The College of Business welcomes Professors Lan Li and Eunha Myung into its faculty ranks in a move that also transfers NIU’s reputed hospitality and tourism management (HTM) major to the college. Li and Myung created the HTM program, which was originally housed in the College of Health and Human Sciences where they also previously performed their scholarly work.
The two professors and the HTM board of executive advisors recommended the move after evaluating national trends in the tourism and hospitality industry. During its June 17 meeting, the NIU board of trustees approved the move of the faculty to the College of Business.
“It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome Professors Li and Myung to our college,” said NIU College of Business Dean Balaji Rajagopalan. “Lan and Eunha are highly valued faculty members and I am excited to see them launch programmatic innovations in the HTM area. This program will benefit from the strengths of our college in several areas that include entrepreneurship, data analytics and global opportunities through our global business partnerships.”
Myung’s home will be in the Department of Marketing with a joint appointment in the Department of Management. Li’s home will be in the Department of Management, with a joint appointment in the Department of Operations Management and Information Systems.
“The hospitality industry requires our graduates to possess both solid business foundational knowledge and industry-specific knowledge,” said Myung. “This transition will greatly benefit our students as the new program offers core sets of business foundation courses with an emphasis on hospitality courses. This will provide our students with both theoretical and practical knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to succeed in their careers. I am very excited to join the Department of Marketing and look forward to working with the team.”
Echoing this enthusiasm, Department of Marketing Chair Vijay Krishnan Palghat said, “Professor Myung brings with her excellent consumer behavior and service marketing insights that dovetail with and complement the skills sets in the Department of Marketing. I am excited about and look forward to her inputs, which I believe have the potential to make our students well-positioned for outstanding careers anywhere in the world.”
The move also brings a technology focus into the mix. Li described the importance of including technology. “The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally altered the travel and hospitality industry. Contactless technologies, automated cleaning features and internet-of-things preventative measures will become the norm, opening up new business models and opportunities in the industry. My colleague and I are very excited to be part of this. We look forward to working with students and faculty members in the College of Business.”
Department of Management Chair Jon Briscoe strongly agrees and said, “We’re excited to host HTM in the Department of Management and College of Business. We feel this is a great way to achieve synergy between the new professors’ talents and our expertise in the college.
The two faculty will transition to their new academic homes effective August 2021. Based on NIU Provost Beth Ingram’s approval, the HTM program will be launched as a degree emphasis within the Bachelor of Science in business administration (BSBA) major from the Department of Management.
CHHS students in their final year of studies will be able to complete their HTM coursework in the College of Health and Human Sciences during the fall 2021 semester. Beginning in the fall 2022 semester, HTM courses will be offered entirely out of the Department of Management in the College of Business. Li and Myung will continue with their leadership roles. They’ll also continue to serve as key partners in a collaboration to realign HTM course offerings with the business college’s vision and mission.
Headed by College of Business Associate Dean Daewoo Park, this effort brings together professors Li and Myung, College of Business curriculum committee members, Department of Management Chair Briscoe, Department of Marketing Chair Palghat, and hospitality and tourism executives who serve on the HTM board of executive advisors. The board had been established years earlier as a guiding industry force. Its members include hotel executives, restaurant managers and travel advisors. In fact, the HTM board provided the impetus for Li and Myung to propose moving the program to the business college. Board members arrived at this recommendation after relaying growing industry demand nationwide for graduates of both HTM and business programs.
“The collaboration between all parties has been exceptional,” said Associate Dean Daewoo Park, who also oversees all undergraduate and graduate level business programs. “Lan and Eunha have solid knowledge of and strong relationships with the HTM industry. They have strong curriculum development skills and strong research skills. We all have great trust and respect for each other. We’ve worked closely together to choose essential HTM courses with the goal of enhancing them for both the technology age and global business environment.”
Adding the HTM program to the college’s roster of curriculum offerings has proven to be a great fit. Li and Myung are innovative in their scholarly work, having created the program years ago and having established an engaged executive advisory board. This mirrors the College of Business and its culture of innovation, as spearheaded by Dean Rajagopalan. It also has symmetry with the college’s 40-plus-year history of creating and working with industry advisory boards. Additionally, Associate Dean Park possesses firsthand experience with managing an HTM program. And through the dean’s office, the college has strong teaching and research partnerships with universities around the world.
“One of our goals is to be able to provide student internships here and abroad, as well as student exchanges and faculty exchanges with our international partners,” said Department of Marketing Chair Palghat.
Building on that thought, Department of Management Chair Briscoe said, “In a global business environment, HTM graduates must have a good understanding of business, naturally, and today that includes possessing a solid appreciation for worldviews and cultures.”
Park added that the college enjoys good relationships with several universities in the United States as well as abroad.
“We envision tapping into a network of global partners. Through the dean’s office and the MBA program, we have solid partnerships in Germany, Italy, South Korea, Japan and Singapore, among other countries,” said Park. “Additionally, we have very strong relationships with HTM faculty in stateside institutions; among them the University of Hawaii, the University of San Francisco, the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Florida International University and others.”