FRAMINGHAM – Framingham State University is preparing to launch a new major in Hospitality and Tourism Management for students interested in pursuing careers within the food, travel and international tourism industries.
The new bachelor’s degree program will officially be available to students starting in spring 2019, after being approved by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on December 11.
The University hired John Palabiyik earlier this year to oversee the launch of the new major, which is the first of its kind in the State University System.
“We are very excited to be able to offer this new in-demand major to our students,” said University President F. Javier Cevallos. “The job prospects in the hospitality industry are very strong in this region.”
The University has been seeking to create a major in hospitality and tourism management ever since it acquired the Warren Conference Center & Inn in Ashland in 2016.
The 65-acre property provides students with access to a professional event and conference center to hone their skills and learn the trade.
In addition to the new major, the University will also be offering an online hospitality certificate program for employees who are already in the industry and looking to advance their careers.
Palabiyik, who began offering an Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism course this semester in anticipation of the approval of the new major, says Framingham State is ideally situated to offer a successful program.
“The University’s location just 20 minutes outside of Boston provides students with close access to an international tourism hub,” says Palabiyik, who also offers his introductory course online. “Combine that with our ownership of the Warren Conference Center and Inn and all the pieces are in place for a truly dynamic program.”
The new major is housed within the University’s College of Business. Palabiyik, who has an MBA and a PhD in Hospitality Administration, has begun establishing ties to local industry leaders.
“These businesses are waiting for our students,” says Palabiyik. “I plan to facilitate lots of networking and internship opportunities so students already have a foot in the door by the time they graduate.”
Palabiyik’s plans for the program include establishing a student Hospitality Club, a weekly speaker series featuring industry professionals, field trips to visit major companies in the region, and a faculty led study abroad opportunity focused on hospitality. He has also been in touch interested in the program.