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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Dean's quarterly update—March 2018

Posted on: March 19, 2018

Hello students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff and friends,

The semester is certainly in full swing with events and conferences, study abroad trips, internship experiences, midterms, research competitions and graduation on the horizon. So, I’d like to start out this update by saying thank you to our faculty, staff and students for your hard work during this busy time and for helping to make this year our best yet.

We have some exciting activity and updates to share.

Mission and Vision

The college has completed a careful review and collaborative revision process to update our mission and vision through a bottom-up approach. With feedback gathered from across the college, our leadership team worked collectively to establish an updated vision and mission that will guide our college forward.

Vision: A powerful learning arena where passionate students, teaching excellence, innovative scholarship and industry leaders come together to advance the world’s customer experience industries.

Mission:  We prepare the next generation of leaders in our fields by integrating experiential learning, teaching excellence, impactful research and industry collaboration across a dynamic and highly synergistic blend of academic areas dedicated to the industries that ultimately create and improve customer, guest, fan and patron experiences around the world.

Global Presence

The college’s global presence is expanding and we have been strengthening partnerships with education and industry collaborators in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Here are just a few highlights:

  • We recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Elite Hospitality Group in Vietnam which establishes HRSM as an official education partner with the ministry of education and several universities including National Economic University in Hanoi.
  • We recently became one of only 10 universities in the country to offer a collaborative fashion and design study abroad opportunity with Regent’s University London.
  • The Department of Sport and Entertainment Management has formed a new partnership with National Taiwan Sport University and also launched a new certificate program with Stenden University in Qatar.
  • David Cardenas is working with the USC Office of Study Abroad to launch a semester-long sustainable tourism exchange program in the Galapagos.
  • Robin DiPietro just returned from our partner university in Aruba where she presented to the Prime Minister of Aruba and other dignitaries.
  • The college was selected by the Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao, and Nakai University to cohost the International Conference on Tourism and Retail Management in Macao this year.
  • The college was represented at the International Conference on Tourism and Hospitality in Egypt this month where I was invited as a keynote speaker.

These partnerships support opportunities for international recruitment and student exchange, and they greatly enhance our worldwide visibility as a prestigious institution. Thank you to everyone involved in these and other HRSM international initiatives.

Industry Innovation

We are also continuing to build and grow industry partnerships and leadership here in the U.S. SPTE recently hosted its annual Sport Entertainment and Venues Tomorrow conference March 7-9 and is preparing to host the College Sport Research Institute Conference April 12–14. Adding to our research centers and institutes, the university recently approved the Center for Mega-Event Research and Education led by Brian Mihalik.

On the heels of a $6 million in-kind software donation to the Department of Retailing, JDA Software Group invited retailing faculty Annette Burnsed, Jeff Campbell and Mark Rosenbaum to be panelists at its national supply chain convention, FOCUS 2018. The department is also hosting e-commerce trainings with leaders from to support newly designed curriculum and certificate training.

Our School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management is working on a partnership with NCR that will give our students hands-on experience operating cutting-edge restaurant sales and service technology in McCutchen House. In addition, HRTM’s new Meetings, Events and Incentive Travel Certificate is the first to be endorsed by a national industry organization.

Years of Service

We wouldn’t be where we are today without the dedication of our team members who have served the college and university for many years. Their institutional knowledge, experience and passion for USC bring tremendous value. Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on their milestone work anniversaries:

  • 30 Years of Service: Cathy Gustafson and Sandy Strick
  • 20 Years of Service: Collin Crick, Reenea Harrison and Tina Weaver
  • 10 Years of Service: B. J. Beckham, Valeria Bates, Carolina Gamble, Jessica L. Harris, Haylee Mercado and Becky Moran

Budget Model

The University is beginning to roll out a new budget model that will be implemented in parallel with the existing model next year, with a goal of completely transitioning to the new budget model in 2019–2020. The new model will empower colleges with more independent decision-making power and incentivize innovation, growth, and entrepreneurship, allowing colleges to operate with greater autonomy. But, it will naturally also come with the college’s greater financial responsibility for its operations. Our projections show that our college will be in good shape under this new model. We will continue to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible to maximize our impact and future.

Move to Close-Hipp

The remodeling of Close-Hipp Building is on track and our move will take place in summer of 2019 as scheduled. 

Student Experience

Last but most important, our students are learning every day from passionate professors and unique experiences. Our retailing students have been traveling the country attending New York Fashion Week and are getting ready to host their own USC Fashion Week this month. Also this spring, a cohort of nine SPTE students are in Australia to work the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Our hospitality students and hundreds of other USC students will have the chance to work at prestigious golf tournaments this year thanks to our faculty-led industry partnerships.

Experiential learning will always be a cornerstone of our education programs, and continues to advance our students towards career success in ways in which other schools simply can’t compete. Thank you to the faculty, staff, industry partners, alumni and parents who help make these experiences possible for our students. To help our continued student success, please mark your calendar for Give 4 Garnet on April 18, 2018, and consider making a gift on that day to our HRSM Career Launch campaign.

There is much more work to do, and so I hope you share my excitement and determination as we look toward the future. Together we are building a powerful learning arena where passionate students, teaching excellence, innovative scholarship, and industry leaders come together to advance the world’s customer experience industries.


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