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March 01, 1998
Meetings & Conventions: Get Smart March 1998 Current Issue
March 1998
Get Smart

As the work force gets more competitive, do your skills still make the grade?

BY CARLA BENINI

Phyllis Mikolaitis is not a typical 1997 graduate of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The 54-year-old mother of three is a 21-year employee of Xerox Corporation, currently working as the senior program manager for sales and support education in the document production division. She's climbed the ranks, from sales representative to stints as a sales and training manager to her current position at Xerox Document University in Leesburg, Va., the company's training campus.

Her expertise in meetings and training programs is irrefutable, spanning more than two decades. So, why spend the time and money at this point in her well-established career to complete a certificate in event planning?

"I want to decide when I'm going to retire," says Mikolaitis. She believes a certificate gives her a competitive edge, should Xerox ever want to clear out some cubicles or even hand out promotions. Since most classes are taught by industry professionals, she adds, the classroom was also an opportunity to "pick the brains" of professors and return to the office with fresh ideas.

For others, a class in meeting planning is a career jump-start. Melanie Goldman, 32, was a systems engineer at Electronic Data Systems, Inc., in Atlanta. Goldman liked planning the Christmas party and some internal meetings, but didn't feel she had acquired the skills or credentials to land a job in the meetings field. Now, she's a full-time student at Atlanta's Georgia State University, working toward a Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management.

Mikolaitis and Goldman are not isolated cases. At Georgia State University, enrollment has jumped 200 percent over the past year, says Debbie Robbe, instructor in exposition management. Washington State University in Seattle has seen a 75 percent increase in one year, says Tim Mulligan, acting director of the certificate program.

Among those opting for a formal meeting planning education is a healthy mix of veterans and wannabes. Many, like Mikolaitis and Goldman, have done time in the work force. But one of the fastest growing student sectors in this industry comprises recent high school graduates. Says Patti Shock, a chairperson at the Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, many students enter college with plans to study hospitality -- until they learn about the meetings and conventions industry.

"The younger students see this as an industry with a lot of options," says Debbie Robbe, who has noticed a sizeable increase in the 18- to 21-year-old crowd. "They realize that this is business, not just party planning."

The popularity of meeting planning programs in academia affirms the maturation of the industry, says Lalia Rach, dean of the Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Travel Administration at New York University in Manhattan. "The meeting has become a business tool within the organization, along with product and marketing strategies," she says.

At the same time, the industry seems to be demanding an education from prospective employees, according to Jill Adler, CMP, an associate at the Meeting Candidate Network, Inc., a New York City-based meetings industry headhunting firm. In fact, many of her clients would prefer to hire someone with a certificate in meeting planning.

By the next academic year, students will have even more choices. George Washington University's International Institute of Tourism Studies, headed by director/professor Joe Jeff Goldblatt, is organizing a consortium of schools that will buy a standardized event management curriculum. Set to begin next fall, the same program will run at five schools, allowing students to transfer and not lose credits. And graduates will be awarded certificates from both the university they attended and George Washington University.

At Roosevelt University in Chicago, a new Institute of Travel and Tourism will debut this summer. Part of the School of Hospitality Management, the institute will be a sort of clearinghouse for free-lance meeting projects, allowing students to get firsthand experience working on various events being held throughout the city.

Following is a roundup of meeting planning programs now available at universities nationwide.

NORTHEAST | MIDWEST | SOUTHWEST/ROCKIES | WEST COAST

NORTHEAST

Bentley College
Division of Continuing Education
Waltham, Mass.
www.bentley.edu

Program: Certificate in Meeting Management
Requirements: Three core courses and three elective courses
Cost: $395
Class times: Weeknights
Contact: Suzanne Lefebvre, program director
Phone: (781) 891-2800; fax: (781) 891-3449; e-mail:slefebvre@bentley.edu

George Washington University
International Institute of Tourism Studies
Washington, D.C.
www.gwu.edu

Program: Master of Tourism Administration with a concentration in Event Management
Requirements: 36 credits, one-third of which must be in the concentration
Cost: $575 per credit hour
Class times: Weeknights
Contact: Joe Jeff Goldblatt, director and professor
Phone: (202) 994-6281; fax: (202) 994-0013; e-mail:drevent@gwis2circ.gwu.edu

Program: Certificate in Event Management
Requirements: Seven continuing education credits and a 50-hour practicum. (Certificate program transfers into three Master's credits.)
Cost: $3,465 for in-class certificate; $2,450 for distance learning
Class times: Weekdays, Friday nights and Saturdays
Contact: Joe Jeff Goldblatt, director and professor
Phone: (202) 994-6281; fax: (202) 994-0013; e-mail:drevent@gwis2circ.gwu.edu

New York University
Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Travel Administration
New York, N.Y.
www.sce.nyu.edu/chtta

