Johnson & Wales University Takes Food Education to Next Level with College of Food Innovation & Technology

Story by JWU Media Relations , on Jan 25, 2021 11:00 AM

Jason R. Evans, Ph.D. Appointed CFIT Dean

Dean Jason Evans of the College of Food Innovation & Technology


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — January 25, 2021 – Aligned with its strategic focus as an evolving comprehensive university, Johnson & Wales University (JWU) is expanding its world-renowned culinary education with an interdisciplinary approach to food and its impact on people, industries and the world. With the new College of Food Innovation & Technology (CFIT), JWU is preparing students to explore the role of food in everyday life, with a focus on science, nutrition, sustainability, safety, policy, business, and product development and design.

Food is increasingly seen as a central driver of the economy with agriculture, food and related industries responsible for about 11% of U.S. employment and over 5% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2019. With CFIT’s focus on the broad interconnections in the food economy, JWU’s CFIT graduates will become the new problem solvers and innovators in a wide realm of food-related industries, forging new pathways to healthier eating, more sustainable food systems, greater food security, and more efficient food production and delivery systems.

“The launch of the College of Food Innovation & Technology has begun an exciting new chapter in the history of our 107-year-old university,” said Chancellor Mim L. Runey, LP.D. “In 1973, Johnson & Wales first began offering classes in culinary arts. Now, four decades later, we are building on that very strong foundation of teaching and expertise to take food education to the next level with CFIT, as we explore food’s global economic impact on society and seek innovate solutions to improve people’s lives.”

To provide leadership and vision for this new interdisciplinary college, Johnson & Wales has appointed Jason R. Evans, Ph.D., as dean. He joined the university earlier this month at JWU’s flagship Providence, Rhode Island campus.

“We welcome Jason to our academic leadership team and look forward to his work with our talented faculty universitywide. He brings years of research, teaching and real-world experience in food systems, agri-business management and food policy contexts to JWU,” said Runey. “With his leadership and collaboration with our academic and industry partners, Johnson & Wales University will continue to shape the future of food by defining its powerful role in people’s lives and its impact on our world.”

"We owe our modern quality of life to the scientists, farmers, healthcare professionals and policymakers who blended innovation with soil and water to make nutritious food, and to the food scientists and chefs who made it all more delicious and more convenient,” said JWU Dean Evans. “Very few organizations in the country have the intellectual and physical assets to prepare students for all of these roles, but CFIT does. Undoubtedly, the need for problem solvers in the food system is greater now than ever. CFIT can offer its prospective students, partners and donors a unique opportunity to make the world better."

From 2016 through 2019, Evans chaired the SUNY (The State University of New York) Cobleskill Agricultural & Food Management department which offers associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in the Culinary Arts and a bachelor’s degree in Food Systems and Technology. For the past three years, he has been the executive director of SUNY Cobleskill’s Institute for Rural Vitality whose mission is to revitalize rural communities across New York. Prior to joining JWU, Evans was an associate professor in Agricultural Business Management at SUNY Cobleskill. He is a sought after speaker, giving keynote addresses on the challenges and opportunities facing the agricultural industry. Dean Evans introduced himself to the JWU community with a video greeting.

Johnson & Wales’s expertise in food began in 1973 when it launched New England’s first Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts to respond to the need for educated food management professionals and chefs. For nearly half a century, JWU has kept a well-earned reputation as a premier national food service educator was established when it became the first university in the country to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Arts (1993) and to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Baking and Pastry Arts (1997). In 1999, the university added a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Nutrition that soon became the first program of its kind to receive accreditation from the American Dietetic Association (ADA).

Since JWU’s founding in 1914, the school has developed academic programs based on industry’s needs. Its unique approach of combining classroom lectures and presentations with hands on and experiential learning have prepared more than 100,000 graduates for advancement in the workforce.

To learn more about JWU’s College of Food Innovation & Technology, please visit


About JWU

Johnson & Wales University Ranks 19 in U.S. News & World Report Best College Rankings

Story by JWU Media Relations , on Sep 12, 2022 9:00 AM


Charlotte, N.C. – September 12, 2022 – Johnson & Wales University Charlotte was listed in the U.S. News & World Report ranking of the best colleges in America, according to the annual report released on Monday. JWU Charlotte ranked 19 out of 99 colleges in this year's Regional Colleges, South category.   

The Charlotte Campus was included under the categories of Social Mobility (ranked 56) and Best Value (ranked 14).  

The Providence Campus ranked 70 out of 175 universities in the northeast region, moving up 24 spots from the year prior.   

The ranking aligns with the vision of JWU’s Powered by Purpose 2024 strategic plan, released last year. Chancellor Mim L. Runey, LP.D. said the improved ranking exemplifies the hard work of faculty and staff over the past year.   

“Today, as U.S. News & World Report releases its Best Colleges rankings, I am pleased to see the hard work of our faculty and staff over the last year being recognized nationwide,” Runey said. “We know the investments we have made in our students and our increase of high-touch student experiences on both the Providence and Charlotte campuses have contributed to our rise in the ranking.”

Executive Director of Operations Mark Norman says Charlotte’s inclusion in this year’s list is an indication of the university’s growing footprint.

“Johnson & Wales University’s mission is to provide an exceptional education that inspires professional success and lifelong personal and intellectual growth,” Norman said. “The university plans to invest $7.6 million on its Charlotte campus to bolster current programs and create new ones that will expand our existing comprehensive educational offerings. We are excited to be included in this year’s rankings and hope prospective students will consider one of our 20 bachelor’s degree programs.”       

About JWU 

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 8,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its campuses in Providence, Rhode Island and Charlotte, North Carolina. An innovative educational leader, the university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in arts and sciences, business, hospitality, nutrition, health and wellness. It also offers undergraduate programs in culinary arts, dietetics, food innovation, design and engineering. The university’s impact is global, with alumni in 125 countries pursuing careers worldwide. For more information, visit



Lisa Pelosi, vice president of communications & media relations | 401-598-1848

Miriam Weinstein, director of communications & media relations | 401-598-1157