Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management Launches National Search for Director to Continue Successful Growth in Hospitality Industry

  • Penn State University
  • 12.03.10
Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management has launched a national search for a director following an announcement that Dr. Bert Van Hoof will step down as director in June 2011.

Van Hoof plans to remain an active part of the Penn State faculty as professor.

Penn State is eager to continue the growth for which Van Hoof was responsible. During his six years of leadership, Van Hoof helped expand the hospitality management program’s focus to include international study and research collaborations, social responsibility and sustainability, and gaming/casino management.

“Dr. Van Hoof’s tenure as director has brought many important changes to the School of Hospitality Management, and we are very appreciative of his contributions to the continued growth and vitality of this important part of the College of Health and Human Development,” says Dr. Nan Crouter, the Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development.

Under Van Hoof’s leadership, the school dramatically increased its international study offerings. Today, undergraduate students can study abroad through nine different programs that take them to countries including Puerto Rico, Peru, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Greece. These programs range in length, from several weeks to a full year of study. Van Hoof also supported the development of the innovative Global Hospitality Management Program, which allows students from Penn State, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), and the Hotel Management School Maastricht (the Netherlands) to study together, one semester at each university. This program was established by Dr. Karthik Namasivayam, associate professor of hospitality management, Penn State; Dr. Elisa Tse, professor, School of Hotel and Tourism Management, CUHK; and Dr. Aad van Mourik, professor, Hotelschool Maastricht

An advocate of collaborative research, Van Hoof helped create a new partnership between Penn State and the Breda University of Applied Sciences (the Netherlands). Through this, faculty and graduate students share expertise on tourism and hospitality research projects.

Van Hoof helped institute a new undergraduate focus on gaming and casino management, which prepares students for management and executive roles in the casino industry. In 2008, the school hired Steven Durham, instructor in hospitality management, who created five courses that teach students about casino history and math, the social impact of casinos, and casino marketing. Students also complete a hands-on internship with a casino, and the school also hosts several educational and professional development trips for students—once annually to Atlantic City and twice annually to Las Vegas (including one trip to the Global Gaming Expo). The program now has roughly 50 students and six alumni.

In the past several years, the school has seen growth in the undergraduate curriculum in the areas of sustainability and corporate responsibility. A new course introduced by Dr. Vivienne Wildes, assistant professor of hospitality management, explores human rights as it relates to hospitality. Students track commodities back to their sources to understand how those commodities came into existence. Van Hoof also supported the school’s green initiative, led by David Cranage, associate professor of hospitality management, which successfully cut back on waste and introduced composting into Café Laura, the school’s on-campus teaching restaurant. As part of this initiative, the school also set up gardens to grow produce locally, which gives students an unparalleled learning opportunity.

The School of Hospitality Management seeks to continue its growth as an integral component of Penn State’s interdisciplinary College of Health and Human Development. Penn State is seeking nominations and applications for the position of director of the school. For more information, visit or contact Neil Sharkey, associate dean for research and graduate education in the College of Health and Human Development.

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