Students at The Culinary Institute of America in Unique Educational Exchange with West Point and Pratt Institute

CIA and Pratt Institute students
CIA and West Point students

Partnership Among Three Colleges at the Forefront of Experiential Learning Trend

Media Contact:

Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

Hyde Park, NY – Culinary students are leaving their comfort zones and routines to experience other learning environments in a new partnership between The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and other prestigious colleges in their respective fields: The United States Military Academy (USMA) and Pratt Institute.

Through this partnership, West Point cadets and Pratt design students came to the CIA's Hyde Park campus on separate visits this fall. Students from those two colleges teamed with CIA students in kitchen classrooms to design, cook, and plate their menu ideas. Ten CIA seniors also visited West Point, sitting in on their classes and participating in training exercises. Another group of CIA students will soon be visiting Pratt's campus in Brooklyn, NY.

"My eyes were opened to a whole new world that I have desperately wanted to know more about," CIA senior Leah Pfeiffer said after a day of immersion into the campus culture at West Point. "As the granddaughter of an Army soldier, I didn't realize how hungry I was for insight into his life."

"While the subjects of study in military, design, or culinary education are all different, the process and structure of learning at all three institutions share numerous parallels," said Dr. Michael Sperling, CIA vice president of academic degree programs. "The visits to each other's campuses allow students to get out of their normal comfort zone and take on the creative challenge of mastering new skills and approaches. In this process, they all reflected on the incredible learning that took place in completely different settings than they are accustomed to."

Dr. Sperling notes that experiential learning is a growing trend in higher education, and many other colleges are trying to catch up to the CIA in that area. The majority of the CIA's curriculum has always integrated kitchen, lab, and industry learning with concepts and theory.

Photo Captions and Hi-Res Image

Photo 1: Students from The Culinary Institute of America and Pratt Institute not only cooked together, but also designed how the dishes would be presented during an experiential learning exchange at the CIA's Hyde Park, NY campus. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Photo 2: Students from The Culinary Institute of America learned about life as a West Point cadet during an experiential learning exchange at the United States Military Academy in fall 2013. (Photo credit: CIA/Phil Mansfield)
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Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 45,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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