Hospitality Management Program Gains Some Marriott Mastery

By School of Management Posted Mon, 08/15/2016 - 11:50

James Kauffman, former president of full service hotels at Marriott International in the U.S. and Canada, shares his thoughts on being appointed the new Executive Fellow for the USF School of Management, and how he plans to develop the curriculum and mentor the community within the “strong and prosperous” Hospitality Management program.

James “Jim” Kauffman has an abundance of knowledge and experience in the hospitality industry, gained from his 37 years of working at Marriott International, where he started as a sales manager and retired as president of full service hotels in the United States and Canada. Now, Kauffman is bringing that expertise to the School of Management as an Executive Fellow for the Hospitality Management program: “Having benefited from many mentors during my career with Marriott, I'm excited to do the same with USF students. We all need coaches who can listen to us, collaborate with us, and provide feedback on our career aspirations. Knowing the skill set needed to be an outstanding performer can be powerful learning for any of us,” he explained. He also expressed how impressed he has been with the faculty, staff, and students he’s met at USF: “I saw great energy, knowledge, and a strong thirst to learn and grow.”

As Executive Fellow, along with his mentorship duties--which involve being an active and engaged leader in the community, classroom, and office--Kauffman will also help to develop the curriculum of the Hospitality Management program. Kauffman explained that hospitality is an industry of change, and that it is essential to keep the academic curriculum changing as the business does: “The evolution of the curriculum at USF reflects the changes that the industry is experiencing. Real Estate Study, Digital Marketing, and Revenue Management are some of the areas that will get additional focus as the faculty and staff work through enhancing the school's curriculum.” Kauffman explained that with its current “strong foundation” and the curriculum adaptations that are to come, the Hospitality Management program at USF will act “as a leader and innovator in its space.” 

Michael Collins, associate professor and Department Chair of the Hospitality Management program, celebrated the school’s new Executive Fellow. “The value that Jim Kauffman will add to the Hospitality Management program cannot be overstated,” said Collins. He explained that not only will Kauffman “[bring] his extensive industry experiences into our classrooms,” but he will also benefit the students, faculty, and community around him. “Jim's relationships with high-level industry leaders will open doors for both students and faculty-- strengthening career prospects for our graduates and networking opportunities for our faculty with the industry's thought leaders,” said Collins.

With the new academic year just around the corner, Kauffman is looking towards the future enthusiastically. “I could not be more excited to be spending time this fall on the Hilltop working with faculty and staff at the USF School of Management and Hospitality Management program,” he said. “I look forward to sharing many stories and experiences, along with the learnings I've had through what, for me, was a wonderful journey in a business I love.”

By Lonny Wysard