Mount Saint Vincent University President, Kathryn Laurin signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) this month, which will allow students to study abroad and will promote environmentally sustainable tourism.
“Not only will the exchange program encourage cultural awareness, understanding and experience,” says Candace Blayney, Assistant Professor and Tourism coordinator at the Mount, “It will also educate prospective managers in sustainability issues in the North American Hospitality and Tourism industry.”
This one, the second of two MOU’s worth more than $500,000, will allow 42 student exchanges and up to 12 faculty exchanges between Canada, Mexico and the United States.
As part of the Developing Environmentally Sensitive Hospitality Managers (DESHM) program, students will be educated in the principles of sustainable tourism management, while increasing international and cross cultural understanding, including learning or improving on new languages.
Partners include: Utah Valley State College, United States; Kapiolani Community College, Hawaii; North Island College, Canada; Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada; Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico; Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, Mexico.
“Our focus is to ease the shortage of environmentally sensitive managers and to increase the cultural understanding of this group,” says Blayney. “It’s also an opportunity to distinguish the differences and preferences of each society and to connect with them.”
Students will be paired with classes in other nations as faculty work together to develop syllabus and curriculum materials which will be delivered through video conferencing, a web site, and other distance delivery systems. Students will interact with one another in these virtual, international classrooms as well as attending a full semester abroad.
The paired video-conferencing has the potential of increasing sustainable tourism instruction and cultural understanding experience to over 400 students. Students will be enrolled in courses such as Cross-Cultural Communications, languages; Environmental Management, Global Tourism, or International Business.
“This initiative will not only help to promote sustainable management in the tourism industry,” says President Laurin, “It also opens up the world to our students and faculty and advances our international understanding.”
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