2013-14 Catalogs

BA in Tourism and Hospitality

The Bachelor of Arts in Tourism and Hospitality is an interdisciplinary degree designed to prepare students with the skills and knowledge to serve as leaders in the tourism and hospitality industry in Maine and beyond.

The 39-credit major provides a solid and comprehensive academic foundation for all students, both experienced professionals and those new to the field. It draws upon the social and natural sciences, recreation, business, and planning disciplines to provide an integrated understanding of tourism as a global industry and source of economic, environmental and social change. Graduates of the BA in Tourism and Hospitality bring to their careers and the community an understanding of the local, regional, and global implications of the sector, including its impact on communities and places and its prominent role in cultural contact, exchange, and learning.

Flexibility and customization are hallmarks of the program. Students may select one or more specialized concentrations, including:

  • Tourism Products and Promotion
  • Managing in Tourism and Hospitality
  • Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality
  • Tourism Development and Planning
  • Nature-Based Tourism and Ecotourism
  • Cultural, Arts and Heritage Tourism

Students complement these concentrations with electives drawn from a number of disciplines, and a capstone experience that allows them to apply their knowledge to a real-world setting or problem. The degree curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning and practical knowledge, with faculty from several departments within USM, as well as industry professionals, preparing students to engage directly in this sector in a variety of possible career pathways.

The BA in Tourism and Hospitality includes four required courses, plus an internship or other professional experience; an intercultural communication and awareness requirement; and a three-course concentration. Students may then complete an additional concentration plus two electives, or take five electives, to meet the minimum 39 credits for the major. Students must earn a minimum GPA in the major of 2.0, and a grade of C- or better in all major courses. Majors must also fulfill the program's Intercultural Awareness and Communication requirement. Students may apply a maximum of nine (9) credit hours of internships, practicums, field courses, and/or independent studies toward the major. All students must meet with their advisors before registering for courses each semester.

Required Courses

All students must complete these required courses:

  • TAH 101 The Travel Experience: Introduction to Tourism & Hospitality
  • TAH 301 Global Issues in Travel & Tourism

Students also select one of the following:

  • TAH 211 Tourism Product Development
  • TAH 221 Tourism and Hospitality Management

Plus one of the following:

  • TAH 231 Sustainability in Tourism and Hospitality
  • TAH 241 Tourism & Community Development
  • ESP/REC 223 Nature Based Tourism
  • TAH 261 Introduction to Cultural Tourism

Students must also complete at least one of the following:

  • TAH 406 Research in Tourism & Hospitality
  • TAH 407 Field Study in Tourism & Hospitality
  • TAH 408 Practicum in Tourism & Hospitality
  • TAH 409 Tourism & Hospitality Internship
Concentrations

Each student must complete at least one three-course concentration to develop knowledge and proficiency in an area that reflects his or her interests and career goals. The following are general descriptions and requirements of the six concentrations. Course descriptions for non-TAH classes in each concentration can be found in the descriptions of those programs.

1) Tourism Products and Promotion
This concentration focuses on identifying and developing tourism and hospitality products and services and promoting these through advertising, trade shows, social media, and other means.
Students must first take this required course:

  • TAH 211 Tourism Product Development

Then select two of the following:

  • TAH 311 Event Planning and Management
  • TAH 410 Topics in Tourism Promotion (specialized subjects)
  • TAH 415 Trends and Innovation in Tourism & Hospitality
  • BUS 260 Marketing
  • BUS 363 Branding and Advertising
  • BUS 364 Professional Selling

Followed by one of the program capstones, in an area connected to the concentration.

2) Managing in Tourism and Hospitality
In this concentration, students learn about key aspects of running a hospitality-related business, from accounting and organizational management to human resource issues.

Students must first take this required course:

  • TAH 221 Tourism and Hospitality Management

Then select two of the following:

  • TAH 331 Sustainable Hospitality Management
  • TAH 420 Topics in Hospitality Management (specialized subjects)
  • ACC 110 Financial Accounting Information for Decision Making
  • BUS 200 Introduction to Business
  • BUS 340 Managing Organization Behavior

Followed by one of the program capstones, normally TAH 408 or TAH 409.

3) Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality
This concentration focuses on creating or transforming tourism and hospitality businesses to be more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.

