Carol Brown, associate professor and chair of hospitality and tourism management for Roosevelt’s Heller College of Business teaching a class
Carol Brown, Associate Professor and Chair of Hospitality & Tourism Management teaches a class.
“The biggest challenge is getting beyond the face to face classroom paradigm… Once students started writing to us saying they’d do that program, only if it was all online … as soon as we switched it to all online, that's when we started getting more students." Carol Brown, Associate Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management

College rating website BestMastersDegrees.com has named Roosevelt University’s Executive Master of Hospitality and Tourism Management as one of the nation’s 30 best online master’s in hospitality and tourism degree programs. The ranking recognized regionally or nationally accredited programs and/or schools and listed them in order of affordability, while also weighing recognition from other major publications.

Though Roosevelt University is known for its mission of social justice and equality, it also carries a reputation as a leading institution for academic excellence and accessibility, most notably in its master’s degree programs.

In 1984, Roosevelt established the Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management program (MSHTM), namely, the Manfred Steinfeld School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The program “seeks to produce leaders and innovators in hospitality management” and bears a legacy of a diverse student body, quality education and state-wide respect.

Roosevelt’s Executive Master of Hospitality and Tourism Management (EMSHTM), established in 2017, is Chicago’s first one-year, fully online executive master’s program of its kind in hospitality and tourism management. The program’s accelerated degree delivery allows working professionals who desire to achieve the next steps in their career a flexible and fast-paced option to complete their master’s.

“Chicago's first program of its kind, the innovative Executive Master of Hospitality and Tourism Management online degree delivery allows students to live, work and travel anywhere in the world while simultaneously completing their degree from a fully accredited, highly recognized university," said Ali Malekzadeh, president of Roosevelt University. "We are excited to have our online EMHTM recognized for its incredible value."

Carol Brown, associate professor and chair of hospitality and tourism management for Roosevelt’s Heller College of Business, discussed the necessary challenges and triumphs thus far in the journey to create and sustain this type of program. Given the program’s established history, Brown is focused on bridging the gap between the traditional and new.

“The biggest challenge is getting beyond the face to face classroom paradigm … students can learn beyond the actual classroom,” Brown said. She said that while she was once herself a non-believer in an online education, her interest was piqued as potential students showed increasing interest. “Once students started writing to us saying they’d do that program, only if it was all online … as soon as we switched it to all online, that’s when we started getting more students.”

Brown cautions prospective students to not be fooled by the one-year timeframe for completing the program — the journey to a master’s degree through this program can be intense and challenging because of how quickly it flies by. However, it’s for these exact same reasons that many students find great joy and success in obtaining their education this way. Because the program is built to be completed in parallel with maintaining a career within the hospitality industry, students can continue to make strides in a pre-established career while expanding their horizons for opportunities.

Keison Arnold (BS, ’09; EMHTM, ’17) is a testament to this, earning a new position as a district manager for a major hospitality group shortly after completing the executive master’s program.

“If you can survive in a constant, relentless environment like [Chicago], you’re able to adjust somewhere that’s a bit slower. Put me in any other environment, I feel I can succeed because studying at Roosevelt and living in Chicago prepares you to adapt to that level of activity,” Arnold said of his experience with the program, referencing its fast-paced nature. And, he says that the doors that were opened by Roosevelt were rather invaluable.

“I wanted to make sure my parents didn’t have that financial burden [of affording tuition]. Roosevelt gave me a lot of different opportunities as a student, ones I don’t think many colleges can provide,” Arnold said. Arnold founded and served as chapter president of Roosevelt’s National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, and was active in a number of other related academic groups and organizations.

Successes like that of Arnold’s and subsequent national rankings such as BestMastersDegrees.com’s are just the beginning, according to Brown. “I’d like to become the program of choice for employers in the hospitality industry,” she said, with hopes that talented individuals from across the country can tap in easily and reap the rewards this program has to offer.

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