Johnson & Wales University (J&W or JWU) is an American private, nonprofit, co-educational, career-oriented research university with five campuses located throughout the United States. Providence, Rhode Island is home to JWU's first and largest campus. Founded as a business school in 1914 by Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales, JWU currently has 17,230 students enrolled in business, counseling psychology, culinary arts, education, engineering, equine management, hospitality, and technology programs across its campuses.
The University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEAS&C), through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
Johnson & Wales University operates campuses in five locations: the main Providence, Rhode Island campus housing JWU's business, hospitality, and technology programs (called Downcity and opened in 1914) with a subsidiary campus housing JWU's culinary and graduate programs (called Harborside and opened in 1985) in Cranston, Rhode Island; North Miami, Florida (opened in 1992); Denver, Colorado (opened in 2000); and Charlotte, North Carolina (opened in 2004). (Two previous campuses in Charleston, South Carolina (opened in 1984) and Norfolk, Virginia (opened in 1986), were gradually consolidated into the Charlotte campus, starting in September 2003 and ending in May 2006 with the closures of the Norfolk and Charleston campuses).
Special approaches to career education at Johnson & Wales University (JWU) have evolved over nearly a century's time and continue to adapt as JWU responds to the changing needs of business and industry. JWU was founded as a business school in 1914 in Providence, R.I. by Gertrude I. Johnson and Mary T. Wales. From its origins as a school devoted to business education, JWU grew to become a junior college, a senior college, and finally a university.
The university became well established because of its strong commitment to specialized business education and the high ideals of its founders. In 1993, JWU received regional accreditation from the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Accredited since 1954 by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, JWU consolidated its institutional accreditation under NEASC on June 30, 2000.
In 1963, the State of Rhode Island granted a charter which authorized the university to operate as a nonprofit, degree-granting institution of higher learning and to award associate degrees in the arts and sciences. In 1970, the Rhode Island General Assembly approved a revision in the university’s charter to award baccalaureate degrees. In 1980, Rhode Island Governor J. Joseph Garrahy and Rhode Island legislature granted a legislative charter authorizing the university to award advanced degrees.
The charter was amended in 1988, changing the institution’s name to Johnson & Wales University. In 1992, Bruce Sundlun, the governor of Rhode Island at the time, signed a new legislative charter into law that codified JWU's university status.
A new career emphasis was introduced at JWU in 1973, when the university announced the opening of what is now known as the College of Culinary Arts and the addition of an associates degree program in that field. This proved to be one of the most far-reaching changes in the educational expansion of the university, leading to additional two- and four-year degree programs in the hospitality and food service fields.
In 1984, a JWU campus was established in Charleston, S.C., which offered a variety of two- and four-year programs in food service, hospitality, and travel-tourism. A Norfolk, Va. campus opened to the public in 1986, offering one- and two-year food service programs.
In 1985, graduate degree programs and later a doctorate in education were introduced at the university through the Alan Shawn Feinstein Graduate School and School of Education, based at the Providence Harborside campus.
In 1992, under a joint educational agreement, the university began programs on the campus of the IHM Business School in Göteborg, Sweden. JWU established a formal, independent learning site there from 1994–2004 giving business and hospitality students the opportunity to complete one year of study in Sweden and finish their degrees at one of the university’s domestic campuses.
Also in 1992, JWU opened another campus in North Miami, Fla., which offers degree programs through the College of Business, College of Culinary Arts, and the Hospitality College.
That year also marked the university’s formal establishment of the College of Business, the Hospitality College, the College of Culinary Arts, and the School of Technology. A new emphasis on general studies was introduced in 1992 as well, with the development of the School of Arts & Sciences.
The university’s School of Technology offered courses in Worcester, Mass. from 1992–2002 before consolidating all technology programs at the Providence Downcity campus.
In 1993, a four-year bachelor’s degree offering in culinary arts was added at the university. A campus was also opened in Vail, Colo., offering an accelerated associate degree program in culinary arts to college graduates.
September 2000 marked the opening of the Denver, Colo. campus, which offers undergraduate degrees through the College of Business, College of Culinary Arts, and the Hospitality College. In 2000, the Vail campus was merged with the Denver campus.
In 2002, the university made a strategic decision to consolidate its smaller Charleston and Norfolk campuses by building a campus in Charlotte, N.C. The Charlotte campus opened in the fall of 2004 and offers undergraduate degree programs through the College of Business, College of Culinary Arts, and the Hospitality College. The Charleston and Norfolk campuses officially closed in May 2006.
In keeping with its tradition of focusing on the best interest of students and responding to industry, it was determined in April 2006 that beginning with the 2008-09 academic year, JWU’s College of Business and the Hospitality College would move away from offering associate degrees and instead have students customize their education through specializations or concentrations at the baccalaureate level alone. This decision did not impact the College of Culinary Arts and the School of Technology where the two-year degree continues to be relevant.
