New HTM minor complements all majors, helps build professional skill sets
June 25, 2019
It’s something we’ve all experienced. That thought in the back of your mind, the one that gnaws at you as you wait – impatiently – for an event to end. The thought that says, with confidence, “This would be better if I were in charge.”
If you graduated with a minor in Event and Experience Management, you would be right.
Set to launch in Fall 2019, the interdisciplinary minor will “explore the interaction of people, technology, and the environment within the event management context,” according to Candace Fitch, a professor of practice with the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, where the new minor will be housed.
“Most people will be involved, one way or another, in planning events during their life,” explained Fitch. “Whether it be for professional events or personal events like weddings or other social gatherings, event planning and management is an important skill for all of our students to have.”
She continued, “Regardless of your career path, sooner or later you will be approached by your boss to showcase a product, host visiting executives or clients, or woo a potential colleague. For example, a freshly graduated engineer, as the ‘new kid,’ might get assigned the job of hosting a group of international investors for a factory visit. That’s an event! And it requires skills and tools to pull it off successfully.”
Introduced in Fall 2018, the Pathways General Education Curriculum is an innovative general education program that seeks to provide a meaningful learning experience and allows students to integrate the learning for use throughout their lifetime. Created as part of the Pathways curriculum, the Event and Experience Management minor provides the opportunity for both students majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management, as well as non-majors to focus on a specific career path or simply build a skill set valuable for anyone.
“Students from all across Virginia Tech can benefit from this minor, whether they be in accounting, engineering, English, or computer science,” explained Fitch.
The needs of students from both inside and outside the Hospitality and Tourism Management major influenced the design of the program. The minor includes courses from a wide range of fields and disciplines, a requirement of approval for a Pathways minor.
“We thought about the types of skills that are needed to plan and manage an event,” said Fitch. “Then we researched courses from across the university that taught these skills.” Among others, courses in adult learning, space design, and marketing are part of the minor.
The minor includes nine hours of required foundation courses, followed by six hours of elective courses on one of two tracks: Sales or Event Management. The minor concludes with an innovative three-hour capstone course, in which the students apply each step of the event process, including aspects such as universal design, risk management, data analytics, and program evaluation, to an actual event of their choosing.
“The long-term bonus is that we raise the bar for events all across campus,” added Nancy McGehee, department head of the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
“Agriculture students might bring a livestock show; sorority or fraternity members might have an annual fundraiser they want to improve, or an HTM student may be involved with our Careerscope or Destinations Career Fair, Advisory Board dinner, or other HTM event.”
Fitch believes that the minor will be beneficial to the world of hospitality and tourism in general, even if the participants themselves do not end up working in the industry.
“Everyone is involved in some facet of hospitality management, even if it is as consumers to the industry,” she explained. “Being exposed to how the world of hospitality works improves everyone. We become better consumers, tourists, and people.”
For more information on the Event and Experience Management minor or the Hospitality and Tourism Management major, please visit the Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management page, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (540) 231-5515.