As faculty in the new Program in Tourism & Hospitality get ready for their first year, they are taking time to meet with key individuals in Maine tourism, the arts, and community development. These meetings allow USM faculty to explain the goals of the program and discuss ideas for aligning the program with the needs and interests of key stakeholders throughout the state.
On June 26th, Program Chair Kreg Ettenger and new faculty member Tracy Michaud Stutzman met in Augusta with Deborah Johnson, Director of the Office of Community Development in the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. They discussed how the program could support the goals of the state in this key area, including faculty research, service learning, and student internships at state and local offices. Michaud Stutzman will be leading the development of the concentration in Tourism Development and Planning, drawing upon her years of experience both locally in the Dover-Foxcroft area and across the state.
Later that day Ettenger and Michaud Stutzman met with Darrell Bulmer, Acting Director of the Maine Arts Commission, as well as Meagan Mattingly, Arts in Education Associate, to discuss the potential role of the program in supporting arts and tourism initiatives. The concentration "Cultural, Arts and Heritage Tourism" is designed to help students envision, develop and market new tourism opportunities based around the arts and cultural heritage, leading to employment in the arts sector and with museums and community organizations, or as entrepreneurs.
On July 3rd, Kreg and Tracy, along with Sara Litwiller, Assistant to the Dean for Communications in the College of Management and Human Service, traveled to Hallowell to meet with officials of the Maine Tourism Association and members of the Maine Hospitality and Tourism Alliance. These organizations play key roles in the promotion of tourism across the state, and have been strong supporters as USM developed its new Program.
Maine Tourism Association Chief Executive Officer Vaughn Stinson and MTA Finance and HR Manager Ron Brann; Director of the Maine Office of Tourism Carolann Ouellette; Maine Campground Owners Association Executive Director Rick Abare; and Maine Merchants Association Executive Director Curtis Picard all shared their views on how we could work with their respective organizations and offices to promote tourism in Maine. Program faculty, meanwhile, explained the goals of the program and our intention to draw upon these tourism leaders both within the classroom and in the field to provide our students with expertise and real-world knowledge.
These meetings reinforce one of the key goals of our program: to build strong connections with key elements of the Maine tourism and hospitality industry in order to provide students with the most relevant knowledge and experiences possible. We are looking to create graduates who are ready to enter the landscape of tourism in Maine and beyond with a full appreciation and understanding of the scope of the industry and its connections to the arts, cultural heritage, and community development. This will depend to a large extent on the long-term relationships we cultivate with organizations, businesses, communities and government agencies. The more we build these connections in the early stages of the program, the better for our students, our faculty, and the State of Maine.
For more information on the program and its connections to community development and the arts, please use the Contact Us link. To connect with any of the organizations mentioned in this article, click on the links above or browse our Maine Tourism and Hospitality Links section.