Resort and Hospitality Curriculum Merges with College of Business

How Students Are Adapting Almost Two Years Later


Jessica Piland

Lutgert College of Business

Samantha Yaffa, Contributing Writer

Following the Lutgert College of Business taking over FGCU’s School of Resort and Hospitality Management’s curriculum, students are diving head first into the now-required business classes.  

The resort and hospitality management program (RHM) was the first hospitality program in the State University System of Florida accredited through the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA). 

“As a state university that wants to support the industries that drive our regional economy, maintaining a business-focused resort and hospitality management degree program should be a priority for Florida Gulf Coast University,” Dr. Michael Collins, a professor of the RHM, said. “There is strong demand for our resort and hospitality graduates, both locally and globally.”  

When the RHM was created, it was held within the College of Professional Studies. This college included many business-related courses which then meant students in the RHM program needed certain business classes. 

However, in the fall of 2012, the College of Professional Studies was removed from the university entirely. This moved the RHM program to the Lutgert College of Business; however, the business curriculum was not integrated into the RHM program at this time.  

On Nov. 9, 2019, there was a faculty senate meeting where the future of the RHM was discussed. According to President Martin, there was a 46% decline in enrollment in the RHM from 2014 to 2018. This resulted in certain areas of the program such as the spa management program, which offered a fully functioning spa on campus, and the golf pro shop, to be shut down.  

“We can’t afford to sustain programs that can’t come close to sustaining themselves, could not tolerate that kind of inefficiency,” Martin said.

During this meeting, President Martin was asked if the community was in support of the change in the RHM. 

​​“They are supportive, especially of raising the rigor,” Martin said. “We have heard from employers that our students were not as competitive as others.”  

Collins says the process of changing RHM’s curriculum began in 2019.

“The new curriculum was fully in place by the fall of 2021, which offers many benefits to resort and hospitality graduates,” Collins said. “Quite frankly, the school’s move to the Lutgert College of Business makes a lot of sense.” 

According to FGCU’s website, the school still has unique learning opportunities in Sugden Hall after the merge, including a fully operational food production and restaurant lab, a wine and food tasting lab, ballroom event management lab, and cutting-edge audio/visual/internet technology.

Students are being challenged by these curriculum changes, but feel it will benefit them in the long run.

“Well at the end of the day I think the hospitality industry is one of the largest and fastest growing areas of business,” sophomore RHM student Jake Van Velsor said. “Taking these classes will help students become more prepared for their careers. I think they will better qualify graduates to work in higher-up positions in the industry as well.” 

RHM students are now required to take business classes such as finance, accounting, logistics, supply chain, and more. 

“Resort and hospitality graduates need to understand business to be successful, including accounting, finance, management, and marketing,”  Collins said.

The School of Resort and Hospitality Management is now also accredited through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) now.

“I’ve taken financial and managerial accounting and would say it’s necessary to take them just because hospitality and business go hand and hand,” junior RHM student Blake Gauthron said. “But [I] would say those classes are pretty stressful.”