Program: Certificate in Meeting and Conference Managment
Requirements: Completion of two core courses and four elective courses. An advanced certificate requires at least three years of meeting experience.
Cost: $400 to $550 per course
Class times: Weeknights and weekends
Contact: Ruthe Davis, director of professional development programs
Phone: (212) 998-9101; fax: (212) 995-4676; e-mail:chtta.sce@nyu.edu

Program: Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Tourism Management with a concentration in Conference and Event Management
Requirements: 128 credits (60 liberal arts credits, 56 major credits and 12 concentration credits)
Cost: $600 per credit hour
Class times: Weekdays and weeknights
Contact: Sharr Prohaska, director of undergraduate programs
Phone: (212) 998-9109; fax: (212) 995-4676; e-mail:chtta.sce@nyu.edu

Northern Virginia Community College
Business Division
Annandale, Va.
www.nv.cc.va.us

Program: Certificate in Convention and Exposition Management
Requirements: 30 semester hours
Cost: In-state, $48 per credit hour; out-of-state, $160 per credit hour
Class times: Weeknights
Contact: Howard Reichbart, professor and advisor
Phone: (703) 323-3084; fax: (703) 323-3015; e-mail:nvreich@nv.cc.va.us

MIDWEST

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Department of Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional and Tourism Management
Indianapolis, Ind.
www.iupui.edu/~indyhper/pe_faculty/avgoustis.html

Program: Certificate in Convention and Meeting Planning
Requirements: 17 credits
Cost: In-state, $106.20 per credit hour; out-of-state, $326 per credit hour
Class times: Weeknights
Contact: Dr. Linda Brothers, chairperson
Phone: (317) 274-8772; fax: (317) 274-4567; e-mail:lbrothe@iupui.edu

Northeastern University
College of Business
Tahlequah, Okla.
www.nsuok.edu

Program: Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Meetings and Destination Management
Requirements: 39 general business credits, 36 meeting and destination management credits and a 1,000-hour internship under several employers
Cost: In-state, $58.65 per credit hour; out-of-state, $145.65 per credit hour
Class times: Weekdays
Contact: Penny Dotson, dept. chair
Phone: (918) 456-5511 ext. 3086; fax: (918) 458-2337; e-mail:dotson@cherokee.nsuok.edu

Roosevelt University
Hospitality Management Program Chicago, Ill.
www.roosevelt.edu

Program: Master of Science in Hospitality Management with a major in Meeting Planning/Convention and Exposition Management
Requirements: Students must complete 30 semester hours (15 core credits, 12 elective credits and a three-credit thesis)
Cost: $400 per semester hour
Class times: Weekdays, weeknights and Saturdays
Contact: Dr. Gerald Bober, director
Phone: (312) 341-4322; fax: (312) 341-2417; e-mail:boberg@admrs6k.roosevelt.edu

Program: Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management with a major in Meeting Planning/Convention and Exposition Management
Requirements: 120 semester hours
Cost: $361 per semester hour
Class times: Weekdays and weeknights
Contact: Dr. Gerald Bober, director
Phone: (312) 341-4322; fax: (312) 341-2417; e-mail:boberg@admrs6k.roosevelt.edu

Program: Certificate in Meeting Planning
Requirements: Five courses in meeting planning, special events and trade show production
Cost: $361 per credit hour
Class times: Weekdays, weeknights and weekends
Contact: Dr. Gerald Bober, director
Phone: (312) 341-4322; fax: (312) 341-2417; e-mail:boberg@admrs6k.roosevelt.edu

SOUTHWEST/ROCKIES

Metropolitan State College
School of Professional Studies
Denver, Colo.
www.mscd.edu/academics/scops/Scops.html

Program: Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality, Meeting and Travel Administration
Requirements: 120 credits (34 general studies, 29 core department, 41 meetings and 16 elective credits)
Cost: In-state, $293 per three-credit course; out-of-state, $917 per three-credit course
Class times: Weekdays, weeknights and Saturdays
Contact: John Dienhart, chairperson
Phone: (303) 556-3152; fax: (303) 556-8046; e-mail:dienhart@mscd.edu

University of Houston
Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management
Houston, Texas
www.hrm.uh.edu

Program: Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management, with a concentration in Meetings and Conventions
Requirements: 132 credit hours (68 general studies, 47 in the hotel college and 17 in meetings and conventions)
Cost: In-state, $120 per credit hour (three-credit courses are also $120); out-of-state, $248 per credit hour
Class times: Weekdays, weeknights and weekends
Contact: JeAnna Abbott, asst. professor
Phone: (713) 743-2413; fax: (713) 743- 2552; e-mail:jabbott@uh.edu

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Harrah College of Hotel Administration
Las Vegas, Nev.
www.nscee.edu/unlv/Tourism

Program: Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration with a concentration in Convention Management. (One Meetings Management graduate course is offered. Two correspondence courses, Convention Service and Hotel Catering, are offered through the Reno campus)
Requirements: 128 credits (52 general education and business, 46 in the hotel college and 30 electives)
Cost: In-state, $66.50 per credit hour; out-of-state, $130.50 per credit hour
Class times: Weekdays and weeknights
Contact: Patti Shock, chairperson
Phone: (702) 895-0875; fax: (702) 895-4870; e-mail:shock@nevada.edu

