FIU casino, hotel training in Macau advances
A Florida International University partnership with the City University of Macau is growing: in 2015, students might begin academic or professional programs in the FIU Hospitality & Tourism Management program in China’s Macau that began formally in 2011.
In the next step, an FIU professor is completing a six-month sabbatical to teach and counsel students in Macau as well as collect information for future programs.
City University of Macau, formerly the Asia International Open University (Macau), has more than 7,000 students and offers bachelor, master and doctorate degrees. This isn’t FIU’s first partnership with a Chinese university: the university already had a hospitality program in Tianjin.
Macau is known for its large gambling and tourism industries, and a future FIU hospitality and management program could help prepare employees for the region’s casinos and hotels.
“Macau is a good location for FIU students to experience the unique and dynamic growth of an exceptionally popular global destination, where tourism is driven by a broad range of factors,” said Mike Hampton, FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management dean.
The region offers excellent professional and academic settings, including entertainment, dining, recreation, nightlife, spa and wellness, and culture. Demand is high for employees in all sectors of the hospitality and tourism industry among Macau’s more than half a million residents.
In partnering with the City University of Macau, FIU might be able to help fulfill the need for qualified individuals to take up supervisory and managerial roles in the region. “The hospitality and tourism infrastructure in Macau is unmatched in terms of spectacular facilities and scope of operations,” Dr. Hampton said.
Macau was the first and last European colony in China and is one of the People’s Republic of China’s two special administrative regions, along with Hong Kong. It’s on the western side of the Pearl River Delta across from Hong Kong to the east.
In order to move the partnership forward, FIU sent hospitality and business strategy professor Dr. Jinlin Zhao to teach, work with and assess potential programs and teaching opportunities at the City University of Macau Hospitality Management program.
“In order to move to the next phase in collaboration, [Dr. Zhao] is currently on sabbatical from the school to teach and counsel doctoral students studying,” Dr. Hampton said. Dr. Zhao’s assignment with the university began July 1 and will continue through December.
“During that time Dr. Zhao will teach strategic management and will assess the areas for which the greatest fit lies for academic and professional and/or continuing education initiatives,” Dr. Hampton said.
Over the next six months, Dr. Zhao will review current academic offerings by all institutions in Macau to determine where and how FIU can best fit in the region.
“He will be working toward identifying the industry management talent requirements that are not currently being served by academic institutions and gaining insight on the management talent that will progressively need to be met in the coming years,” Dr. Hampton said.
When he returns, Dr. Zhao is to report his findings to the dean of FIU and to the rector of the City University of Macau “for consideration on what action to take in order to potentially address those gaps identified.”
An FIU-City University of Macau partnership could benefit both universities in many areas, even outside the academic realm. Because of the gambling and tourism industries, professional and continuing education opportunities are a possibility.
On the academic side, there appears to be a need for certificate programs and training to enhance the skill sets of employees, from front line to senior managers, Dr. Hampton said. “Depending on the results of the assessment, students may be engaged in academic and/or professional and/or continuing education programs next year,” he said.
It is too early to tell how or if a rotation of FIU faculty will play out, Dr. Hampton said, although Dr. Zhao’s current involvement is a good example of how the exchange may occur. “It is typical in collaborative relationships among academic institutions to have faculty exchange, student exchange, study abroad opportunities, study tours, guest lectures, workshops, seminars and joint research projects,” Dr. Hampton said
The partnership between the two universities began in December 2011, when a memorandum of understanding was signed when Dr. Hampton visited the region.
Since 2011, FIU has furthered the partnership with City University. In the summer of 2013, eight FIU undergraduates registered for internships through the City University of Macau. They spent time in a Macau Sheraton hotel, the world’s largest.
“As a result of that opportunity, two of those students received placement offers from hotels there,” Dr. Hampton said.
Another round of FIU students is expected to complete a similar internship program in 2015.