Message from the Chair
Eliza C. Tse, Ph.D.
Greetings from Columbia, Missouri. Once again, we welcomed students to campus for a new school year with some of them returning from an internship. On any given summer, we have over 100 students who take part in interning in the hospitality field, gaining invaluable industry experience.
Directly following May’s graduation ceremony, I traveled to Hong Kong and presented at the 2nd Global Tourism & Hospitality Conference / 15th Asia Pacific Forum for Graduate Students Research in Tourism Conference. In addition to representing the university internationally, this is a great opportunity to network with colleagues from around the world. In July, I also presented at the annual International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) conference in Dallas, Texas. Likewise, my colleagues Drs. Lincoln Marshall and Mauro Palmero were busy attending the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and visiting Italy twice with student groups, respectively.
Incoming freshmen, transfer students and their families attended our annual Summer Welcome program. We began the school year with a “welcome back” get-together for students and colleagues in the program to have a chance to introduce themselves and learn more about student organizations, advising, scholarships, internships and more. This fall, seniors in the Food & Beverage emphasis area planned and executed their “dinner series” on Tuesday evenings, under Chef Michael Keene’s instruction and supervision. This dinner event is open to the public and we have seen great participation from the Columbia community and neighboring areas. In November, teams of undergraduate and graduate students participated in the Second Market Study Competition organized by Smith Travel Research, held concurrently with the Hotel Experience (formerly International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show) Exhibition in Javits Convention Center in New York.
For the past 15 years, student demand for our major has increased significantly. However, this year, we found ourselves in a position that all programs faced across the university — a decrease in freshmen enrollment. We formed an ad hoc task force to plan our recruitment strategy. This included: colleagues participating in the CAFNR Connection Day to expose interested high school students to information about majoring in Hospitality Management; CAFNR Parents Weekend Breakfast welcoming over 300 parents and students to enjoy the HM catered breakfast and a chance to converse with faculty; and additionally, colleagues on hand to welcome hospitality companies who exhibited booths in the CAFNR Career Fair. Thanks to Dr. Pei Liu’s effort, we have a Facebook page up and running again. Please take a moment to visit and like the page.
We are grateful for a grant from Mizzou Online to develop the B.S. online degree in Hospitality Management. Our target audience includes those on the job, individuals serving in the military and international students who find it extremely difficult to relocate to campus. The next three years will be devoted to developing the online courses and actively promoting the program. Our industry partners have expressed their support and welcome this unique opportunity.
We are delighted to welcome new faculty members to our program as well as welcome back familiar faces. Dr. Pei Liu, a graduate of Kansas State University, joins us in her role as Assistant Professor. Dr. Lincoln Marshall returns as an Associate Teaching Professor and Dr. Beverley Wilson-Wünsch joins us as a Visiting Professor for the year. Please join me in extending our warmest hospitality to them all. Additionally, we created a staff position to support both the online degree and internship programs.
Some alumni have pursued their careers in Columbia and greater Missouri. Beth Mead (Class of 1999) and Amy Schneider (Class of 2000), work side-by-side at the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote tourism and events in the area. We are also pleased to learn that Joshua Ferguson (Class of 2003) is thriving with Kaldi’s Coffee Roasting Company in St. Louis. These are only a few examples of alumni who continually provide inspiration for our current students. In this regard, we are calling for nominations for the Distinguished HM Alumni Award. There are links in this newsletter to help us keep abreast of your professional developments; simply update your information online. We also encourage you to nominate yourself to become a class representative if you are interested in reaching out to your fellow alumni.
Until next newsletter, enjoy a relaxing, festive, and thanks-giving winter break. Together, as neighbors and peers, let us bring knowledge, compassion and forward-thinking to the community that we serve.