Hotel Online  Special Report

Northern Arizona University Names Galen R. Collins
New Executive Director for School of Hotel &
Restaurant Management


Flagstaff, Ariz.- August 2, 2004 - The School of Hotel & Restaurant Management (HRM), one of the nation's top-ranked hospitality schools, has a new leader at the helm. But just as the best hotels make guests feel right at home, so does the appointment of Galen R. Collins evoke instant confidence. Collins, the new executive director, has served the school as Associate Dean, Assistant Dean, Professor, and Interim Dean during the past 17 years.

"I am proud of this program and the future professionals we are educating," says Collins, who was a founding faculty member when the program was granted free-standing status in 1987.

"The hospitality industry is resurging and expanding-and we are poised to grow with it. HRM continues to grow, with strong upswings in our partnership programs in Scottsdale and Tucson," he notes.

The school's 4-year bachelor's degree is available via partnership programs with Pima Community and Scottsdale Community colleges, as well as on-line. Collins has been a persistent force in making the degree convenient to students throughout the state's tourism and golf centers.

"We want to help grow and shape Arizona's professional workforce of tomorrow. That means helping not only traditional college students, but also older students who missed out on getting a degree and now find themselves rather stuck without one. We also offer options for people who are looking for a career change and have discovered that hospitality is not only exciting, but flexible," says Collins.

Flexibility will be a key theme in Collins' administration. NAU has just approved a restructuring plan that showcases three nationally-known programs in a Consortium of Professional Schools and Colleges. HRM joins with the School of Forestry and the College of Health Professions, under the leadership of Dean David Patton.

Ronald A. Evans, who has served the school for the past five years as dean, is shifting his focus to full-time teaching.

"Ron's experiences as past president of Best Western International give him a global range of information and insight to share with students," says Collins.

Patton is an experienced administrator who welcomes the chance to show the potential of the consortium model. "We are looking at ways to build upon the natural synergies between the consortium members," he says. "The members are independent, but there are opportunities for cooperation. One exciting possibility is that of "virtual teams" coming together to work on cross-disciplinary projects, sharing their specialized knowledge on short-term projects or grants.

Collins agrees, noting that hospitality and tourism research often address such topics as tourism in national parks, development in natural environments, and how hospitality service techniques can be used in many settings, including hospitals and extended-living communities.

"HRM has developed an award-winning on-line customer-service-training program that can be adapted for diverse organizations. Clients have already included casinos, tribal governments, and a municipal convention center. Why not health-care settings?"

Collins believes that HRM needs to model such entrepreneurial thinking and citizenship for its students.

"We are preparing professionals for an industry that loves changeŠone where mergers and rebranding are a way of life. We want our graduates to be able to have an internal toolbox of skills and attitudes that help them adapt and thrive. That means technical skills, but also people skills. It means thinking in terms of keeping service "fresh" and lively. Our recruiters like that."

Many recruiters, including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Choice Hotels, Four Seasons, and Darden Restaurants (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze) put HRM at the top of their recruitment safaris.

Collins says proudly, "We are a relatively young school, less than 20 years old, yet we are recognized as being at the head of the herd that includes schools that have been around for nearly 100 years. I am proud to have been part of growing HRM so quickly and solidly and I'm counting on building upon our successes. We're going to keep it fresh and on the fast track."

A Minute with Galen Collins

Ph.D. in Computer and Information Sciences, Emphasis in Hospitality Technology

Founding president of the Hospitality Information Technology Association

Industry experience has included affiliations or consulting relationships with Hilton, Disney, Tony Roma's, Marriott, Ramada, Club Corporation of America, and Phelps Dodge.

Author/co-author of: Hospitality Information Technology: Learning How to Use It (4th edition) and Overcoming the Customer Service Syndrome: A Practical Guide to Managing Customer Service.

Hobbies: Racquetball, golf, and time with son Robbie.

Known for:  Entrepreneurial thinking, building a culture of trust and innovation; empowering faculty to "think outside the academy" for inspiration and partnerships.

Favorite Quote: Imagination is more important than knowledge. (Einstein)

Collins may be contacted at 928-523-7333 or



Marilyn McDonald, M.Ed., CHE
Director of Public Information
School of Hotel & Restaurant Management
Northern Arizona University
Box 5638
Flagstaff, AZ  86011-5638
928 -523-1916

Also See: School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University Subject to Consolidation as University Restructures / February 2004
Chef Donald Carlson of NAU's School of Hotel & Restaurant Management Teaches Kitchen Basics (Culinary Arts for Managers) Free on the Dish Network, A Public Service of Northern Arizona University, Underwritten by Kendall-Jackson Wineries / March 2004
Hotel Market Update in Western Canada; Hotel Transactions, Market RevPar, Occupancy Report / Tyne Hospitality / September 2003

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