Tourism college director onboards new faculty amid pandemic obstacles

Hainan University-Arizona State University International Tourism College made the recent hires in anticipation of addition of master's degree programs in fall

February 4, 2022

Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic means dealing with vaccinations, testing, masks and physical distancing.

For Kelly Bricker, director of the Hainan University-Arizona State University International Tourism College (HAITC), add getting recently hired faculty to their assignments in China. It’s a process often complicated by travel restrictions and varying lengths of quarantine periods. HAITC building, Haikou, China, Hainan University, ASU, The building at Hainan University in Haikou, China, that is home to the Hainan University-Arizona State University International Tourism College (HAITC). Photo courtesy ASU Download Full Image

Bricker took over her position in July 2021. HAITC, located at Hainan University in Haikou, the capital of the island province of Hainan in southwestern China, is based in ASU's School of Community Resources and Development. In addition to programs leading to two School of Community Resources and Development bachelor’s degrees, HAITC also offers classes and a degree from the School of Public Affairs. In May 2021, HAITC graduated its first cohort of 220 individuals out of a total student body of about 1,000. The first cohort had a 92% graduation rate.

Since ASU partnered with the Chinese Ministry of Education in 2017, HAITC has offered three successful undergraduate degree programs in tourism development and management, parks and recreation management, and public service and public policy. Students enrolled in the programs receive dual degrees from ASU and Hainan University.

In fall 2022, HAITC is expected to begin offering studies toward two master’s degrees.

Kelly Bricker, director, HAITC, Hainan University, ASU, Tourism College, China, Haikou, SCRD

Kelly Bricker, HAITC director (submitted photo)

The recently hired faculty members are:

  • Paul Wright, an School of Community Resources and Development clinical professor, who is in the United States waiting for a visa to travel to China.
  • Ivan Lee, a School of Public Affairs public policy lecturer from Hong Kong who is on his way to Haikou.
  • Bruno Ferreira, an School of Community Resources and Development tourism assistant professor, and his wife, Adriana Szabo, a tourism faculty associate, now settling in Haikou, China.
  • School of Community Resources and Development Lecturer Kimberly Peterkin, a native of Jamaica who had been in Hong Kong at Hong Kong Polytechnic, now in China and out of a 28-day quarantine.

Bricker said the effort is worth it, because it means that HAITC is growing.

“We’re excited about the launch of the Master of Science degree programs for tourism and public administration in the fall. There is continued excitement around these majors in China,” Bricker said. So far the master’s programs are receiving about five times the number of applications for the approximately 30 seats in each, she said.

“We’re hiring to support that and hiring to provide increased visibility in research and collaboration with the research center in China and the Center for Sustainable Tourism in (the School of Community Resources and Development), for which we are hiring that director position now,” Bricker said. “There is great momentum moving forward. It’s exciting for students and faculty.”

Mark J. Scarp

Media Relations Officer, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions


ASU students go behind the scenes at Waste Management Phoenix Open

Special events students find out what it takes to serve tournament’s expected crowd of 750,000

February 4, 2022

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the largest attended golf tournament in the world.

Students in ASU’s special event management program were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the TPC Scottsdale golf complex just days before it opened its gates to an expected crowd of more than 750,000.  Events management, students, 18th green, Phoenix Open, Waste Management, 2022 ASU events management students gather at the 18th green at the TPC Scottsdale to hear about preparations for the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Photo courtesy of Erin Schneiderman Download Full Image

More than 60 students attended the tour alongside Erin Schneiderman, a clinical assistant professor in the School of Community Resources and Development.

“There are so many event components that work in harmony to ensure a successful week,” Schneiderman said. “It is important for our students to fully understand the strategy, teamwork and timing needed to pull it off.”

The tour, led by officials from Pro Em National Event Services and M Culinary Concepts, focused on the operation of the tournament. This included the setup, security components and how the catering company manages to serve nearly 225,000 attendees in the tournament's hospitality suites. 

First, Brady Castro, principal of Pro Em, showed students the main entrance process.

“I have been doing this a long time, and it’s nice to see our visions come to life,” he said on the tour. 

After discussing how elements of the event were built, the integrity of the structures, timing and security considerations at the 1937 Club, it was time to switch gears.

At the E18hteen Hospitality Suites, students learned about menu planning, staffing, alcohol management and food waste recovery. 

Doug Janison, managing partner at M Culinary Concepts, has been serving the tournament for 23 years. 

“The special event industry is not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m ever actually working because I love what I do.” 

Seven on-site kitchens are ready to produce enough food to satisfy the appetites of more than 200,000 people. The food is prepared, properly stored and transported throughout the course for guests to enjoy in the hospitality clubs and suites.

After the tour, students said they had a better understanding of what really goes into planning a massive golf tournament. 

ASU events management students pose for a group photo at the TPC Scottsdale, site of the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

ASU events management students pose for a group photo at the TPC Scottsdale, site of the 2022 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Photo courtesy of Erin Schneiderman

“I was really surprised at the amount of time that it takes to set up and take down the event,” said Grace Doolittle, a junior studying tourism development and management. 

Pro Em started building the site four months in advance, and the cleanup will take another two months. 

Students also found out how they can get involved with the Phoenix Open, which event organizers call the “Greatest Show on Grass,” after the tour.

Schneiderman called the TPC Scottsdale her “classroom for the day.” Being able to learn in the field is not new for ASU special event students. They’ve previously toured Chase Field before an Arizona Diamondbacks game, and in March, they will be learning what goes on behind the scenes of the McDowell Music Festival.

Learn more about the special events management certificate and minor on the School of Community Resources and Development's website.

Story by Amber Victoria Singer, student journalist for the School of Community Resources and Development