NDMU’s New Leadership in Hospitality & Event Management Degree

“Leadership for women…that’s what this degree is designed to provide,” promises Gemma Wenner, Assistant Professor and Program Director about NDMU’s newest program, the Bachelor of Arts in Leadership in Hospitality and Event Management. “For too long, women have served on the front lines in the hospitality industry, but have not advanced into management roles.”

Indeed, women represent 55% of all employees in the global travel and tourism sector, but only 10% of leaders at the executive level. (World Travel and Tourism Council, 2014) “Our program, which stresses a focus on women as leaders, prepares graduates to enter the hospitality field at the highest levels…you can go anywhere with this degree,” states Wenner.

Until 2019, the number of jobs in the field is projected to increase by 1.8 million — “10% faster than other sectors,” confirms Wenner. “And our students will be ready to capitalize on this growing industry.” Upper-level management and executive positions have a high vacancy rate and need qualified candidates — especially those who are prepared to lead, innovate, and transform.

Launching this January with a Winterim course entitled “Introduction to Hospitality”, the program will initially be available exclusively in the Women’s College. A minor will also be offered for students in related fields such as Business, Economics and Marketing Communications. Suggests Wenner, “students should see where this field could benefit them. Every organization has events; it will offer our students another avenue for employment possibilities by having this experience.”

The 120-credit degree program includes 64 to 70 credits focused on the major and a liberal arts core. “Internships will start as soon as the program begins,” shares Wenner, “with especially significant opportunities for our students at international embassies in Washington, D.C., Hilton Worldwide corporate headquarters in McLean, Virginia and Marriott International headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland.”

The casino industry has also established a strong local presence, and as a region known for large-scale convention and special events, Baltimore is experiencing a documented shortage of degree-prepared graduates to build out a highly qualified workforce. (Baltimore Business Journal, 2014).

Noting that “our program focuses on a nurturing environment to propel women to excel in leadership — which makes us unique,” Wenner explains an important collaboration with two area institutions who also offer hospitality degrees. “Two undergraduate courses will be delivered in an online platform by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and for those students who want to earn an advanced degree, Morgan State University is our partner with a continuation path towards the master’s degree.”  

Coming to NDMU with a wealth of experience, program director Wenner has owned and operated her own restaurant franchise, co-founded the first Onion Festival in New Mexico and the Coconut Festival in Guyana, and served for seven years in the U.S. Army.  “This is such a great area of opportunity for women,” states Wenner, “with more areas of growth to come.”   

Students who are interested in learning more about this program should contact the Office of Admission or their current academic advisor. For more details including program curriculum and contacts for the program director, please visit: Leadership in Hospitality and Event Management.

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