New master’s in Service Innovation and Leadership for hospitality school

By Kenna Caprio


Fairleigh Dickinson University’s International School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (ISHTM) is introducing a new master’s degree.


The goal is to pilot the program — a Master of Science in Service Innovation and Leadership — this summer, says Petrocelli College of Continuing Studies Dean Kenneth Vehrkens.


Petrocelli developed the degree partially in response to a request from ISHTM partner Wyndham Worldwide — “the largest hospitality company in the world” — and also to fill a niche within the state. “There’s not really another degree like this offered in New Jersey,” says Vehrkens.


The degree will appeal to people already working in the service industry. “Most students will be working adults looking for upward mobility into senior management,” says Vehrkens.


He expects that a large number of initial applicants will come from a pool at Wyndham. “It’s a progressive company that offers education reimbursement and encourages employees to continue education beyond the bachelor’s degree.”


Other applicants may work in the real estate, automotive, employee services and tax industries. The broad appeal of the innovation and leadership program makes it appropriate across multiple disciplines.


Courses include “Managing Service Industry Financial Systems”, “Global Marketing for the Service Industry”, “Technology in Service Industry” and “Accounting for Service Industry Administrators”.


The 36-credit, non-thesis program consists of 30 credits of required core courses and 6 credits of electives. Classes will be offered at off-site locations, including Wyndham, and online. Eventually, some classes may be offered on-campus.


Vehrkens expects the initial cohort to number about 15-20 students and anticipates growth once the program officially launches in fall 2013. “We’re almost all in service, not manufacturing, after all,” points out Vehrkens.

Wyndham Worldwide, which has headquarters located near FDU in Parsippany, New Jersey, was recently praised by Fortune Magazine as “the most admired company in the hospitality industry.”

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