College of Business > News & Events > Meet Joel Reynolds, New Undergraduate Programs Director in the School of Hospitality Leadership

Meet Joel Reynolds, New Undergraduate Programs Director in the School of Hospitality Leadership

Assistant Professor Joel Reynolds
Assistant Professor Joel Reynolds

Assistant Professor Joel Reynolds was recently named the new director of the undergraduate programs in the School of Hospitality Leadership (SHL) at the Driehaus College of Business. A trained chef and sommelier with more than 10 years of industry experience, Reynolds joined the college in 2019 to continue pursuing his passion of educating the next generation of food service and hospitality leaders, teaching courses that focus on food service and beverage management. He holds a doctorate in hospitality management from Iowa State University.

How did you become interested in hospitality?

Food service and hospitality have always been a major part of my life. Growing up near Hershey, Pa., and smelling the chocolate being made gave me an appreciation for food service. My first job was in food service at Hershey Park and I haven’t looked back since. I earned my bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University and worked as a chef in various restaurants, including a Relais & Chateaux fine dining property. I gained valuable experience in the industry and my love for food service and hospitality never faltered, but I soon realized that my true calling was in teaching and educating.

What are you looking forward to in your role as undergraduate programs director?

The faculty in the SHL are excellent educators and researchers and also an incredibly supportive resource. I am most excited to collaborate with them to further strengthen and elevate what we offer in our programs so that our curriculum is inclusive and supportive for all students studying hospitality at DePaul. I am also looking forward to working with the industry professionals on our school’s executive board to develop a curriculum that is cutting edge for the next generation of hospitality leaders.

What classes are you teaching this year?

I predominantly teach food and beverage courses and often have the opportunity to teach Introduction to Hospitality. This year I am excited to be teaching one of my favorite courses, Restaurant Operations, where students learn all of the various restaurant segments and the strategies needed to run a successful operation. Being a trained chef, I love the interaction with industry operators and the education that comes from going on restaurant site visits.

I will also be teaching the popular International Wine Education and Management course. In this course students learn all of the key grape varietals and growing regions. We also develop a wine tasting profile and discuss how to successfully pair food and wine.

What are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?

With four young children at home, my wife and I are quite busy. We both played soccer growing up, and now I am the coach for both of my daughters’ soccer teams.

Why should students major in hospitality management?

The hospitality industry makes up over 10% of all global jobs. The breadth of opportunities is limitless, from food service to event management, to lodging operations and travel and tourism management, to cruises and airlines.

In the SHL we provide students with more than just knowledge through classroom lectures. We provide access to major industry partners, facility excursions and networking opportunities. We also have a prestigious industry board, not to mention a premiere location. Chicago is an amazing laboratory of hospitality, with so many great examples of what hospitality management can be.

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