Penn State launches national search for school of hospitality director

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management (SHM) has launched a national search for a new director, as current Director John O’Neill will lead the school’s new Center for Hospitality Real Estate Strategy starting in July.

The search committee, led by Dennis Shea, associate dean for undergraduate programs and outreach in College of Health and Human Development is looking for someone “who has the passion to build on the outstanding foundation provided in SHM, one of the best hospitality management programs in the world; can develop a common vision for the future of education, research and outreach in this field; and can bring faculty, students, staff, alumni and industry partners together to collaborate on creative and innovative programs.”

To continue SHM’s success, the new director will be responsible for providing leadership in all of the school’s activities including undergraduate and graduate education, curriculum innovation, research, outreach, global programs, faculty and staff recruitment and development, relationships with alumni, donors and industry partners, and maintaining partnerships with Penn State’s departments of hospitality services, and housing and food services.

“The School of Hospitality Management's search committee, chaired by Associate Dean Dennis Shea, is working hard to identify a new director for the school who will advance the school's progress, which has achieved tremendous momentum in recent years,” said Ann C. Crouter, Raymond E. and Eric Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development.

With a new director, Penn State is eager to continue the growth that O’Neill facilitated. During his four years of leadership, O’Neill achieved many accomplishments, including leading upgrades to the interior and exterior of the Mateer Building and student-run restaurant Café Laura; instituting curricular improvements in the areas of lodging, food and beverage, gaming operations, entrepreneurship, and technology, including social media; forming an advisory board of industry executives; reinvigorating the Conti Professorship series; adding new executive seminars; and adding new student trips into the hospitality field where students visit corporate headquarters and meet with CEOs.

“There are so many strengths to build on – our popularity with today's undergraduates, the school's cadre of superb faculty who bring a unique blend of research and industry expertise to their educational mission, recent investments in the school's infrastructure such as the renovation of Café Laura, and the strong bonds the school enjoys with its active and engaged alumni group,” Crouter said. “Our current director, John O'Neill, has done an outstanding job. When he passes the leadership baton to a new director, he will embark on an exciting new initiative for the school – the Center for Hospitality Real Estate Strategy, which will deepen and enrich our curriculum, research and outreach activities in that important area.”

Plato Ghinos, president of Shaner Hotel Group and member of SHM’s Industry Advisory Board, expects the new director to continue to elevate the status of the school.

“O’Neill has raised the level of the hotel school to the highest level. Certainly, the school is one of the elite programs in the world. The proof is the placement of 94 percent of students in top jobs and with the highest respect from recruiters. Additionally, the level of research projects is only one area that has excelled the school to a top position,” Ghinos said. “The new director has to maintain this high reputation the school has within the industry and academia. We at the advisory board are looking forward to support all the above efforts with the new director.”

Lea Ann Kish, chief operating officer of Milestone Hospitality Management and president of the Penn State & Hotel Restaurant Society said, "This is an exciting time for the Penn State School of Hospitality Management, and we look forward to continuing to advance the work of the school and ensure that our program remains one of the top hospitality programs in the world, an achievement which has prevailed since the inception in 1937.” 

A successful candidate should have strong community-building, interpersonal, mentoring, management and fundraising skills, cultural competence skills, and be committed to recruiting and retaining a diverse group of students, faculty and staff. The director will have administrative responsibility for all operational, fiscal and procedural actions of the school; will represent the school within the college, University and the profession; and will be the primary liaison to the Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society, an active alumni group with a long and distinguished history.

The School of Hospitality Management seeks to continue its growth as an integral component of Penn State’s interdisciplinary College of Health and Human Development. Penn State is seeking nominations and applications for the position of director of the school.

Find more information or contact Dennis Shea, associate dean for undergraduate programs and outreach in the College of Health and Human Development. 

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Last Updated November 26, 2014