As a land-grant university, UNL embraces Extension as central to its mission. My philosophy for Extension is to take a bottom-up, needs-based and collaborative approach to have a more meaningful impact enhancing best practices in the Food and Beverage industry. A bottom-up approach revolves around the inclusion of all stakeholders, their ideas, and their perceptions to make the most informed decisions. This work includes:
- Integrating Extension with my teaching to effectively plan and implement Extension programs as well as documenting impact.
- Discovering new knowledge through exploration with students and other industry collaborations and translating these findings to Extension programs.
- Using the impacts of my Extension efforts to inform stakeholders about the importance of foodservice training and education, which is a critical step in determining the public value of these programs and advancing the scholarship of Extension through addressing the critical needs in the industry.
- While developing, implementing and evaluating Extension programs, I utilize various frameworks from a constructivist perspective to a servant leader approach. A constructivist perspective allows me to understand how my audience learns and how they construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world through their experiences. A servant leadership approach helps me to connect with my audience and gain their trust, which acts as the foundation for learning.
- Planning training programs, workshops, and camps based on the needs, relevance, motivators, facilitators, and barriers of the targeted clientele while they benefit directly from specific needs-based tailored programs. This approach helps in evaluating programs and delivery methods to assess potential changes or adaptations to be made to the program for future implementation.
EXTENSION GOALS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Nebraska has more than 4100 foodservice establishments and employs over 96,000 employees generating over 3.3 billion dollars in annual revenue. By 2030, 17.2 million people in the US will be employed in the restaurant industry and a projected annual sale of 1.2 trillion dollars. As of 2019, restaurant and foodservice jobs in Nebraska generated over 9% of employment in the state and by 2029, that number is projected to grow by 7.5% which is an additional 7,300 jobs, for a total of 104,200. The projected growth demonstrates the need to train food service employees on best practices and safe food handling culture.
The National Restaurant Association reports more than 8 million restaurant employees were laid off or furloughed due to COVID-19, and the industry lost over $270 billion in sales during the first 12 months of the pandemic. Recovery is projected to be uneven and there will be trying times ahead for the industry. I am committed to developing meaningful programs and ideal learning environments for food service professionals to provide safe and exceptional service in Nebraska and beyond.
PRIMARY EXTENSION PROGRAMS
- Child Nutrition Training Academy
- Restaurant Academy
- Restaurant Management Decision Making Online Tools
- Customer Service Excellence 101+
These five programs include the following food service management-related goals which were established through my Extension efforts:
- Improve high school student's culinary and management skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry through established curriculum development.
- Enhance the school lunch program to provide balanced dietary intake, promote higher satisfaction, and improve health among children through improving public school foodservice managers’ serving practices.
- Increase Nebraska foodservice provider's knowledge about best practices to support them in providing safe food and exceptional service, while maintaining high industry management standards.