UofSC Hospitality and Tourism Management School Leaps to Top 10
Thursday, August 15th, 2019
South Carolina’s tourism industry has been growing strong for the past six years, and the state’s flagship institution is keeping pace to serve the thriving job market. For the second year in a row, the University of South Carolina’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management has jumped up in academic rankings and is now among the top 10 hospitality schools in the country.
The ShanghaiRanking’s 2019 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects – Hospitality & Tourism Management shows South Carolina moving up to No. 7 in the U.S. and No. 15 in the world. The program ranked 12th nationally and 32nd in the world in 2017.
From restaurants to hotels, to travel and attractions, tourism’s economic impact on South Carolina has reached $22.6 billion, contributing approximately 10% of jobs in the state. South Carolina’s hospitality and tourism management students are graduating with preparation to lead the vibrant industry.
"Our graduating students are ready to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact," says School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management Director Drew Martin. "Our goal is to create the best applied learning experience possible. The HRTM educational experience is like an apprenticeship that requires focus and passion. If you want to be ready for a tourism or hospitality management position after graduation, we are waiting for you!"
The school is part of South Carolina’s College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management and offers bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs with specialized areas of concentration. The program prepares students for managerial careers in one of the largest and fastest growing job markets in the United States. The undergraduate program emphasizes internship and career experiences, study abroad, and other hands-on learning including a student-run restaurant and a new J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation Culinary Laboratory set to open later this year.
“It’s always exciting to know the next generation of hospitality leaders is getting a world-class education right here in the Palmetto State,” said Duane Parrish, Director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism and a South Carolina graduate himself. “Our industry only grows stronger when the workforce is energized, creative and solutions-oriented, and that’s what UofSC’s hospitality and tourism management program cultivates.”
In addition to real-world knowledge, research plays a big role in the program’s success. The latest rankings are based primarily on South Carolina’s success in conducting impactful research that advances the field of hospitality and tourism management. Martin says research excellence has a direct impact on students’ experience in the classroom.
"We study things that inform our teaching and help industry,” he says. “Students want to learn the latest discoveries. They want professors who are thought leaders at the cutting edge of what they’re teaching."
The global ranking assessment is conducted by ShanghaiRanking, a fully independent organization, and is informed by a survey of more than 6,000 professors from the top 100 universities around the world.
“We extend our heartiest congratulations to UofSC’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management for its extremely significant and well-deserved jump in the rankings,” says John Durst, president and CEO of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. “This is a tangible reaffirmation of the school’s excellence and invaluable role in providing the best academic foundation for students seeking a career in the hospitality and tourism industry!”
South Carolina has been able to stack up against schools with far larger departments in the rankings. Scott Smith, director of the South Carolina graduate program, says the school’s productivity is due to a positive culture that is attracting great professors.
“I took the job at UofSC because of the quality of my fellow faculty members and the organizational culture within the college. That collegial attitude creates a wonderful work environment and in turn produces great research and teaching,” Smith says. “We have some of the top faculty in the world and I feel fortunate to collaborate with them both in research and teaching.”
The school’s culture also includes an international approach, with a diverse faculty and wide-ranging partnerships.
“Being a foreign-born faculty member, I have always wanted to share the importance of global collaboration in education and research," says Assistant Professor Marketa Kubickova. "Working at UofSC has provided me with the opportunities to do just that. The diversity that our faculty brings is key to being able to collaborate with people from around the world."
Martin says his faculty and students are very excited about the school’s continued success, and he is optimistic for even more growth in the year ahead.
“Our faculty, staff, students, and alumni have a strong sense of pride in the school,” says Martin. "It makes people feel good about what they're doing, generates positive momentum, and encourages ongoing improvement and innovation.”
The school’s efforts do not go unnoticed by students, present or past.
“The faculty and staff are all so knowledgeable and care so much about their students. Almost everyone who is teaching you is someone who has already worked in the industry, so having the opportunity to learn from great industry leaders was definitely the most valuable part of my college experience,” says Jenny Rojek, a 2014 hospitality management alumna who now works in management for Walt Disney World.
When asked about the key to the school’s success, Martin’s response speaks to the heart of higher education. "Our improvement has been organic. We're just doing our jobs and focusing on students,” he says.