu creation and virtual tastings. They can express themselves in their own voices by writing assigned papers, as well as sharing their videos, links, photos, drawings and other material.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?


    The discussion threads and the assignments allow for open dialogue between students so they can learn from each other. I encourage them to go beyond the "good job" comment, to add something substantial to the discussion that contributes to further learning—whether it’s a video, a web link, a personal experience, or constructive criticism.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Never stop learning. I believe the education we give them is just the beginning. To stay vital and current in our industry, you have to challenge yourself to learn something new every day.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    To be successful, you have to be well-rounded. Creativity comes naturally for most students. They need to embrace other life skills in order to succeed—English, math, computer and social networking, writing and public speaking.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    All of my industry experience allows me to relate to the online student...both their difficulties and their successes.

    Read More...
  • DaShawn Hall

    Game Art & Design

    "It's just not about a 4.0 GPA. It's about truly learning the techniques and producing the best work possible."

    Read More
    DaShawn Hall

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I’ve always been a creative person. I started to draw at a very early age, and I always wanted to create comic books. I got into publishing in my freshman year of college, which led to working in fine arts—sculpture and watercolor—and traditional animation, and from there to the fairly new medium of 3D animation. The complexity of that was really exciting to me.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    My background is pretty diverse. I started out as a pre-med student, then switched my minor to Fine Arts. I ended up spending more time in the studio than the science labs so I can relate to students looking to change careers, along with those who have a passion to be in the industry. I encourage them to network, show their work to industry professionals, and get as much feedback as possible.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I think the final projects in each course I teach are great ways to show students exactly what they’ll be facing in the real world. Presentation is the key to be success in the industry, and the final project teaches students to keep working until they’ve created the presentation that best showcases their final project.

    What are the benefits of teaching an online course?

    It’s a very different way of interacting with students. I'm able to really push my students to a professional level. Due to the accelerated nature of online courses, the projects I assign demand the same time management skills that students will need to be successful in the industry.

    What are the benefits of an online education for students?

    The online programs help students learn time management. Also, I think studying online can work better for non-traditional students because they often want to further their career or make a career change.

    What are the most student-friendly features of an online education?

    And with so much digital technology available now—and so much more being developed every day—students are encouraged to use all of that technology to the fullest.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?


    Collaboration is how the industry works. I love projects and courses that foster teamwork, because they teach students not only about working in groups, but how to manage their time.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    The more you work on a project to polish the presentation, but better the artwork will turn out. And the more you practice the techniques, the quicker you’ll master them.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    I think the main challenge students have is learning from failure. It’s just not about a 4.0 GPA. It’s about truly learning the techniques and producing the best work possible.

    Read More...
  • Deborah Baxtrom

    Media Arts & Animation

    Read More
    Deborah Baxtrom

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    There were several. As far back as I can remember I was writing and illustrating stories. When I was about 13, I decided I wanted to work in visual media, primarily in films, either as a screenwriter or director. In my senior year of high school, I took a creative writing class. My instructor’s encouragement and praise gave me the confidence to try to make my dreams a reality.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I share my own experiences as they relate to the subject to add a real-world context. And any time a student doesn’t seem to see the value in a particular assignment or skill set, I let them know why it matters in the field they plan to enter. That usually helps students focus on the material.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching, mentoring, and pushing your students beyond their own perceived limits?

    I find that when creating stories, many students focus on the plot at the expense of character development; they tend to create characters like the ones they've seen before. But when I ask what draws them to certain stories, whether in a game or animation, they almost always mention the characters. I use this approach to push them toward developing characters that are unique.

    What are the benefits of teaching an online course?

    For me the most important benefit is flexibility. I'm also a working writer, so teaching online allows me to attend meetings and events, and also make time each day for writing. I can answer students' questions and help them work through issues more frequently online rather than just once or twice a week, as I would in a classroom setting.

    What are the benefits of an online education for students?

    Most of my students have other responsibilities just like I do, and studying online means they can earn an income and raise a family while still pursuing their education. It also cuts back on the time, stress, and expense of commuting to an on-ground campus.

    What are the most student-friendly features of an online education?

    Creative students tend to enjoy working independently, and an online education allows them that freedom. They can work on projects and attend class at their own pace throughout the week. They can create and share art, videos, and other work online with relative ease. And they don't need to work around someone else's schedule. I know some people who do their best work late at night, while others prefer early morning. Without the stress of commuting, students can focus on their projects whenever and however they like, knowing they can instantly share their work when they're ready.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    I stress originality. There’s so much redundancy in visual stories and characters these days. I tell students that original stories and characters will set them apart from the competition.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Each student is at a different place in their academic and creative journey. I try to help them reach their own personal next level of success, rather than expecting each to achieve the same level of quality in their work.

    Read More...
  • Sheena Gao

    Fashion Marketing & Management

    "Like any creative field, the fashion industry is highly dynamic. Be comfortable with yourself and be flexible with change. Ride the creative wave."

    Read More
    Sheena Gao

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    There were many moments…the first time I saw the world as a child. The first time I picked up a colored pencil to draw the sun. Seeing my parents’ architecture designs. Being awed by the images of National Geographic and mesmerized by the sound of a symphony. I never doubted my passion for creativity.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    Rather than relying just on traditional lecture, I try to bring real-life scenarios and challenges into the classroom to help students get a well-rounded understanding of the creative process. They not only gain the knowledge of the subject, but also gain industry-relevant experience. It’s an interactive experience that’s a fun and effective way to learn.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I believe in learning by doing. I teach a fashion class called Research and Sourcing Fundamentals. I send students to the garment district after they complete their research, so they can have their designs made by one of the manufactures after all criteria are met. It’s scary for students to go face-to-face with garment industry professionals, but the process gives students the confidence having real-world knowledge. They not only learn the theory, they understand critical things like timeline and communication challenges, quality control, cost control, and specification accuracy.

    What are the benefits of teaching an online course?

    It allows me to share my industry experience and expertise with students across the nation.

    What are the benefits of an online education for students?

    Working online gives anyone who wants to pursue a higher education the flexibility to do so in the comfort of their own home and on their own schedule.

    What are the most student-friendly features of an online education?

    Online classes encourage students to think and learn independently, and give them the freedom to explore their creative spirit. Those students not only learn the course material, they develop more complex problem-solving skills.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    We never work in vacuum in the fashion industry; we work with people from many backgrounds. Most of my classes feature team collaboration projects where students learn to work as a team, when to compromise, how to communicate with team members, to put aside their egos to achieve a team goal. It’s all about keeping your eye on the big picture, and it’s key to being successful the profession.

    What’s your one piece of advice for a student embarking on a creative career?

    Like any creative field, the fashion industry is highly dynamic. Be comfortable with yourself and be flexible with change. Ride the creative wave.

    Read More...