Sacred Heart University (SHU) is kicking off its fall semester with a new undergraduate program that offers a bachelor’s degree in hospitality, resort and tourism management.
John Chalykoff, dean of the university’s Jack Welch College of Business, said that the new program puts students in the right place at the right time. “This is an expanding industry where there will be great demand to fill jobs,” he said, noting that the hospitality and tourism industry is the second-largest employer in the U.S. after the federal government.
“The hospitality industry is a $7 trillion industry worldwide. There is a lot of demand and a variety of opportunities in hospitality, which is why we developed this program.”
The first class for the program consists of 20 students who have a choice of three specializations: hotel, resort and club management; tourism management; and revenue, pricing, and data analytics management. Each specialization will involve a business core curriculum with students required to complete nine courses.
SHU is promoting this program by highlighting the potential career opportunities awaiting students. Citing statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, SHU noted that job opportunities within hotel, resorts and lodging operations management are expected to experience an 8 percent growth through 2024, while operations research analytics are expected to see 30 percent growth during the same period. A 5 percent growth over the next six years is predicted in the food and beverage operations management side of the industry, while meeting and planning management is forecast to see 10 percent growth in this period.
“The most lucrative careers, at least upon graduation, are in the analytics side of the industry, but there are all kinds of jobs for all kinds of interests throughout the hospitality industry,” Chalykoff said. “And there are many that provide additional perks, such as the opportunity to travel.”
Courses will be conducted at SHU’s West Campus (the former General Electric headquarters), and internships will be available at the university’s 150-acre Great River Golf Course in Milford, which is home to the full-service restaurant Monty’s River Grille and the 3,000-square-foot Golf Pro Shop. The program will also have internship opportunities through SHU’s campus in Dingle, Ireland.
“There will be two required internships,” Chalykoff said. “We are currently working with a variety of companies to set up internship opportunities for students in the program.”
Other classes connected to this major include Management of Human Resources, Dynamics of Information Technology and Revenue Management and Pricing. Chalykoff acknowledged that hospitality and tourism frequently suffer when the economy goes into a tailspin, and the new program will take into consideration ways to keep business vibrant in the event of another recession.
“The required analytics course largely focuses on supply and demand and what actions to take in a slow or heated economy,” he said.
While SHU has no plans to expand this endeavor into a graduate program, he said the school would be watching the new undergraduate program to determine if this will be the next academic step. “If there is demand, absolutely,” he said.