New Hospitality & Tourism Chair Internationally Renowned in Research and Industry
September 05, 2016
“Isenberg’s Hospitality & Tourism Management program has long been one of the nation’s best,” observes new HTM department chair Muzaffer “Muzzo” Uysal. “I want to elevate it to even higher ground.” The keys to that outcome, he says, are to expand experiential learning opportunities, partnerships with industry, and industry-focused research. Those pursuits will drive opportunities for students and attract top faculty members. They’ll also improve the program’s value as a resource for alumni and industry,” emphasizes Uysal, who joins Isenberg from Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business.
A relationship-builder, innovative educator, and internationally renowned researcher, Professor Uysal brings experience, acumen, and energy to his new role as chair. As a faculty member for 2 ½ decades at Virginia Tech’s Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Uysal coordinated its undergraduate program from 2001-2005 and founded and directed its Study Abroad Program from 1994-2007. He also served as Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Programs at the University of South Carolina’s College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management.
Professor Uysal’s extensive involvement in industry and his advocacy for experiential learning go hand in hand. He is a long-time, active member of the Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education, and the International Travel & Tourism Research Association. He has conducted industry-focused workshops and seminars in more than 25 countries. “I want to elevate it to even higher ground.”
“My research is both academic and applied,” emphasizes Professor Uysal, whose 150+ articles in refereed journals, co-authored nine books, and five monographs have received more than 15,000 citations. “HTM, after all, is an applied field, which, in fact, complements UMass Amherst’s legacy as a land grant institution.” Themes in his research include economic impact and quality of life implications of tourism, job satisfaction among hospitality workers, supply-demand dynamics of tourism behavior, and many other topics. More than a little of his research, he notes, leverages his own industry partnerships in Saudi Arabia, Norway, Italy, Turkey, Armenia, South Africa, China, and other countries.
In July, Professor Uysal was honored with the 2016 John Wiley & Sons Lifetime Research Achievement Award at the annual ICHRIE (International Council of Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Education) conference. The award recognizes an International ICHRIE member for significant contributions to hospitality and tourism. For similar contributions, he received the 2016 Leslie Reid Alumni Award in April from Texas A&M University’s Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences. Professor Uysal earned his Ph.D. there, an MBA from the University of New Haven, and a B.S. degree in accounting and business administration from Gazi University – Ankara.
Virginia Tech and Isenberg’s HTM programs have a lot in common, notes Professor Uysal. Both, in fact, joined business schools shortly after the turn of the century and both have benefited greatly since. “Our students have gained access to new business applications and resources,” he observes. “And as HTM programs, we have much to give in terms of industry experience and services best practices.” With Isenberg’s steady ascent in the national rankings and a new building wing on the horizon, the new HTM chair has reason for optimism. “I am truly excited about prospects for our program and Isenberg. Both have fantastic upsides.”