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Katherine Gardner
Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 10:00am
Hospitality Students

Hospitality and Service Systems Join Saunders July 1, 2019

As previously announced, effective July 1, 2019 Rochester Institute of Technology programs from the School of International Hospitality and Service Innovation are officially becoming part of Saunders College of Business. The transitioning programs are currently part of the recently renamed College of Engineering Technology, previously known as the College of Applied Science and Technology. Programs include an undergraduate degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Graduate degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Service Leadership and Innovation and Human Resource Development, plus advanced certificates in Organizational Learning and Service Leadership and Innovation are also included in the transition. These programs bring their own, unique strengths to Saunders College, where they had resided previously.

Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM)

One of the oldest majors of its kind in the world, RIT Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) programs dates back to 1892. To keep up with today’s fast paced, ever changing world, students study the impact of technology on guest experience meanwhile taking courses in areas such as innovation or web design to personalize their studies to reach their goals. The variety of course offerings prepares students to fit into different roles within the industry and bring contemporary practices to their careers.

Alumni Highlight:

David I. Cohen, an alumni of the HTM program, is the General Manager of Hôtel Plaza Athénée in New York City. With more than 30 years of professional experience in the industry, Cohen has primarily worked in NYC, but had international stints in Switzerland and throughout Europe. He also worked for TPG Hospitality overseeing New York hotel operations and, after leaving, owned his own hotel consulting company.

As HTM programs return to Saunders College, there is a renewed focus on the luxury end of the industry. This includes a planned revival of Puttin’ on the RITZ, an exclusive black-tie affair that has served as a popular icon for HTM programs since 1986. This focus on luxury prepares students to stand out from other graduates as they prepare to launch their careers at the highest niche of the industry, catering to the most demanding clientele. Puttin’ on the RITZ provides students an opportunity to host a black-tie, fine dining gala, for alumni and community members. Coming together to showcase and practice their career skills, the event also serves as a fundraiser to support future students and events. Check out Puttin’ on the RITZ photos from past years! 

Service Systems (SS)

With transitioning Service Systems (SS) programs, Saunders College adds fully-online graduate degree programs. This benefits individuals looking to further their education with the ability to learn remotely. The Human Resource Development and Service Leadership and Innovation programs break service down to a science.

The Human Resource Development program understands the critical competencies needed to build a dynamic workforce. Students learn to leverage the talents of individuals and teams throughout the workplace to advance human potential. By recognizing global learning practices and creating an innovative culture, students are able to maximize performance within the organization locally and globally.

Service Leadership and Innovation students discover visionary leadership, a 360-degree view of customers and innovative strategies- preparing themselves to transform their organization. They master the ability to simplify complex problems and develop measurable solutions that are built through analytics and process. These quantitative results are what set them apart from their competition and drive success in their organization. Graduates have a strong track record for getting promoted in their organizations.

Strengthening Business Presence on Global Campuses

The transitioning programs have a strong presence abroad. This complements and strengthens Saunders global campus activity and impact on the RIT Croatia, Dubrovnik, RIT Croatia, Zagreb and RIT Dubai campuses. A Master of Science in Service Leadership and Innovation is offered through the Rochester, Zagreb and Dubai campuses and a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management is offered through the Rochester and Dubrovnik campuses.

Saunders gives HTM students at the Rochester campus the opportunity to spend a full semester abroad in Dubrovnik, Croatia, taking courses that are offered by Saunders faculty. For a shorter option, there are 10-day study visits in both Croatia and Dubai lead by RIT faculty as part of a longer course offered at the Rochester campus. These programs allow students to easily transfer credits, get a truly global experience, and indulge in multicultural experiences that they are likely to encounter during their careers.

Complementing Business + Technology Strengths

The transitioning programs emphasize the importance of technology in their industries. In HTM, this technology ranges from apps to help plan guest experience or wearables that unlock guest doors. These advancements facilitate the guest experience, making travel less burdensome and allowing organizations to keep accurate analytics on guest’s experiences. When it comes to the Service Leadership and Innovation program, this technology focus is heavily business oriented. It is used to formulate strategic initiatives that transform organizations and drive measurable outcomes.

What it Means

The programs are currently in a transitional period to be completed July 1, 2019. On that date, all HTM and SS students and alumni will be welcomed into the Saunders College community. Programs involved will undergo review and curricula may change to reflect a new business core, however any resulting changes will not affect any current students.

This transition brings significant growth to Saunders College. The overall Saunders College student body in Rochester will grow nearly 10%, while total enrollment across all Global campuses will be nearly 2,400. Additionally over 4,500 alumni are joining the ever growing, global alumni network. Saunders College will also be welcoming 12 faculty and 3 staff members.

While these programs are becoming a part of Saunders College, Department Chairs are remaining in position overseeing programs under the leadership of Dr. Jacqueline R. Mozrall, Dean of Saunders College.


Saunders College of Business is one of nine colleges at Rochester Institute of Technology and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). Recognized and ranked internationally, Saunders is home to over 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in programs across RIT Global Campuses in Rochester, New York, Croatia, Dubai, Kosovo and China. Saunders College works in partnership with RIT’s entrepreneurial Venture Creations incubator and top ranked Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to integrate business education with RIT’s world-leading technical and creative programs. With nearly 19,000 alumni worldwide, Saunders College offers undergraduate (BS), Masters (MS), Masters of Business Administration (MBA), and Executive MBA (EMBA) programs where students gain real-world business experiences through a tradition of applied learning, internships and capstone programs.

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