While many students in the School of Hotel Administration are quick to name high starting salaries and exciting career options as their primary reasons for studying hospitality, the school’s new dean, David Butler, spoke to The Sun about the importance of hospitality as an integral part of civilization’s history and his plans and priorities for the school.
Q: How did your previous job as the school’s associate dean of executive education prepare you for your new position?
A: Since I served as the dean for the executive education operation for several years, my job was to go out around the world to this industry and talk about what they needed in the world of education. So it was kind of a nice preparation for my current role.
Q: Which issues do you view as most important to the hotel school right now?
A: This school, for decades, has been extraordinarily global in the impact and influence on the industry. I think what will remain for many years the most fundamental issue of the school has been the one that is stated here [in the school’s mission statement], and that is both to create knowledge and to disseminate knowledge about hospitality management to the global industry.
Q: How do you personally interpret the mission of the school, and what are the biggest challenges facing the school?
A: The fundamental mission [is one of] creating and disseminating knowledge about hospitality management to the global hospitality industry, with a big emphasis on both “global” and “hospitality.”
In thinking about how to summarize what the school most needs to focus on, I think there’s a lot of value in just having a few words that sort of contain the essence of the critical ideas. It’s a little bit like companies that have some sort of slogan.
After a lot of discussion with our faculty and our students and our alumni and other leaders in the industry … I came up with the Four R’s, if you will: