From the Director

Great Things Come from an Engaged and Talented Advisory Board

One of the true pleasures of being the academic director of the Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) is the opportunity to meet with our advisory board. Our board members are engaged and interested in the center’s research program, and I truly appreciate how supportive they are of the CHR’s mission. Over the past year, the Board has made it clear that they want to have input on research ideas, they want to be involved with faculty development, and overall they want to help the CHR produce more, and better, industry-relevant research.

We held our CHR Board meeting this month, and it was an opportunity to show the Board what we have done, celebrate our successes, and get them even more involved. Held at the New York offices of Deloitte, the meeting involved several busy, engaging, and enlightening sessions. Our board members met three new faculty members, heard from and advised five students who are in various stages of research studies, and saw presentations of study results from four faculty members whose work was sponsored by the CHR and its advisory board. We had more faculty and students involved in this CHR Board meeting than at any previous CHR meeting, and by all accounts the meeting was a great success for all. As I share some of the meeting highlights I want to emphasize my appreciation to our board members for their counsel and support.

We introduced three new faculty members to the board, which led to a conversation about the faculty members’ research interests and the board’s assessment of relevant industry issues related to those areas. Our new faculty members are Chris Gaulke, a lecturer in food and beverage management; Jamie Perry, an assistant professor in human resources management; and Kristina Workman, an assistant professor in management and organizational behavior. All three were hired by the School of Hotel Administration this year, and the meeting presented an opportunity for all of them to learn more about the industry, understand the “hot topics” in each of their areas, and make contacts with our board members to help them conduct more and better industry-relevant research.

The student presentations were given by students at all stages in their academic careers. This included Carly Andrews ’17, who is a Rawlings Cornell Presidential Research Scholar; Arian Mahmoodi ’15 and Cyril Pietrafesa ’15, who are senior honors thesis students; Heather Linton, a first-year doctoral student; and Matthew Walsman, a third-year doctoral student. Not only were the students diverse in terms of their academic stages, but also presented on a wide range of topics. Carly, for example, is researching how technology is changing the customer experience in the food service industry; Arian is examining the use of EB-5 financing, which is available to immigrants who are willing to make an investment in the United States; Heather is studying the use of mobile devices while people are traveling and afterward; and Cyril is analyzing the purposes and strategies behind corporate franchising. Matthew has been a co-author on an article in the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and a CHR Report, with another report under review. He discussed his current study with the board, which involves the management challenges of hospitality industry consultants.

The four faculty presentations demonstrate the interaction between Cornell faculty and the hospitality industry. Associate Professor Linda Canina presented her study, which uses data provided by STR; Assistant Professor Michael Giebelhausen, presented his published CHR Report, which used technology made available by Intel and Monscierge; Professor Michael Lynn’s research is being conducted in conjunction with Umar Riaz of Accenture; and Senior Lecturer Stephani Robson presented her published CHR Report that used eye-tracking technology made available through the CHR. As always the CHR Reports written by Michael Giebelhausen, Stephani Robson, and Matt Walsman are available at no charge (and some of them are described in this newsletter). This is another aspect of the CHR’s mission that is made possible by the support of our corporate affiliates, who sponsor all our programs, research, and events.

Overall, the meeting was a great success. This is due to the great support of our sponsors, the advisory board members, our active faculty, and our engaged students. The CHR helps facilitate research, but this can only succeed when we have the industry partners, faculty, and students who have the skills and dedication to engage in industry-relevant research.

Once again, I want to thank Deloitte for hosting the meeting, thank our faculty and student participants, and thank our engaged and talented advisory board members for helping to advance our research program.

Michael C. Sturman
Professor
Associate Dean for Faculty Development
Academic Director for the Center for Hospitality Research
The Kenneth and Marjorie Blanchard Professor of Human Resources