Ok, maybe that’s a condescending title, but it is fun to gain a new program as a liaison.
Two of UNCG’s schools merged this summer: the School of Human Environmental Sciences and the School of Health and Human Performance. Quick, can you guess what distinguished one school from the other??
Yes, that’s probably a hard question — unless you ever attended or worked at a university that once had a home economics school.
UNCG begin in 1892 as the public women’s college (back when the two older UNC schools, what are now UNC Chapel Hill and NCSU, didn’t allow women to attend), and home economics was one of the original areas of study. Home ec evolved over the years and ended up as the School of Human Environmental Sciences (Nursing, Social Work, Interior Architecture, Human Development & Family Studies, and Consumer Apparel & Retail Studies — you can guess what those five curricula were like in the old days).
School of Health and Human Performance always seemed like a hodge-podge of departments to me: Dance, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Recreation Tourism and Hospitality Management (RTH), and a few others.
These two schools became the School of Health and Human Sciences. The main reasons for the merger included achieving operational efficiency in the face of our big budget cuts, and creating a greater emphasis on health studies as an academic brand. As you might expect, some of their faculty and alumni were upset with the whole merger idea. Four departments ended up elsewhere: Dance had already moved over to join Music and Theatre as a performance arts school, while Interior Architecture is now in our liberal arts college. Consumer Apparel and Retail Studies (one of my original liaison departments, always very interesting to work with) and the Tourism and Hospitality half of RTH moved over to the business school.
And finally, Tourism & Hospitality will be adding “sustainability” to its name. It’s an interesting idea. I couldn’t find another department with that exact name in Google. The new curriculum is still being worked out, but the core classes will include:
- Introduction to Sustainable Development
- Sustainable Tourism
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Tourism Impacts
- Sustainable Hospitality
- Sustainable Food & Beverage I-II
- Law and Policy in Tourism and Hospitality
- Alternative Tourism
- Economics of Sustainable Development
- Sustainable Destination Planning
- Sustainable Hotel, Resorts, & Attraction Project Development
- Sustainable Tourism & Hospitality Marketing
I do worry a little about basing the department on the trendy idea of sustainability. Two or three years ago, the promise of “sustainability consulting” as a commercialization opportunity was all the rage in several management classes. I had many research consultations with students required to research the “sustainability industry,” measure its regional market size, and find quantitative rankings for the local “greenest companies”. Umm, business practices are not same as industries, and such rankings would be challenging to create. To their credit, some of the students had already figured out there were definitional issues with their research needs; we had some good discussions about research strategies.
STH is looking forward to being in the business school. The professors want to use more data in their published research, and require their students use more data in their class projects. So hopefully I can help with those goals. STH is the only business school department without any graduate programs; I wonder if they will work on creating one eventually (hmm need to ask about that).
So where do you begin as the new liaison for a department?
Short term (before classes begin):
- Creating a libguide-based subject portal for STH, which will include their own customized list of relevant databases (which they have never had before);
- Creating a new firm order Gobi alert profile (it’ll have lots of small call number ranges, given the assorted specialized interests in the curriculum);
- Providing STH’s library liaison with examples of the hospitality, food industry, and green marketing content in databases like IBIS, Mintel, Euromonitor, and SimplyMap;
- Creating a list of STH trade and academic journals to add to Journal Finder’s other subject lists of titles.
- Getting to know all the STH professors;
- Examining the syllabi (being revamped right now);
- Identifying opportunities for curriculum-integrated research instruction;
- Creating a STH student marketing plan to promotion library content and my services as a liaison;
- Oh, and look around for other library guides and resource lists for hospitality and tourism to see what other resources are out there. Does SLA or ACRL have a section for this topic?
Does anyone have other suggestions? I’ll try to write an update on my work with the new STH department over winter break