Texas A&M University will now be home to a new Department of Hospitality, Hotel Management and Tourism after receiving approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This new department is a renaming and reformulation of what was formerly the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences.
A growing and evolving hospitality industry
The new department will offer three new undergraduate degree tracks in hospitality, hotel management and tourism. Hanover Research projects employment in hospitality and hotel management over the next 10 years to grow 6.3% nationally and 17.2% in Texas. Currently the department offers certificates in professional event management, recreation and park management, hospitality management and tourism management. Graduate degrees include a Master of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in hospitality, hotel management and tourism.
“These changes reflect the dynamic needs of the hospitality and resort industry in Texas, nationally and around the globe,” said M. Katherine Banks, Ph.D., president of Texas A&M University. “Through our revitalized programming and world-class faculty and facilities, we will provide a transformational education to prepare the next generation of leaders in the hospitality, hotel management and tourism industry, and show the world what Aggie Hospitality really means.”
The department will be led by Brian King, Ph.D., who joined the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in January 2022. King’s career has combined academia with industry through varied roles around the world in hospitality, human resource development, and marketing to international agencies, providing him with a global perspective on destination management and tourism.
“We knew we could achieve a lot by bringing together faculty resources to help mobilize the visitor economy in Texas, attracting global interest and recognition,” said King. “This transition for the department solidifies the approach and opens more doors for our faculty and students to benefit the hospitality industry locally, statewide and nationally.”
“We knew we could achieve a lot by bringing together faculty resources to help mobilize the visitor economy in Texas, attracting global interest and recognition. This transition for the department solidifies the approach and opens more doors for our faculty and students to benefit the hospitality industry locally, statewide and nationally.”
Brian King, Ph.D.
Department Head and Professor
Built on a legacy of excellence
Embracing its nearly 60-year-long legacy of internationally recognized excellence in resource management and tourism sciences, the department plans to lean on and expand upon its strong foundations in teaching, research and extension while embracing the evolving demographics and increasingly global population of Texas. This added focus will allow faculty and students within the department to capitalize on this emerging industry and propel their expertise to areas where they can positively influence the industry at the state, national and global levels.
“This department embraces a modern experience with the life sciences and agriculture, exploring new places and experiences, and applying comprehensive expertise together across all the departments of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences,” said Jeffrey W. Savell, Ph.D., vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences. “With an expanded scientifically based focus on an enhanced human experience with the world, we are helping people find new places and creating spaces to be thoroughly enjoyed.”
New program available this fall
The new department name will be effective on Aug. 15, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This fall, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will also be welcoming their largest class of incoming freshmen. Incoming students are able to join the Hospitality, Hotel Management and Tourism program.
This new department will have a presence in the Aplin Center, which will serve as an immersive learning laboratory for students with programs in hospitality, retail studies and food product development. Texas A&M University is set to break ground on the Aplin Center in fall 2023.
About Texas A&M AgriLife
As the largest comprehensive agriculture program nationally, Texas A&M AgriLife brings together a college and four state agencies focused on agriculture and life sciences within The Texas A&M University System. With over 5,000 employees, and a presence in every county across the state, Texas A&M AgriLife is uniquely positioned to improve the quantity and quality of food production to benefit human health and lower health care costs, while increasing profitability for producers and ensuring environmental sustainability.