East Carolina University will be offering the nation’s first master’s degree in sustainable toursim. In an article in this morning’s News and Observer, Patrick Long, director of ECU’s Center in Sustainable Tourism said,
There is a close link and relationship between good science and good business. . . We need to train and educate our future leaders in this industry on how to best integrate those two major components.
Is this good business? Last I checked North Carolina was in the throes of a recession and UNC was grappling with how to layoff hundreds of faculty and staff. Are the want ads crying our for “sustainable tourism” graduates?
North Carolina State University already provides students the opportunity to earn a bachelors, masters or doctorate in tourism management. A review of the current UNC Academic Program Inventory shows UNC already offers 41 different programs in the areas of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Leisure Studies. ( Yes, I said leisure studies, an oxymoron if there ever was one). Do we really need another?
When Senate and House negotiators finish their work, UNC is likely facing budget reductions of somewhere between $50 and $175 million dollars. A thorough review of academic programs is one activity that might produce some of those savings. The simple fact is: many programs don’t justify the investment.
By offering another degree program of questionable value, you have to wonder how serious ECU really is about connecting good science and good business.