In 2009, the last students of the Denver campus' School of Education graduated. The School of Education offered bachelor's degrees in Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Business/Marketing Education. This marked the closure of the School of Education at JWU-Denver. Currently, graduate education programs exist only at the Providence Harborside campus' Graduate School.
Each year the university grows in program offerings and physical facilities. At the same time, the university also gains recognition and prestige, making contributions to the community, government, and industry.
JWU currently has four academic units at four of its campuses: the College of Business, the College of Culinary Arts, the Hospitality College, and the School of Arts & Sciences.
The Providence Downcity campus is home to the College of Business, the Hospitality College, the School of Arts & Sciences, and the School of Technology. The Providence Harborside campus is home to several additional academic units: the Alan Shawn Feinstein Graduate School and the College of Culinary Arts. The Providence Harborside campus is also home to the School of Education, which offers specialized master's and doctoral degree programs. Students just entering the field can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T. Program) and current teachers can earn a Masters of Education degree (M.Ed.) For current teachers who want to advance their degree, there is a doctoral program where they can earn their Ed.D.
Johnson & Wales University is well known for its Culinary Arts program but was first founded as Business and Hospitality programs. The university is the largest food service educator in the world. JWU is one of the top three Hospitality Colleges, according to the 2010 rankings released by the American Universities Admissions Program, which ranks of American universities according to their international reputation. JWU is home to 39th largest College of Business in the United States. The university offers a wide variety of degrees, including Accounting, Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management, Equine Studies/Equine Business Management & Riding, Management, Marketing, Criminal Justice, Entrepreneurship, Hotel & Lodging Management, and Sports/Entertainment/Event Management. The Providence Downcity campus offers 2 and 4 years degree programs in technology such as Network Engineering, Electronics & Robotics Engineering, Computer Programming, and Graphic Design.
JWU's academic year is divided into three trimesters, each 11 weeks long, where the standard fall and spring semesters are replaced with fall, winter, and spring trimesters. Classes are also offered during the summer months creating a fourth academic period. This results in an earlier spring break and a typical summer break from May to September. During fall, winter, and spring terms, students usually take three to four courses a term. Students in the Culinary program are enrolled in five nine-day lab sessions, which take place Monday through Thursday each week. Such courses are only available for full-time students.
JWU offers the following degrees at its five campuses:
NOTE: CLT refers to the Charlotte, NC campus; DEN to the Denver, CO campus; NMI to the North Miami, FL campus; PVD-D to the Providence, RI Downcity campus, which is in Providence proper; and PVD-H refers to the Providence Harborside campus, which is in Cranston, RI.
In addition to the on-campus academic buildings and dorms, the university also operates three hotels used as practicum education facilities for the university's Hotel & Lodging Management, Food Service Management, and Culinary Arts degree programs. The facilities include the independent Johnson & Wales Inn & Conference Center located near Providence in Seekonk, Massachusetts, and within fifteen minutes of the university's Providence campuses Radisson Hotel Providence Airport located in Warwick, and the Bay Harbor Inn & Suites, located in Miami Beach. The university also owns the Doubletree Hotel Charlotte-Gateway Village at the Charlotte Campus. The Johnson & Wales Inn in Providence also houses the university's flagship restaurant, Audrey's, which takes its name from Audrey Gaebe, wife of long time university chancellor, Morris Gaebe.
The Wildcat Center is the athletic facility of Johnson & Wales University in Denver. It is home to the athletic program of this branch of the university, and was home to the ABA's Colorado Storm in 2004. Wildcat Center is located at the northwest part of the Johnson & Wales campus. The Wildcat Center, now fully renovated as of the summer of 2009, is NAIA and NCAA regulation size and seats over 600, the fitness center has tripled in size, and the locker rooms have increased from 2 to 4 to accommodate game day needs as well as general use.
The Providence Downcity and Harborside campuses currently offers membership in 15 fraternities and sororities as well as one social fellowship. These are organized within four groups; the InterFraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Council (PHC), the United Cultural Council (UCC), and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC). While all of these organizations are nationally or internationally affiliated, the university oversees the Greek community on campus. Not recognized by the university, the Providence Campuses are also home to a number of "off-campus" fraternities. Deeply rooted in tradition, some of these organizations make up the origins of Greek life at the university and continue to exist and recruit new members without the sanction of the school.
The campus also has a chapter of the Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship
The Denver Campus currently offers membership in one sorority, Alpha Sigma Tau.
The teams of all campuses of Johnson & Wales University are athletically known as the Wildcats.
JWU Providence Downcity and Harborside teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Wildcats are a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, equestrian, golf, ice hockey, sailing, soccer, tennis, volleyball and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, equestrian, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.
JWU North Miami teams participate as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Wildcats are a member of The Sun Conference. Men's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, field hockey, and track & field.
JWU Charlotte teams participate as a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) as an Independent. Men's sports include basketball; while women's sports include volleyball.
JWU Denver teams participate as a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Wildcats are a member of the Association of Independent Institutions (AII). Men's sports include basketball, cross country and volleyball; while women's sports include basketball, cross country and volleyball.
Honorary Doctorate Recipients include: