Thursday, January 7, 2016

Opening Doors to Hospitality & Tourism Management

Hospitality is a way of life here in San Diego and Southwest Riverside counties, directly or indirectly employing 173,000 area residents.  The San Diego Tourism Authority is projected a record year for tourism in in San Diego in 2015 -- $9.9 billion in visitor spending, 34 million visitors and $266 million in transient occupancy tax contributions to San Diego County city governments.  We believe they hit their mark.  (In San Diego County alone, one in eight jobs is currently tourism related.)

This past year we’ve launched several programs to meet the educational and training needs of people at every level of the organization including those seeking to identify their niche in the field and those seeking senior-level certification or a specialized MBA.

What’s unique is that each of these programs was developed in partnership with industry and many classes are taught by leaders in the field so they address the needs identified by those who are at the forefront. There’s also an applied or practicum component where students have the opportunity to put their learning to use in the field.

The “Professional Certificate in the Business of Hospitality”  is designed for those who are considering a career in the field or seeking to understand their growing role in the field.  This non-credit program gives participants an overview of all key functional areas from finance and HR to operations and customer service.  The full certificate incorporates seven topic areas of study. “This program is a great example of the University’s commitment to meeting the needs of North County’s hospitality sector, “ says Doug Yavanian, Community Relations Liaison at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa who is also a member of the CSU Alumni Council, Chancellor’s Hospitality Advisory Board and CSUSM Hospitality Advisory Board.

A specialization in Hospitality & Tourism Management is also available as part of the MBA program.  Alternatively, students can also choose individual credit-based courses from the MBA curriculum or they can complete a set of six predetermined graduate level courses to receive an “Advanced Certificate in Hospitality and Tourism Management. “ Courses being offered this spring include Hospitality Revenue Management and Employment Best Practices.

Ed Fuller an internationally known leader, educator and author who formerly served as president and managing director of Marriott International says, “this is the perfect combination, uniting the strength of the university’s MBA program wish the need of the expanding hospitality industry.”

On Saturday April 1 we will be joining forces with the San Diego North Economic Development Council to host a Connected Tourism Summit on campus from 7 am – 2 pm featuring industry speakers and panels, as well as a career fair. This event is open to the public with reservations required. Please call 760-750-4004 to learn more.

Do you have ideas about professional development certificates or degrees we ought to be investigating?  If so, please reach out to me at . Thank you!  

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Next Frontier: Cybersecurity

From government employees to big box store customers, no organization’s data is safe from determined hackers. Institutions of higher education, like ours, have a responsibility to train critical thinkers in this field to navigate, anticipate and effectively manage this evolving challenge.  

This past year, we assembled faculty, industry leaders and regional economic development personnel to help us create a relevant and meaningful Professional Science Master’s degree in cybersecurity with a focus on threat prevention.  The objective: to create a degree that combines technical training and business skills with practical knowledge, positioning graduates to fill employment demand gaps in security domains such as programming, threat prevention and IT and service management.

We want our students to be on the cutting edge of cyber; able to effectively manage and anticipate potential issues.

“By focusing on cyber threat prevention and IT security management, this program focuses on the strategies and tactics to reduce or mitigate risks before they become crises,” says RADM (Ret) Ken Slaght, Co-Chair and President of the San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence and a member of the program advisory committee.
Our first cohort launched this fall with a group of working adults, all of whom had background in IT but none of whom had been formally educated in the field of cybersecurity. These students will work through their program part-time over five semesters, with classes held after work hours and will finish with a semester-in-residence capstone project that enables them to work on a special project in the industry.  On completion, their jobs prospects will be strong.

According to Burning Glass Technologies, “demand for cybersecurity has grown 3.5 times faster than demand for other IT jobs and 12 times faster than all other jobs.” 
This is one field that will be rapidly gaining momentum in the years to come,” says Mark Cafferty, President and CEO, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation

ViaSat Vice President Simon Kuo notes, “this degree program combines the art and science of cybersecurity into one cohesive approach, something missing in most other Master’s programs.”

Advisory Board members, John Gormally, a major account manager with F5 Networks adds, “Information security infrastructures are the needed fabric to ensure that organizations are secure, compliant and providing protection for critical data.  CSUSM is leading the way with the launch of this program which is so closely aligned with workforce needs in the technology industry.”

If you have thoughts on other programs that we ought to be investigating or developing in order to better prepare area residents for available jobs and to meet the needs of regional employers, please contact me at

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What are the connections needed to move our region forward?

I've always thought of “knowledge” as an engine that drives innovation, individual and corporate successes and economic prosperity.  And, I believe that public universities like ours have a responsibility – really a mandate from taxpayers, as well as area residents and businesses -- to partner with industry to serve the educational and training needs of existing and emerging sectors and to help ensure successful career pathways.

For the past several years we have developed some great “customized training” programs for organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, Stone Brewing Company and Tri -City Medical Center  -- providing the training that helps facilitate career growth for thousands of employees and offering certificates that articulate achievement in disciplines such as Supervising Employees and Human Resource  Management (

We've also established Advisory Councils to offer leadership, insight and counsel as we develop programs in Cybersecurity, Water Resource Management, Business Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Leadership and Hospitality and Tourism Management. Our Advisory Council members understand their respective business sectors as only an insider could. They help us create meaningful programs, teach courses, offer internships and practicums and establish/monitor curriculum and teaching strategies to ensure our students have a competitive advantage.  

Our Hospitality and Tourism Management advisors helped us develop a unique specialization for the MBA program that launches later this year ( and they’re also helping us develop a “Business of Hospitality” Professional Certificate. Industry leaders in Cybersecurity have been the driving force for an emerging Professional Science Master’s degree in this field ( as well as stackable certificates.

We’re reaching out to elected officials, regional business leaders and existing and prospective students to ensure that we are making the connections necessary to stay on top of career opportunities and bridge the gap between the skills that area residents have today and the knowledge base that regional employers currently have and will develop in the next few years.

Do you have an idea for a new program, partnership or area of study we ought to pursue? I’d love to hear from you at

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Looking Ahead.....

As we start looking ahead towards the new year, I am very excited about the opportunities I see and the direction that higher education is heading. 

I have spent a fair amount of time this past year meeting with and surveying key stakeholders in our region and internationally including current and prospective students at different stages of their career life cycle ---  as well as business and civic leaders and the deans and presidents of neighboring colleges and universities. The one message that has been clear is that we need to “think outside of the box” and create partnerships and alliances that serve a greater good.

To that end we have worked together with the City of Temecula and Mt San Jacinto College to create a “2+2” program that enables students in southwest Riverside county to start and finish a Bachelor’s degree in four years with low student-to-faculty ratios and locked tuition and fees. We have worked with local hoteliers in San Diego county to create a Hospitality and Tourism Management certificate as well a specialization within our MBA program. We have worked with local cyber security firms to develop a Professional Science Master’s in Cyber security..,, and the list goes on and on.

To support continued growth we have brought on Dr. Al Kern as interim Associate Dean and Lori Covington as Manager of Academic Programs. Dr. Kern founded the biotechnology programs here at CSUSM and has had an extremely successful career in biotech both regionally and internationally. Lori was previously at Mesa College where she was responsible for accreditation; grant writing, management and creation of successful Continuing Ed programs and Allied Health. 

I am focused on staying attuned to the work force needs of our Southern California region, both from the perspective of prospective students who are looking to advance or change careers and from the perspective of area businesses who are looking to hire a well trained workforce.  Do you have thoughts or ideas about programs or partnerships we ought to consider? Please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Moving Outside of the Comfort Zone

This past month I have had rich discussions with students and faculty returning to campus from a summer term spent working and studying abroad ( These discussions have revolved around how international experiences impact both the classroom experience and the community here at CSUSM, as well as the ways in which we learn.

Dr. Bonnie Bade, chair of our Anthropology department (, leads a team of students to Ecuador each year to live in the Andes with indigenous Quichua community host families and study traditional educational, health and agriculture practices. Students are taught to question clinical assumptions about the health and wellness of individuals and communities and to learn about more broadly defined illness classifications, explanations and treatments that incorporate holistic thinking, and the roles of community in health. "Students go into a bit of culture shock when they arrive," she says.  "Andean culture is not obsessed with time and accumulation as we are. Instead, a premium is place on the wisdom of the ages carried forward by elders and wise persons for whom buen vivir, or the ‘good life,’ is defined by balance of work, rest, and physical and spiritual health for individuals, communities and ecosystems. The Andean concept of ecological well-being is central to community well-being.  Just being there takes much of what our students have learned in the U.S. and throws it on its side. Homogenizing forces such as social media and movies are less prevalent; they rely on traditional knowledge and practices. Interactions between people are based on the values of reciprocity and sharing which causes our students to re-evaluate the way they look at just about everything in their lives."  

"It was good for me," says student Sam Grosso who is a vet attending CSUSM and has been to Ecuador twice with the program.  "Each time I go to Ecuador, it takes me awhile to process what I've seen and learned. It's like another deployment in that way. The difference is that in Ecuador my host family has become my family. Andean culture is very welcoming and sincere. The families, culture, and rituals have helped me heal and the connections I've made have empowered me."   

Nursing instructor Michelle Alfe's experiences in Tanzania have given her the same kind of mind-bending perspective. "I just returned from a year in Dodoma, Tanzania teaching Medical Surgical nursing students. The experience gave me insight into myself and how I can become a better teacher. My tolerance level changed enormously. I learned the importance of listening, truly respecting each student as an individual and looking for ways to actively mentor and make a difference in the lives of each and every student I interact with," she says. 

The School of Nursing, ( under the direction of Dr. Denise Boren and Dr. Pat Hinchberger, has a history of encouraging students and faculty to work and study worldwide and this practice has impacted the development of courses such as Health Promotion and Patient Teaching Strategies.   “In countries like Swaziland our students learn to make do with extremely limited resources and it gives them a broader perspective about healthcare and the many cultural sensitivities that come into play. Many of our students return with a new-found passion for serving underserved populations, " says Dr. Boren.

By moving outside of our comfort zones, and having global experiences, students and faculty at CSUSM are impacting and informing curriculum development and learning ( Do you have ideas for work/study programs abroad that would benefit our students and faculty? Please feel free to email me at I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Real Impact of Internationalization

This fall we will have 450 international students studying here at CSUSM representing 40 countries around the world, most notably China, Korea, Japan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. As education standards are rising globally, there is more interest and demand for higher education in virtually every country around the world  - 

Despite this fact, I am often asked why a public university like ours continues to admit international students:  is this contrary to our mission of ‘expanding student access to an excellent and affordable education?’

You may find the answer startling.

According to the California Colleges for International Education, “ it takes roughly 4 international students to open a section, thereby making it possible for another 30 more California students to receive college instruction.”  The bottom line is that the influx of international students allows us to better serve domestic students by offering more programs and additional sections of existing programs, to help mitigate the issues raised by impacted classes and programs.

Because international students do not qualify for government aid and most pay their own way, they bring into the U.S. literally billions of dollars each year to cover tuition, housing, food and other expenses.

But these are the dollar and cent issues. The biggest impact I see is in the lives of our students and faculty who are learning together and exploring issues from a truly global perspective.

When students from China, Saudi Arabia and Norway are engaged in a project with students from the United States, they have an opportunity to think about preconceptions, biases, and assumptions they may have never considered. I recently watched a discussion among international students regarding the roles and responsibilities of public service agencies in working with displaced populations such as refugees and immigrants. Conversations like these are where real learning occurs.

What do you think about the internationalization of our campus? To see what some of our international students think, view

I look forward to your comments; please feel free to email me at

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Importance of Global Education

A few weeks ago I started re-reading a book that really resonated with me, Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat a Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.  In my role as Associate Vice President of Global Programs here at CSUSM I’ve been thinking a lot about why a global perspective is important for our students and how it sets them up for future success.

Friedman’s perspective is that the 21st century we inhabit operates on a more of a level global playing field than ever before in terms of business and commerce…and I would argue in terms of higher education opportunities as well.  Friedman suggests that geography is no longer necessarily a driver or detractor to personal success; that a continual updating of skills, healthy curiosity and empathy and a willingness to learn and adapt are the keys that distinguish winners.

As our students are studying and working abroad, I am witnessing this trend firsthand and see how opportunities for global learning are transforming and enriching their lives.

For the past two years we’ve had a group of students travel to Ecuador to study medical anthropology with Dr. Bonnie Bade, department chair and professor of Anthropology. These students live in indigenous communities and visit hospitals and clinics where they witness and practice both traditional and clinical medicine. They learn, for example, about medical ethno botany from Quechua farmers.  Bonnie tells me that, “our students learn about other ways of thinking, doing and being. They think about new ways or relating to the environment and creating community. It opens their minds.”

The chair of our nursing department, Dr. Denise Boren takes nursing students to Swaziland each year to see patients in clinics and homes and learn about the issues that impact healthcare delivery in southern Africa.  Nursing instructor Lien Ngo-Nguyen took a group of nurses to work in Vietnam this past summer.  And, for the past several years we’ve sponsored a group of students who have visited a non-adopting orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to observe biological, sociological and psychological factors that foster or inhibit human development. They come into the situation with a specific set of assumptions based on an American perspective and consistently report that the experience is “life changing.”

These are just a few examples of international learning and service opportunities available to CSUSM students.  Stay tuned as we continue to develop new programs that expand global awareness, insight and perspective. I enjoy hearing from you and hope you will feel free to email me at