WEST COAST

Washington State University
Seattle Center for Hotel and Restaurant Administration
Seattle, Wash.
www.wsu.edu

Program: Certificate of Advanced Professional Studies in Conventions and Meetings
Requirements: 20 core credits, 17 credits in conventions and meetings and a 400-hour internship
Cost: In-state, $163.70 per credit hour; out-of-state, $507 per credit hour
Class times: Weekdays and weeknights
Contact: Tim Mulligan, acting director
Phone: (206) 587-6349; fax: (206) 587-6347; e-mail:mulligan@wsu.edu

Mt. Hood Community College
Hospitality and Tourism Dept., Business and Computer Technology Division
Gresham, Ore.
http://199.2.220.58/classes/bct/hospitality/hospitalityhome.htm

Program: Certificate in Conventions and Meetings Management
Requirements: 45 credit hours (33 in core courses and 12 electives, plus a 120-hour internship)
Cost: $37 per credit hour
Class times: Weekdays and weeknights
Contact: Court Carrier, program director
Phone: (503) 667-7486; fax: (503) 492-6007; e-mail:carrierc@mhcc.cc.or.us

Program: Associates Degree of Applied Science in Hospitality and Tourism Operations
Requirements: 95 credits (25 general studies, 53 hospitality and tourism management, six electives, three meetings management, plus a 240-hour internship worth eight credits)
Cost: $37 per credit hour
Class times: Weekdays and weeknights
Contact: Court Carrier, program director
Phone: (503) 667-7486; fax: (503) 492-6007; e-mail:carrierc@mhcc.cc.or.us

California State University, Long Beach
University College & Extension Services
Long Beach, Calif.
www.uces.csulb.edu

Program: Certificate in Professional Meeting and Event Planning
Requirements: Seven courses
Cost: $75 to $95 per course
Class times: Weeknights and Saturdays
Contact: Penni Wells, program administrator
Phone: (562) 985-8451; fax: (562) 985-8449; e-mail:pwells@uces.csulb.edu

University of California, San Diego
Department of Education and Behavioral Science
San Diego, Calif.
www.ucsd.edu

Program: Certificate in Meeting Management and Special Events Planning
Requirements: Six Saturday sessions or a five-day, intensive summer format
Cost: $596 for certificate
Class times: Saturdays
Contact: Barbara Fitzsimmons, program representative
Phone: (619) 534-3440; fax: (619) 534-7483; e-mail:bfitzsimmons@ucsd.edu

Home Schooling Goes Online Imagine being in your favorite chair, one hand in a bag of Doritos, the other on a computer mouse. You navigate to a university Web site, and suddenly you're in a classroom studying Meeting Management 101.

"Distance education is growing much faster than in-class programs," says Joe Jeff Goldblatt, director and professor of the Institute of International Tourism Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where all 14 courses for a Certificate in Event Management are on the Internet. In 1994, 25 students signed up for the Web-based program; in 1997, that number climbed to 2,000.

Northeastern University in Tahlequah, Okla., has a "real time" distance learning program, allowing students participate while a class is in session. Some classes were more difficult to transform than others, says Penny Dotson, a department chair in the College of Business Administration. For a marketing class in which students designed promotional items, all students needed a personal Web site. Students scanned projects into their Web sites, allowing them to view one another's work. During class, those off-campus could be put on a speaker phone to discuss projects and issues with the class. Dotson believes the effort will pay off for students when it comes time to job hunt. "The tourism industry has embraced the Web," she says. "Employers will want you to know this."

Beginning this fall, New York University will offer an online meeting planning course, and several other schools have Web programs in the works. * C.B.


Crash Courses While the following schools don't offer certificate programs, each has one or several courses in meeting planning.

Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.: Contact: Dr. J. Dana Clark, assistant professor, (704) 262-6237; e-mail: clarkjd@appstate.edu

Golden Gate University in San Francisco: Contact: Margaret Zeiger, core adjuct professor, (415) 442-6508; e-mail: mzeiger@ggu.edu

Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.: Contact: Bobbie Flaherty, instructor, (913) 532-5717; e-mail: flaherty@ksu.edu

Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa.: Contact: Paula Wolper, instructor, (814) 824-2339; e-mail: pwolper@paradise.staff.mercy.edu

New Mexico State University in Las Cruces: Contact: Dr. Patrick Moreo, department head, (505) 646 8099; e-mail: pmoreo@nmsu.edu

Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif.: Contact: Brenda Shine, coordinator, (714) 432-5835 ext. 6; e-mail: bshine@lib.occ.cccd.edu

University of Massachusetts in Amherst: Contact: Dr. Larry Klar, professor, (413) 545-6639; e-mail: lklar@hrta.umass.edu

University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa: Contact: Martha Kesterson, (205) 348-9148; e-mail: mkesters@ches.ua.edu * C.B.




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