HRTM partners with Nebraska Tourism Commission for new course offering

HRTM partners with Nebraska Tourism Commission for new course offering

20 Nov 2019    

The Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism management program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is partnering with the Nebraska Tourism Commission to offer a contemporaneous, Nebraska-centric tourism course. Taught by associate professor of practice, Dipra Jha, advanced tourism is a 400/800 dual-level course, offered online and is scaled from the introduction to tourism course already offered by the program.


To develop the course, Jha partnered with HRTM alum and Nebraska Tourism Commission industry relations and education coordinator, Callie Austad. With support from commission executive director John Ricks, they were able to include a detailed case study of Visit Nebraska’s new marketing campaign “Nebraska. Honestly, It’s Not For Everyone”. The case study was developed using a visual storytelling format; with voice over by Ricks explaining the research behind the new campaign, why and how it was implemented and the results that followed. Students will be required to analyze the case study using a rubric and Jha plans to provide a summary of the analysis to the Tourism Commission as feedback. 


“When I was a student at UNL I focused solely on the events path in the HRTM Program; it wasn’t until my senior year that I became familiar with the tourism industry,” said Austad. “Collaborating with professor Jha on the advanced tourism course was a great way for me to give back to the program and help students learn about the tourism field earlier on.”


Nebraska Tourism Commission is also exploring a mentorship program for college students. The Commission is partnering with universities to introduce hospitality students to tourism industry professionals. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is the first program partner. The goal of the program is to highlight tourism-related careers that exist within Nebraska and connect students to those opportunities. The commission plans to expand the program to other universities in the future.


“As a senior in the HRTM program, I am excited to be taking this course with professor Jha because we get to learn the ins and out of tourism as a whole,” commented Murray Gilbertsen, an HRTM major from Omaha. “It is also a great learning experience since we get to work on a case study about Nebraska Tourism’s new marketing campaign because it allows us students to be informed about one of Nebraska’s best industries and how it supports our program.”


Tourism is one of Nebraska's largest industries; bringing in excess of $3.4 billion annually, supporting 40,300 jobs, and generating $240 million in state and local taxes. As Nebraska looks to grow its tourism economy, the HRTM program plays an increasingly important role in preparing future generation of tourism leaders and entrepreneurs. In addition to the Nebraska Tourism Commission, graduates of the program work for entities such as Visit Omaha and Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau. Alumni have successfully launched businesses including Triple E Equine, a unique horse motel owned and operated by Emily Eberspacher, ‘17, and her family in Beaver Crossing.


Jha is recognized as an expert in tourism and hospitality. He actively collaborates with the industry to help communities develop their tourism capacity and conducts training programs within Nebraska and beyond. He has been a member of Nebraska Tourism Commission’s Marketing Grant Review Committee, worked with Nebraska City to develop a community vitality plan, trained innkeepers at Nebraska Association of Bed & Breakfast and delivered executive development programs for Tourism Authority of Thailand.


Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management is one of the fastest growing majors at Nebraska and resides jointly in the College of Education and Human Sciences and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. It offers exceptional learning experiences which include high-quality internships, faculty-led study tours, and technology-enabled teaching through the Global Nebraska virtual exchange. Students have the opportunity to choose among several emphasis areas within the major: club management, event planning, food and beverage, human resources, lodging and tourism. To learn more about the program, click here. 

College of Education and Human Sciences
Nutrition and Health Sciences
Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management