THE-ICE 4th IPoE Forum 2009

THE-ICE 4th IPoE Forum 2009

Developing Excellence in Tourism, Hospitality and Events Education

12-13 October, 2009

Proudly hosted by The Hotel School Sydney

THE-ICE IPoE (International Panel of Experts) Forums were established to offer a series of high-level events focusing on current strategic issues facing tourism, hospitality and events (TH&E) education, as well as extensive networking opportunities. The events are open to members and non-members of THE-ICE, and feature a series of invited presentation panel sessions by leading tourism and hospitality educators and industry experts within the region and internationally.

Educators and researchers in  vocational, private and university higher education were invited to attend the 4th International Panel of Experts Forum in Sydney, Australia. Some 75 delegates and panelists from Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Fiji, UK, Thailand, Singapore as well as Australia attended the Forum and actively engaged in six panel sessions addressing the needs, issues and value surrounding TH&E Accreditation, Benchmarking and the Development of Best Practice.

Panellists and Presenters

THE-ICE – Past Present and Future Presentation – Dr J. S. Perry Hobson

Dr Perry Hobson, Managing Director of THE-ICE, kicked off this year’s Forum with a presentation entitled “THE-ICE: Past, Present and Future” which gave an overview of the history and development of THE-ICE and its transition over the last 18 months.

Panel Session 1: Accreditation and Quality Assurance (QA)


  • Dr George Brown, Think Education, Australiademystifying accreditation terms, the growing importance of international accreditation, and the problem of fake accreditation agencies.
  • Professor Roger March, University of New South Wales, Australia – motivations behind accreditation, particularly in the context of Business Schools, and the costs versus benefits of completing such accreditations.
  • Associate Professor Stephen Craig-Smith, University of Queensland, Australia – challenges facing institutions entering the higher education market and background to the development of THE-ICE accreditation.

Panel Session 2: International Issues Facing TH&E Education


  • Professor Oswin Maurer, Free University Bozen-Bolzano, Italy – identifying the unresolved issues of the Bologna Process and its work-in-progress status for most European education systems.
  • Dr Nigel Hemmington, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand – challenges facing fields of study such as hospitality within a traditional university setting.
  • Dr Ted Wykes, Royal Roads, Canada – challenges facing tourism and hospitality programmes within “University Colleges” in Canada, which are seen as neither universities nor vocational colleges.
  • Mr Dominic Szambowski, Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, Australia – rapid expansion of large corporate private providers now entering the tourism and hospitality education fields.
  • Dr Russell Arthur Smith, CNI, Singapore – challenges facing Asia-based institutions in meeting demand for TH&E education in the region, particularly given faculty shortages.

Panel Session 3 – Developing Teaching and Learning (T&L) Excellence


  • Dr Dianne Dredge, Southern Cross University, Australia – questioning the structure and lack of flexibility in many tourism undergraduate programmes, and spoke about her recently funded ALTC project.
  • Dr Pierre Benckendorff, James Cook University, Australia – reflecting on a recent JCU project on the student experience, and how many of the factors were interconnected.
  • Dr Alison Owens – Central Queensland University, Australia – discussion of research showing that international students were more likely to fail due to difficulty adjusting to life in a foreign country, rather than any issues with their actual academic studies.
  • Ms Janet Elms-Smith, Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE, Australia – challenges facing vocational education in Australia.

Panel Session 4: Contribution of International Students to Tourism


  • Mr John King, Chair, Australian Tourism Export Council – reflecting on recent government reports looking at the overlap, importance, and connections between international students and tourism.
  • Professor Mike Davidson, Griffith University, Australia – presentation of initial focus group findings of his Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre (STCRC)-funded project, which indicated that there were many “barriers to travel” facing international students.
  • Ms Kate Payne, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand – reporting on her quantitative research findings of international student travel patterns in New Zealand, which showed considerable travel to regional areas.  
  • Mr Euan Robertson, Tourism and Transport Forum, Australia – interconnected issues of local transport, housing, and access to tourism areas for international students and their visiting friends and families. 

Panel Session 5: Building Stronger Links Between Education and Industry

This panel session drew on views from both practitioners and educators, and became a wide-ranging discussion involving all delegates at the Forum following the comments of the panellists. A number of areas for better linkages came out of the discussion, but in particular one thing was identified – that was the need for us to collectively create a professional body which can be supported by the various industry sectors and all education institutions.

Chair: Mr John King, Chair, Southern Cross University Industry Advisory Board.


  • Dr Asad Mohsin, University of Waikato, New Zealand.


  • Rachel Argaman, CEO, Toga Hospitality.
  • Mr Guy Bentley, Blue Mountains International Hospitality Management School, Australia.
  • Mr Matt Hingety, CEO, Australian Tourism Export Council.
  • Ms Catherine Ng, William Angliss Institute, Australia.
  • Mr Peter Lewis, The Hotel School Sydney, Australia.
  • Dr David Bierman, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

i-Graduate Benchmarking and Best Practice Workshop

William Archer, Managing Director of i-Graduate Research, led a workshop on the use of the THE-ICE’s version of the International Student Barometer and Student Barometer (ISB-SB). The ISB -SB is now a well-recognised benchmarking tool, and is used by 300+ institutions around the world.

A specific THE-ICE ISB-SB was developed for THE-ICE in 2007. The ISB-SB analyses the international student experience over the four dimensions. In order to enable institutions/programmes to see how they perform within THE-ICE and against a wider group of institutions, i-Graduate Research has developed both a THE-ICE Index, made up of responses from students who are studying at THE-ICE member institutions, and a Global Index which is drawn from responses of students studying hospitality, tourism and/or events at non-member institutions.

This allows for members to confidentially benchmark their institution/programme against THE-ICE Index, and also against one another. William Archer from i-Graduate noted that he was really pleased to see the action orientated nature of the attendees at the Forum pointing out that “many institutions only focus on what they do well. It was very encouraging to see the focus here being on what needed to be done to improve the experience for international students, rather than just resting on their laurels”.


  • Mr Peter Lewis, The Hotel School Sydney, Australia – how he used the ISB-SB to build a business case to shift to new premises.
  • Dr Michael Milgate, Australian International Hotel School, Canberra, Australia – reflected on how the ISB-SB had changed administration processes.
  • Mr Alan Williams, Australian School of Tourism and Hotel Management, Perth, Australia – spoke about how he had used his ISB-SB survey results to completely revisit their student services.

Following the presentations, a number of groups were formed that focused on specific issues (such as the living environment, internationalisation etc.) that had come out of the survey. A report-back session then identified the many areas for action, and some 25 specific action-steps were identified and committed to by various delegates.