UWF welcomes new chair for the Department of Hospitality, Recreation & Resort Management

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

The University of West Florida recently announced Dr. Lisa Marie Assante as the Chair for the newly established Department of Hospitality, Recreation & Resort Management. Assante will support the educational mission of the University and the College of Education and Professional Studies by providing leadership for the department.

“We are excited to have Dr. Assante join us to lead the new UWF Hospitality, Recreation & Resort Management Department,” said Dr. Stacie Whinnery, interim dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies. “She brings an outstanding background in the hospitality industry in addition to her academic experiences that will make her a dynamic leader. This new department will serve our region with distinction by preparing highly qualified graduates who will contribute to our community and beyond.”

Previously, Assante served as associate professor of management, marketing and hospitality at Southern Utah University. During her time at SUU, she received two of the first service-learning course designations granted at the University for Strategic Guest Service and Quantity Food Production. In addition to integrating service-learning into her classes, Assante also served on the SUU faculty service-learning committee; participated in the annual Utah Campus Compact Engaged Scholars Retreat; served on several university, School of Business and departmental committees including AACSB maintenance of accreditation; was the founder and advisor for the Hospitality Management Guild; co-founded the Hospitality Research Center; was an active scholar and grant recipient; and received tenure and rank advancement to associate professor.

Assante was also a recipient of the EDGE Program Award for Achievement in Experiential Learning; Southern Utah University’s Outstanding Educator Award; SUU T-Bird Award for Professor of the Year; department of Management, Marketing & Hospitality Outstanding Professor Award; Utah Campus Compact Outstanding Engaged Scholar Award; Professional Development Club of the Year Award; and was recognized as a Service-Learning Fellow.

“When I received word I was selected as department chair, I was absolutely elated,” Assante said. “The opportunity to contribute to the UWF environment of learning and service is a true honor. This is an exciting time for Hospitality, Recreation and Resort Management. Our program supports one of the region’s leading economic drivers – tourism. I am eager to begin working with my new colleagues, students and industry stakeholders while creating the strategic direction of the new department. I look forward to our department offering unparalleled experiential learning opportunities for students to succeed in today’s marketplaces; serving as an event and program hub for industry professionals; and conducting research helping us improve the ways we do business in hospitality, recreation and resort management.”

Before her role at SUU, Assante was an assistant professor of hotel and resort management in the school of travel industry management at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. During her time at UHM, she was an officer in the TIM faculty senate, a member of the TIM curriculum committee and graduate faculty. Assante served on multiple search committees and was the faculty advisor to the Travel Industry Management Student Association. Furthermore, she initiated, developed and executed the Hotels and Resorts of Halekulani Educational Partnership for strategic initiatives, and partnered with the Marshall Islands Visitors Authority, Pacific Asia Travel Association and University of Guam to develop and deliver leadership and guest service training seminars to tourism providers in the Marshall Islands.

In her most recent industry position, Assante was a manager of training and development for The Venetian Resort – Hotel – Casino in Las Vegas, where her primary focus was to formulate and implement leadership training and development programs for the AAA 5 Diamond property, concentrating on unmatched service and leadership.

Assante is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in hotel, restaurant and institutional management. She received a Master of Science in hotel administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a Doctor of Philosophy in hospitality administration from Texas Tech University.  

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