James Downey began teaching at Lynn in 1994 as an associate professor in the former School of Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation Management. Prior to that, his educational positions include Department Chairman of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and he served as Dean of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration at the University of New Haven, in New Haven, Connecticut. He also served as the Associate Dean in the College of Hospitality Management from 2002 until 2009 at Lynn.
His hospitality industry background includes the following positions:
- Leisure Time Industry Associate, Laventhol & Horwath, Certified Public Accountants, Boston, Massachusetts;
- Vice President of Development, Commonwealth Hospitality Management Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
- Senior Business Consultant, IBM Food Service Consulting Consortium, Raleigh, North Carolina; and
- President, Keystone Associates, Boynton Beach, FL, Management Consultants for the Hospitality Industry.
- B.S., Pennsylvania State University
- M.S., University of Wisconsin-Stout
- Ph.D., Purdue University
James Downey's teaching philosophy has been and continues to be predicated on sound instructional techniques that provide successful student learning outcomes. He has maintained this philosophy since he came to Lynn. Below is a chronicle of how he adapted this teaching philosophy.
Downey did not choose the hospitality industry, the hospitality industry chose him. His family managed a small hotel in eastern Pennsylvania where he began as a front desk clerk at the age of 13. From that experience, he developed a love of the hospitality industry that eventually drew him into the fields of accounting and lodging development.
Downey's desire to share that passion and to help others seek a career in hospitality encouraged him to pursue a career in teaching. He believes learning is best facilitated by an instructor who balances sound theory with solid industry experience. For example, his teaching of hospitality accounting and lodging development is facilitated by his experience working for a hospitality-related public accounting firm and serving as a director of development for a hospitality management company. He actively seeks to create a student-centered classroom where students participate in directing their objectives very much where he acts as a guide-by-the-side rather than a sage on the stage.
Downey also tries to integrate several different methods in his classroom that accommodate his students' various learning styles. For example, he might work in a short lecture, a problem solving exercise or break the class into small groups all in the same class session. He strives to create a classroom environment that is flexible enough to accommodate my students’ needs and he has found that technology, especially computer-mediated communication, can be a valuable tool in creating this environment. On-line discussions via blackboard can allow students who are not comfortable with voicing their opinions orally in the classroom to think through their responses and contribute to the conversation while also providing practice with written communication.He therefore encourages his students to take an active role in the classroom, guiding classroom discussions and curriculum choices, and discovering and using their new knowledge. Clear objectives guide lessons and assignments, and he believes that students should be aware of them and able to determine when they have mastered them, realizing that the development of accounting skills takes time. Ultimately, students should learn to seek new learning experiences and direct their own education, encouraging the life-long learning process.
- Accounting for financial reporting
- Accounting for management decision making
- Hospitality management
- Event management
- Special topics in hospitality
- Special topics in event management
Areas of Scholarship and Professional Practice
James Downey continually writes and publishes juried research papers on hospitality business and management subjects including:
- Cooperative education
- Teaching strategies
- Case studies
- Hospitality facility planning.
- Appointed President of the Florida/Caribbean chapter of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education, July 2008
- Selected as Lynn University’s Outstanding Teacher of the Year, May 1999