HATTIESBURG – The
University of Southern Mississippi is proceeding with plans to teach
casino and resort management classes this fall on its Long Beach
Following the state's decision to forego an
appeal of a judge's earlier ruling in favor of the courses, Southern
Miss will offer a degree in business administration with an emphasis
in casino and resort management on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Southern
Miss is the first state-supported university to offer business courses
specific to the state's large gaming and tourism industry.
"Today's action gives us the ability to
form a true partnership with the casino and resort industry, which
allows us to fill their management and professional job needs with
Mississippians who were educated in Mississippi, said Dr. Harold
Doty, dean of the College of Business. "After 18 months of
hard work, we are free to move forward aggressively to launch a
program that will benefit both Southern Miss and the state."
The university first submitted the proposal
for the degree program in February 2004 after the Institutions of
Higher Learning's request in late 2003 that Mississippi universities
explore the feasibility of offering these kinds of programs. The
state college board approved the new Bachelor of Science program
during its April 2004 meeting in Jackson. Southern Miss offers this
new degree through the Department of Tourism Management in the College
Students may earn the degree with one of three
emphasis areas. Casino and resort management is available on the
university's Long Beach campus, while hotel management and restaurant
management are taught in Hattiesburg. Students in the degree program
must complete approximately 40 credit hours of core business requirements
and another 18 credit hours in their chosen emphasis area.
The program will help those currently in the
casino industry who might lack the educational credentials to advance
to executive level positions, said Dr. Cheri Becker, chair of the
Department of Tourism Management. "In creating this program,
Southern Miss can help those employees advance their careers. We're
looking forward to developing a strong relationship with the industry
on the coast and other areas of the state to shape a program that
will best meet their needs," she said.
The program is designed to provide students
with a broad-based educational core that focuses on the development
of communication and critical thinking skills. These core skills
are followed by the acquisition of a strong business foundation,
a prerequisite to managing any large business. The third focus is
on how these business skills are integrated and applied within different
segments of the tourism industry.
Recreation and tourism in Mississippi generated
$5.7 billion in 2003, and the industry employs more than 90,000
Mississippians. Tourism is the state's largest service sector employer,
according to a 2004 report by the Tourism Division of the Mississippi
"The tourism industry is a major source
of jobs in Mississippi," said Southern Miss President Shelby
Thames. "Southern Miss is a part of the economic engine for
south Mississippi and can now help fuel continued economic growth
in this area now that we are allowed to meet the educational needs
of this important industry."
For more information, contact the College of
Business at (601) 266-4659.