BY TYLER LASCOLA
The Department of Marketing and Sport Management at Sacred Heart University is undergoing great expansion. This semester is the first that a major in hospitality is being offered, while both another major and a minor are anticipated to launch in fall 2019.
Hospitality, Resort and Tourism Management is the newest undergraduate degree offered by the department. Although only six students are enrolled in the classes, the major has already been declared by at least 18 students total and is expected to grow.
“The hospitality industry – also known as the service industry – covers about a third of the global economy, and the domestic economy,” said Dr. Kirsten Tripodi, director of the program.
What sets Sacred Heart’s hospitality program apart from similar programs at other schools is that it resides in the Jack Welch College of Business. According to Tripodi, less than one third of hospitality programs in the United States are situated in business schools.
“If I were still in the market where I was hiring students, I would be more excited to have somebody who had business school credentials,” said Tripodi.
Students can expect to complete two internships before graduation: one for the business school and one pertaining specifically to hospitality. Each hospitality internship will be coordinated with one of the program’s three concentrations: Hotel, Resort and Club Management; Revenue, Pricing and Data Analytics Management; and Tourism Management.
The program will be making extensive use of Sacred Heart’s newly acquired facilities at the Great River golf course, on West Campus, and in Dingle, Ireland.
“All aspects of this hospitality program were designed to leverage one of these new assets that the university has,” said Dr. Joshua Shuart, Chair of the Marketing Department.
The golf course is ideal for resort and club management, while at West Campus students will be utilizing the kitchen facilities next semester for a culinary basics course, along with the hotel for a Lodging Operations course.
The tourism track is singular in that majors must study abroad at the university’s Dingle campus for a semester to obtain that specialization. Shuart emphasized the symbiotic relationship he hopes the program will develop with local Dingle businesses.
The Fashion Marketing and Merchandising major (which is still awaiting a few green lights before official ratification), has been long in the making.
The fashion program at Sacred Heart began in 2009 as a mere concentration in Marketing. In 2014, the popular concentration was detached and expanded into its own minor. In 2016, an annual faculty-led summer abroad program for fashion was launched – a rarity for minors – which alternates between Paris and Milan. Subsequently, fashion internships began to be coordinated separately from other marketing internships. And, like Hospitality, the fashion program is unique for being incorporated into the business school. Now, after the program has flourished for nearly a decade, the rigorous approval process is underway for the long-awaited Fashion major.
“They’ve been asking for it for years,” said Shuart. “Even with the minor, the students have been clamoring for more courses.”
Students have been extremely vocal in their course evaluations about wanting more fashion classes. Several new courses were piloted as electives and the minors repeated filled them up, even after satisfying their minor requirements. Those experimental courses will now be incorporated into the major.
Senior Alexandria Draghi, president of the Fashion Club, lamented graduating before the major’s time.
“I wish I could come back after graduation just to have fashion merchandising as a major” said Draghi.
To top it all off, a minor in Golf Management is projected to start in conjunction with the Fashion major next fall. The golf minor was approved last year, but the department decided to delay its launch for further development.