Writer: Victor Venegas
For the second straight year, the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at New Mexico State University has seen a remarkable increase in student enrollment.
e past two years, enrollment is up almost 25 percent at the school, which is part of the College of Agriculture and Home Economics, said Janet Green, HRTM interim academic department head.
"I think part of the reason is HRTM becoming a school and our relationship with the College of Business," Green said. "I also attribute the growth to jobs available in the industry due to increased demand from hotels, resorts and other related businesses being built."
However, Green said those aren't the only reasons why HRTM is seeing such success.
"We have excellent, award-winning faculty and staff, which is not only a major source of pride for us, but it also helps attract students," she said. "It is also often said that our faculty is very student-centered, not only being quality professors, but also serving as career counselors."
Green added that the school also benefits from money available to students to help pay for their education. Scholarships are available based on academic performance, financial need and some on both criteria from various sources, including the private sector.
The numbers from HRTM are part of an increase for the entire college, which had a 20 percent jump in first-time freshmen and an almost 5 percent rise in undergraduates.
"The potential for the future is really incredible," said Wes Holley, associate dean for CAHE. "The faculty, Janet Green, the students, word of mouth; it's all adding up to excitement about the program. All that is really making a difference."
Holley also credits the school reworking its curriculum, to ensure it coincides with the needs of the booming hospitality industry.
The school still offers New Mexico's only bachelor's degree in HRTM and has several new projects on the way, including a state-of-the-art technology lab scheduled for use in January. Holley said this means the future ventures, such as a proposed hotel, also hold several opportunities for training in real-life situations.
"The school is already nationally-ranked, but this offers a chance to move up even higher," Holley said. "If you look at the top 10 schools, they all have a hotel or similar facility associated with it.
"This type of access gives students industry-level experience and, in turn, helps push up the national ranking," he added.
Sept. 19, 2006
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