A collaboration between Mother Road and Northern Arizona University (NAU) has led to the first-ever “beer professor.”
NAU’s College of the Environment, Forestry and Natural Sciences (CEFNS) and School of Hotel and Restaurant Management (HRM) are hiring an Associate Professor of Practice in Brewing and Fermentation Science to lead an all-new certificate program on campus. Tailored to offer career-ready options to students, as well as positioning the university to become a leader in brewing science, CEFNS and HRM developed two tracks for their certificate — Brewing and Quality Assurance and Brewing Management and Hospitality.
Founder/CEO Michael Marquess is an NAU alum and Hotel and Restaurant Management grad who opened Mother Road in 2011 after a service-sector career. He’s close to his alma mater, hosting lectures, experimental brew sessions and hothousing ideas with staff. “All of the science stuff is critically important to the brewing process and you can’t forget customer experience,” says Marquess. With that same idea, NAU is pioneering the study of beer and brewing.
Says Dr. Andy Koppisch, of the NAU Chemistry Department, “The science part of brewing is Sensory — how do you assess quality, how do you brew consistently — a fundamental understanding of what’s positive and negative.” This track will receive a future boost by students getting to work in planned state-of-the-art research labs led by microbiologist Emily Cope, another collaborator.
Biology Professor Dr. David John helps lead the HRM portion. “Another required class that technically is a bio course but taught from HRM — Environmental Science for Hotel and Restaurant Management — relates to food science and hotel management.” HRM’s Interim Associate Executive Director Mark Molinaro will hone the focus so students gain hospitality job skills. Mother Road is poised to provide internships, industry perspective, staff access, work experiences — even jobs.
For their part, NAU is committed to new opportunities in brewing study, offering low-cost Continuing Education classes anyone one can take. Since game recognizes game, The Arizona Society of Homebrewers and the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild are kicking in for a student scholarship. Applications are now being accepted: https://nau.edu/cefns/scholarships/
This all revolves around finding the right professor to bring it together — someone with brewing, industry, science and teaching experience. Or maybe someone with a unique background who understands how all these fit and is passionate about leading a cutting-edge program. Mother Road is committed to NAU and the growth of brewing science and service.