A Comparative study: First-year Hospitality Management students’ and lecturers’ expectations at higher education institutions in the Western Cape, South Africa
2017FBREC504: Ethical Clearance number
Students entering higher education institutions (HEIs) inevitably hold certain expectations, and identifying these expectations is essential to understanding the students’ thoughts about and attitudes toward higher education. Unmet expectations are among the reasons why first-year students drop out of university.
As representatives of their institutions, lecturers also have expectations of their students, and these set the standard for student academic success (Martin, 2010:1-2). It is a complaint among lecturers that most of their first-year students do not prepare for nor participate in class activities and that they consequently do not succeed in the first six months after registration (Rausch & Hamilton, 2006:317).
This study presents the expectations of first-year students and lecturers at HEIs offering hospitality management (HM) programs in Cape Town. The study further compares the findings from public and private institutions as well as students’ and lecturers’ expectations. There is limited research on the subject in South Africa, and this study is unusual in that it focuses on both first-year students and lecturers. The participants are drawn from three HEIs – one public and two private – and the results are compared.
A longitudinal research design and a mixed methods approach were used for the study following the post-positivism paradigm. Students and lecturers participated in the study. Convenience sampling was used to collect data from the first-year students and lecturers who consented to participate in the study. Three structured questionnaires with closed-ended questions and Likert-type items scored on a 4-point scale were handed out on three separate occasions (before classes started, after the first term and after the second term) to 120 students. Six semi-structured interviews were conducted with academic lecturers from both institutions. Questionnaire information was captured and analysed using SPSS version 24. Descriptive and inferential statistical analysis was used to interpret the data via percentages in data Tables and reliability results. Interview responses were captured and analysed by the researcher herself using Microsoft Excel and Word. The data were coded, and emerging themes were identified.
The results of the main findings revealed that students expect feedback from their lecturers (99.1%). They also anticipate readily available access to lecturers (91.6%), attending all the lectures (96.7%), having a group of close friends on campus (85%), enjoying lecturer support (90.8%), institutional support (100%), family support (98.3%), and spending 2 hours per day on studying after class (38.7%). The following main findings identified what lecturers expect from their first-year students in the form of themes; independence and hospitality background knowledge, study guide and communicating, feedback duration, motivational communication and assistance, lecturer availability and accessibility, missing class influences success, recommended study hours and class preparation, language barrier and different student backgrounds, time and workload management, pros and cons of group work. According to the lecturers, first-year students need to be more independent and have some general background knowledge about the HM industry when they enter a higher education institution (HEI). Lecturers expect the student to make an appointment before meeting privately with them to discuss work or just have a general conversation. Lecturers expect the students to attend all classes, as missing a class can snowball into dropping out. The lecturers also expect students to manage their time to be able to devote sufficient study time to studying on their own after class, anywhere between 30 minutes and 4 hours daily. The results show that students and lecturers have varying expectations, both academic and social.
The students’ and lecturers’ expectations from both public and private higher education were compared by looking at their similarities and differences, thus identifying the gap between students’ expectations and lecturers’ expectations. The identified gap is that students’ expectations are more focused on orientation, feedback, knowing their results to be motivated to work harder, study skills, reminding of upcoming tests and assignments and lecturers to provide all study materials for their studies. Whereas the lecturers’ expectations focused on group work, attending class, independent study hours, making the appointment to see the lecturer, independence, communication, maturity, responsibility, student to be focused and motivated as well as having some background knowledge of the hospitality industry. The students from the private HEIs had three additional expectations: they wanted lecturers to teach them study skills, remind them of upcoming tests and assignments, and provide all the materials they required for their studies. The lecturers from the public HEI also expected their students to be mature and responsible, while the lecturers from the private HEIs mentioned that they wanted their students to be focused, motivated and have some background knowledge of the hospitality industry.
These findings provide insight for academics within the HM field into the expectations of their first-year students and vice versa. This may help them to make certain adjustments to improve first-year students’ success rates and minimise drop-outs.
Is this dataset for graduation purposes?