Honorary Professor

David Kirk left school at 16, working as a laboratory technician and studying part-time for an HND in Chemistry. Through working for a food company he developed an interest in food technology and went back to full time education, taking a degree in Food Technology at the University of Reading.

Following a period of employment in the food industry David joined the Department of Hotel Administration at the University of Surrey, as the Charles Forte Research Fellow. At that time (the early 1970’s) it is interesting to note that only three universities in the UK offered degree courses in hotel management: Surrey, Strathclyde and Cardiff. After Surrey, he moved to what was then South Bank Polytechnic as a lecturer in food science. However by then, his research interest was in catering technology and in 1975 he moved to what was then Sheffield City Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam University) as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Hotel and Catering Management working on their newly validated degree programme in Catering Systems.

The 1970’s was an exciting time for hotel management education, with a proliferation of new degree programmes in hotel and tourism management in the polytechnic sector. Because most of this development was taking place in the polytechnic sector, the Council for National Academic Awards (CNNA), though its panel on Food and Accommodation Studies, was having a great influence on the developing curriculum in these new areas and, at this time, David was a key member of this group. By the time the binary divide was dissolved in 1991 there were over 20 degree programmes in hospitality management.

Following a teacher exchange at Virginia Tech, David moved to Edinburgh in 1991, as Head of Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at what is now Queen Margaret University, eventually becoming Vice Principal (Learning and Teaching) in 2004.

David has had a long standing interest in the application of technology and systems theory to practical issues facing the hospitality and tourism industries. Initially this interest was in the application of food technology and chemical engineering to catering processes, including the development of cook-freeze and cook-chill applications and the reduction of food waste. His interest then moved on to the use of computers, focussing on two applications: the use of computer systems to manage energy in hotels and computer assisted design (CAD) of kitchens. At this time, with colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University, we worked on the development of a computer based symbol library of catering equipment to be used as part of CAD systems for kitchen and restaurant design. This involved agreeing standards across the UK equipment manufacturing and supply industry together with design consultants and designers in the hospitality industry.

From 1990 onward, David’s interest in energy management and food waste progressed into a more general interest in environmental management and sustainable development, his current research focus. In particular, his current interests are in the motivation of managers to adopt sustainability and barriers to management action.

Throughout his time in education David has written 4 books and over 70 chapters in books, papers, reviews and conference presentations. In recognition of this contribution to hospitality education, in 2007 David was made an Honorary Fellow of the Conference on Hotel Management Education. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology. He has been a QAA subject reviewer, institutional auditor and ELIR reviewer for over 10 years. He currently serves on the SFC Quality Learning and Teaching Committee and is a member of Scottish Government Working Party on Tourism Training and Qualifications. He serves on the Boards of Management of Jewel & Esk College and Newbattle Abbey College.

Following his retirement from Queen Margaret University in January 2009, David became an Emeritus Professor at the University.