Students must first take this required course:

  • TAH 231 Sustainability in Tourism and Hospitality

Then select two of the following:

  • TAH 251 Ecotourism and Sustainable Development
  • TAH 331 Sustainable Hospitality Management
  • TAH 341 Tourism, Development & Sustainability
  • ESP 275 Sustainability & Global Energy Systems
  • ESP 308 Global Environmental Problems & Sustainability
  • GEO 320 Conservation of Natural Resources

Followed by one of the program capstones, in an area connected to the concentration.

4) Tourism Development and Planning
Students learn about elements of tourism planning from a community and regional perspective, preparing them to work for or with town offices, state agencies, and other government and non-government entities to create beneficial tourism opportunities.

Students must first take this required course:

  • TAH 241 Tourism and Community Development

Then select two of the following:

  • TAH 341 Tourism, Development & Sustainability
  • ESP 200 Environmental Planning
  • ESP 305 Community Planning Workshop
  • ESP 417 Site Planning & Design
  • GEO 203 Urban & Regional Development
  • GEO 209 Introduction to Land Use Planning
  • GEO 210 Planning Maine Communities

Followed by one of the program capstones, in an area connected to the concentration.

5) Nature-Based Tourism & Ecotourism
This concentration is for students who wish to create guided experiential tourism products in natural settings and environmentally sustainable outdoor experiences.

Students must first take this required course:

  • ESP/REC 223 Nature Based Tourism

Then select two of the following:

  • TAH 251 Ecotourism and Sustainable Development
  • ESP 203 Environmental Communication
  • REC 218 Wilderness Emergency Response
  • REC 233 Outdoor Recreation
  • REC 241 Recreation Leadership
  • REC 373 Belize: Planning & Leading Sustainable Tourism Trips
  • REC 374 Newfoundland: Planning & Leading Sustainable Tourism Trips

Followed by one of the program capstones, in an area connected to the concentration.

6) Cultural, Arts and Heritage Tourism
Students in this concentration explore how local history, arts, and cultural heritage can be both preserved and promoted as an important element of tourism development.

Students must first take this required course:

  • TAH 261 Introduction to Cultural Tourism

Then select two of the following:

  • TAH 311 Event Planning and Management
  • TAH 460 Topics in Cultural Tourism (specialized subjects)
  • ANT 355 Public Interpretation in Anthropology
  • ANT 360 Public Archaeology
  • ANT 450 Indigenous Peoples & Tourism
  • HTY 360 History of Maine

Followed by one of the program capstones, in an area connected to the concentration.

Second Concentration and/or Electives

Students have the option of completing a second concentration plus electives, or electives alone, to complete the 39 credits toward the major. If students choose the electives option, at least three courses must come from outside their concentration, and two must be at or above the 300 level.

Intercultural Awareness and Communication Requirement

Working within the hospitality industry, as well as understanding the social and cultural aspects of tourism, requires students to be aware of the challenges that often arise between speakers of different languages and members of different cultures. We therefore require graduates to possess competency in intercultural awareness and communication, which may include language skills as well as intercultural knowledge and experience. Students must demonstrate the capacity to interact successfully outside of their own primary culture and/or language and to assist foreign travelers and those with special needs in a sensitive way. Prior to graduation, all majors must have their advisor's confirmation that they possess the interpersonal and intercultural skills needed for entry level into the tourism and hospitality industry. The following options may be used to meet this requirement.

  • Demonstration of competence in a modern language other than English, including American Sign Language, through one of the following methods: a score of three or above on a high school AP exam; testing out of an intermediate-level modern language course via a USM placement exam, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or an ACTFL or ASLPI assessment higher than two; or completing at least six credits of college-level language courses.
  • Completion of a pre-approved study abroad program, travel course, or professional position such as an internship, which provides a significant cultural and/or linguistic experience. In most cases students will be required to report on this experience as part of the outcome.
  • Completion of a research project, internship, or other experience that involves significant interaction with a group that differs from the student in language, culture, or special needs. This experience may also satisfy the capstone requirement for the major, with approval.
  • Completion of an approved Core thematic cluster focusing on culture and language, and/or completion of Core Diversity and International requirements using approved courses that provide significant knowledge of groups with different languages and/or cultures than the student's own.
  • Completion of one or more travel experiences that provide significant knowledge of other peoples and cultures. For this option students must provide a written narrative explaining their experiences and how these have influenced their perception of other peoples, cultures and languages (further guidelines for this essay will be provided with advising materials). A faculty committee will determine whether a student's experience(s) satisfy this requirement.
  • Demonstrating through written narrative that the student's life experience, when combined with their academic course of study, provides them with extensive intercultural communication skills. This option is intended mainly for international students attending USM, but may apply to others as well. Satisfaction of the requirement will involve a faculty committee review.
School of Business Credit Restrictions

