Richland College’s ‘Travel, Exposition and Meeting Management’ Program Changed to ‘Hospitality, Exhibition and Event Management’

A crowd standing outside a newly opened hotel with confetti raining down.In order to better serve the needs of students, Richland College officially changed the name of its Travel, Exposition and Meeting Management (TEMM) Associate of Applied Science degree program to Hospitality, Exhibition and Event Management (HEEM), effective Jan. 1, 2018.

This change occurred after a survey was distributed to 77 students asking about intentions and goals of the program. With an 84 percent return rate, the survey determined 46 percent of students were most interested in meetings and events, 65 percent of students were interested in pursuing the Associate of Applied Science degree rather than just getting a certificate and 48 percent of students were extremely likely to pursue a career in the industry.

“The name was changed to HEEM so that potential and current students could more clearly recognize the hospitality and event management emphasis of the program,” said M.T. Hickman, HEEM lead faculty and program coordinator. “The word ‘travel’ is often associated with travel agents, who represent a very small segment of the industry. ‘Hospitality’ is a more commonly used term that includes lodging, events, tourism and recreation. This change more accurately describes the program and gives students and employers a better understanding of what we offer.”

Although the name has officially been changed for all new students, it will not affect current students in the TEMM program. In addition, the Hospitality and Tourism Management and Meetings and Event Management certificate programs will remain the same. While the travel and events courses currently offered at Richland College will not change, students will begin to see more hospitality courses added in the future.

“This program provides the education to prepare students for a career in the hospitality, events and tourism industry,” said Hickman. “The certificates build upon each other and lead to the Associate of Applied Science degree. These awards prepare students for entry-level positions in the industry. According to the U.S. Occupation Outlook, the hospitality and lodging industry is expected to grow by 6 percent, and the meetings and events industry is expected to grow by 10 percent by 2026. This program exposes students to the many segments of the industry, which will help them gain an understanding of where they would like to work and build relationships while they are in school.”

The HEEM curriculum is developed in collaboration with a 30-member advisory board whose members represent all segments of the industry. These industry professionals also teach in the HEEM program and mentor students.

Hickman started her career with the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau and is still active in industry organizations, including the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), Meeting Professionals International and the Professional Convention Management Association; she serves on the Hotel Association Advisory Board, the IAEE Faculty Advisory Board and the Stephen F. Austin Advisory Board; and she is co-chair of IMEX America and IMEX Frankfurt Faculty Engagement Program. Hickman has directed the Richland College HEEM program for 20 years, has developed and taught several courses in the program and is the student HEEM Club faculty advisor.

The Richland College HEEM program offers courses in the hospitality industry that prepares students for jobs as a marketing coordinator, show director, sales administrator, meeting manager, special events coordinator and event planners among other careers. Students can complete the Meetings and Events Management certificate, Hospitality and Tourism Management certificate or the Hospitality, Exhibition and Event Management Associate of Applied Sciences degree. The average college graduate makes $20,000 more each year.*

For more information about the HEEM program, click here.


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