HTM students had joint virtual classes with Washington State University students

 

November 17, 2021

 

During September and October, HTM first year students, who took the Hospitality in Tourism Management Fundamentals course taught by Dr. Besim Agušaj, had an amazing opportunity to be virtually connected with Hospitality students from Washington State University in a series of guest lectures. The idea behind this collaboration was to bring students together and expose them to top industry professionals who gave them insight into current hospitality trends and developments.

We were curious to find out how this cooperation came about, so we asked Dr. Agušaj to tell us more.

Q: How did you came up with the idea of virtually connecting your classes with professors from other universities?

Dr. Besim Agušaj: "Networking plaid a key role in this idea, like in many others. Milena Kužnin, one of RIT Croatia’s HTM faculty members, is representing EUROChrie (European Hospitality Educators Association) in ICHRIE Eta Sigma Delta’s Board of Governors. During one of the Eta Sigma Delta conferences, she met Professor Dipra Jha, the Assistant Director and Scholarly Associate Professor at the School of Hospitality Business Management, at Carson College of Business, Washington State University. Being that we teach similar hospitality courses, Milena linked the two of us, and we agreed to virtually connect our two classes for four sessions this semester. Despite inability to travel, our expert network is still strong and diverse”.

Q: How did you come up with the topics?

Dr. Besim Agušaj: "The topics were chosen with the purpose of tackling trends and current issues in the tourism and hospitality industry. This rotating collaboration with Washington State University (WSU) enabled our students, as well as theirs, to increase knowledge and professional development by being exposed to some of the top global experts and industry professionals. In this rotation of virtually joint classes we’ve had the pleasure of listening to prof. David Butterton from Dubai, who lectured on the topic "Trends in Hospitality and Tourism – The Case of Dubai”, Mr. Sebastian Hinsch, General Manager from Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, who talked about "Hotel Operations in High End Hotels”, etc. Additionally, I also had the chance to share my knowledge with professor Jha’s WSU students as part of this virtual class - I delivered a lecture on the topic "Croatian tourism – Back to Business”.

Q: What learning outcomes do students by being exposed to virtual classes such as this one? Were they receptive to this kind of knowledge sharing?

Dr. Besim Agušaj: "We can identify at least two learning outcomes through this collaboration:

  • Demonstrating how global cultures and institutions impact businesses.
  • Describing the global nature of the industry and the impact on businesses of global economies and travel.

Students do appreciate these kinds of initiatives because it provides them with different and new perspectives of what it takes to be a successful business person in a global and interconnected world”.

Q: How did you as a professor benefit from such an experience?

Dr. Besim Agušaj: "Working with colleagues from all around the world is something that definitely benefits my growth as well, both professionally and personally. This serves as some sort of a benchmark of what we do in our class; it shows whether we are relevant and up to date with all the key trends and topics in hospitality and tourism industry, which is moving forward very fast regardless of current travel constraints”.




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