The USM School of Business has limitations on the number of Business courses (including certain Economics courses) that non-Business majors may take. In general, non-business majors may take a maximum of 30 credit hours in ACC, BUS, FIN, and RMI courses, plus ECO 101, 102 and 310. Students completing concentrations in the Tourism and Hospitality program that use these courses would count them toward the 30-credit hour maximum. Students in the degree program may also apply for admission into minors in the School of Business and use up to one-third of the credits in their minors toward the Tourism and Hospitality major.

Thirty-Credit Rule

For all baccalaureate degrees at the University of Southern Maine, a minimum of 30 credits hours, including at least 9 hours in the major, must be completed while matriculated in the school or college from which the degree is sought. A student may earn no more than six of these 30 credit hours at another campus of the University of Maine System. In addition, the final 30 credits of a student's degree program must normally be completed at USM. For this program, this rule includes online and blended courses offered through USM's Division of Professional and Continuing Education.

Admission to the program requires formal acceptance to USM, which is completed through the Admissions Office. The University of Southern Maine has defined measures of college readiness in writing and math, which are available on the USM website or through the Office of Admissions. All students must meet these measures before matriculating in this program. Full-time USM students should declare their major through the Student Success Center, which can provide them with the necessary forms and instructions.

Articulation Agreement with Southern Maine Community College (SMCC)

USM and the Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) have developed an articulation agreement designed to allow eligible SMCC graduates to complete the Bachelor of Arts in Tourism and Hospitality with only an additional two years of study at USM, provided that they meet the following requirements:

  • Graduated with the AAS in Hospitality at SMCC within the past five years with a minimum GPA of 2.0 overall and in the major; and
  • Completed courses at SMCC that satisfy the following requirements of the USM Core: College Writing; Quantitative Reasoning; Creative Expression; Cultural Interpretation; Socio-Cultural Analysis; Science Exploration; Diversity; and International. Any of these requirements not met at SMCC must be completed at USM, in addition to the various requirements listed below.

Students will then be required to complete the following at USM:

  • An additional 15 credits of Core requirements, including the Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility and Citizenship course; a Thematic Cluster (three courses or a minor); and a Capstone course;
  • An additional 18-21 credits toward the major, depending on which concentration(s) they elect to complete;
  • The major's Intercultural Awareness & Communication requirement, which may take 3-8 credits depending on the option selected; and
  • An additional 18-27 credits of electives to complete the required 120 credits for the BA degree.

Certain SMCC courses may also be applied toward the major, including up to three approved courses toward their selected concentration(s) and/or electives up to a total of 21 credits toward the major. The remaining 18 or more credits in the major must be completed at USM. Any exceptions to these requirements may be made on an individual basis at the discretion of the program chair.

Prior Learning Assessment

The Office for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) at USM believes that students should be rewarded for knowledge acquired outside the traditional classroom if it fulfills the academic criteria set forth and evaluated by the USM faculty. PLA is a process that builds a bridge between students' practical, applied learning experiences and their theoretical, college-level knowledge. There are several pathways across this bridge: testing options, credential reviews, military evaluations, and academic portfolio development, paving the way to academic credit where appropriate. Proof of competency rests with the student. Transcripts older than twenty years cannot be used for credit. For further details regarding credit options, students should contact the Office for Prior Learning Assessment at http://usm.maine.edu/pla .

The Tourism and Hospitality program supports the PLA process and works with students to identify and give credit for various professional and life experiences, including employment in the tourism and hospitality industry. In particular, the TAH program awards credit through the Academic Portfolio Assessment Program, based on a formal collection of evidence in support of a person's claim for college credit. To earn credit the student must prove understanding and learning competency in specific areas, subject to evaluation by appropriate faculty. The TAH program also uses Credential Review, which recognizes professional certifications, educational and training courses, and certain college-level experiential learning that has led to licenses, certificates, and/or credentials for organizations outside the University. Credit is assessed and given on a case-by-case basis. More information on these programs is available through the Office for Prior Learning Assessment.