Johnson & Wales, Charlotte
Johnson and Wales University: Charlotte (visited 3/19/18)
Although people know Johnson and Wales mostly for their Culinary Arts (including the Baking/Pastry Arts major) program, Business Administration is always the top major at the Charlotte campus. Other strong majors include:
- Sports Entertainment and Event Management
- Fashion merchandising and Retailing
- Hotel and Lodging Management
- Students who have completed the Culinary or Baking & Pastry AAS can roll into a couple different BA programs: Applied Food Science, Innovation and Technology or Food Service Management. One of the classes they take in junior year is to create a restaurant.
My tour guide was in the Baking and Pastry track, and she LOVES it. All the chefs have at least 10 years of experience so she feels that they’re learning from people who really know what they’re doing and know the industry. I walked by many of the “labs” and got to see the students working as well as trays full of their creations. I can see why a lot of the students don’t bother with regular meals on campus. “We do tend to eat a lot during labs!” said the tour guide. I toured on a day that they were doing their “finals” in labs, including 2 students who were doing a bartending rotation. “We have a ‘Sip and spit’ policy because most of the students are under 21,” the tour guide explained (although there’s a loophole that allows for underage students to drink small amounts – 1 ounce? – for educational purposes).
The school operates on a trimester system. During their lab trimesters (3 of the 6 for an AA), they complete five 9-day labs during the term. They go to lab for 6 hours a day, either from 7-1 or 1:45-7:45. Two of the trimesters are academics (nutrition, English, etc). These are Gen Ed requirements that they need to fulfill, “but they do try to make it relevant.”
The last trimester is for their internship. Almost all majors have an internships component. Charlotte is a financial hub, so the business students don’t have any shortage of places to work. “There are over 300 internship sites in Charlotte,” said the rep. Bank of America is a big one. The culinary and restaurant/tourism/hotel management students work at places like Biltmore, Disney (“They love JWU students!”), Hilton, and Marriott (they own the hotel next door!) Most are paid, but JWU will give stipends if it’s unpaid.
There are 4 JWU campuses. JWU-C has about 2,000 students, making it the 2nd largest of the 4 (Providence is about 4 times its size; Miami and Denver have several hundred fewer students). Students are able to switch between them as long as their major is offered at another site. Charlotte does not offer many of the computer- or art-based programs that Providence offers. The Charlotte campus opened in 2004 and is very much integrated into the city. It is slowly expanding with several buildings currently being rented from Bank of America.
Students must live on campus for 2 years unless living with family within 50 miles. Students live in 2-room suites. First year students can have cars on campus. Parking is $135/term with a discount for the full year. There are 6 Greek organizations for students to join, and I saw a lot of activities advertised on the boards around campus. The tour guide said that she was happy with the number of things to do, and certainly Charlotte offers a lot, as well. They can even walk to professional sports games.
Students need only to submit the application and a transcript for admissions; they are test-optional. They can submit extra documentation if they wish but it isn’t required. Students will be considered for a maximum merit scholarship of $18,000 (Presidential), but this could go up with the FAFSA. Tuition ($32,091) includes anything they’ll need for their program such as the uniform, knife kit, and all food for the labs.