“Look at the TAs in the dish room washing up. It’s Saturday
and they’re here working,” says Kevin Duffy, dean of the College
of Culinary Arts in Providence. “Remember how you used to
clean the kitchen,” he teases Keith Boston ’85. Boston, director
of foodservice for Cumberland Farms Inc., is one of more than
two dozen alumni who returned to campus in April for a reunion
of teaching assistants Students become and fellows.
For more than three decades, there
have been teaching assistants — TAs
— and fellows at Johnson & Wales.
Paul McVety ’78, ’09 EdD, recalls
that culinary director Franz Lemoine
established the program in the mid-
’70s as a model for hands-on learning. In
addition to regular classes, select students
in culinary arts, hospitality and traveltourism
put in hours in JWU’s kitchens,
dining rooms, hotels and other service
venues to help professional staff teach.
During vacations, holiday breaks and
summers, TAs are on the job — baristas
at Starbucks®, working front desk and
night auditing at the Radisson or helping
students in culinary labs at Harborside
Academic Center. In return they earn
scholarship dollars and hourly pay.
Students apply, usually as juniors,
once they’ve completed a sophomore
internship. It’s a full-time job — a
32-hour work week at the TA level in
addition to classes. Fellows, usually more
experienced seniors who can move toward
a master’s degree and the Management
Development program, put in a 40-hour
week. Karen Miller has been director
of practicum internship programs since
1985. Back then there were fewer than
20 TAs and fellows a year; now classes
average 160. Programs are more fledgling
at other campuses.
In decades past, it was TAs and
fellows who helped ready and open
JWU’s first “practicum property,” the
Gustatorium, as well as the former Rhode
Island Inn and the Johnson & Wales Inn
in Seekonk, Mass.
“It really does prepare them for work
when they leave,” Miller says. Students
become good managers because they
learn how to multi-task and train others.
“That’s a hard thing to learn right out of
the box,” she adds. “It does give them an
edge to work for a school like this.”
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