The Driehaus College of Business has built its reputation for
excellence with faculty and programs that blend high quality academics and
The college’s recent appointment of Misty Johanson as director
of the School of Hospitality Leadership, and the school’s launch this fall of a
new Masters of Science in Hospitality and Operational Performance degree,
continue this long-held tradition.
Known as “Dr. J” by her students, Johanson (pictured at right) joined the
college in 2009 as a hospitality leadership professor and served as an
associate dean before being named director of the hospitality school in July.
In the classroom, she has achieved high marks in student evaluations for her
courses, including the program’s signature “Introduction to Hospitality
Leadership” class. As a researcher, she has produced more than 50 refereed journal
articles and two textbooks, earning her a place as one of the most prolific
authors in the hospitality field.
And in industry, Johanson has worked as a management
advisor and consultant to major international hospitality organizations such as
Starwood, Marriott, Hilton and Disney.
These credentials made Johanson a natural choice to steer
the School for Hospitality Leadership, says Ray Whittington, dean of the
Driehaus College of Business. “Misty is a talented and enthusiastic academic
leader whose industry connections will help us access all of the opportunities
that a world-class hospitality city can offer to enhance the prominence and
success of the school,” he says.
New Master’s Degree Prepares Hospitality Leaders
Johanson has played a key role in developing the curriculum
of the School of Hospitality Leadership, which was founded five years ago with
a $7.5 million gift from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Now, as director, she
is advancing the school’s goals by championing a new Masters of Science in Hospitality and Operational Performance.
“Students in this program will develop leadership skills and
operational capabilities that can be applied to a broad array of hospitality
service enterprises,” Johanson says. “The program uniquely integrates critical
business skills and practices with cutting-edge hospitality leadership
knowledge that incorporates service innovation and technology pertaining to
guest experiences and bottom-line performance.”
The new degree enhances the School of Hospitality
Leadership’s slate of undergraduate and graduate degrees that are designed with
extensive input from industry leaders.
The school’s undergraduate program gives students a strong
foundation in core business functions and then offers a choice of four tracks:
private club management; food and beverage management; lodging management; and
event management. At the graduate level, the school offers MBA concentrations
in hospitality leadership and revenue management, in addition to the new MS
Drawing Strength from World-Class Hospitality City
What distinguishes DePaul’s School of Hospitality Leadership
is its founding at the university’s well-regarded business school in downtown
Chicago and its strong ties to the surrounding hospitality industry, Johanson
says. Chicago is one of the most vibrant hospitality hubs in the world,
boasting more than $15 billion in annual hospitality sales, more than 100,000 hotel
rooms, 15,000 restaurants and nearly 300,000 industry employees. “These
connections provide robust opportunities for teaching and research
collaborations and student internship and career opportunities among our
industry contacts,” she says.
The school’s enrollment is at a record high for fall
quarter. To maintain this momentum and to kick off the new academic year this
fall, the school hosted a “Picture Yourself in Hospitality” recruiting event on
the Lincoln Park Campus for DePaul undergraduate students to raise awareness
about the school’s majors and the wide range of careers available to students
who earn degrees is hospitality leadership. Industry leaders supported and faculty
and staff participated in the event that attracted much student interest.
The hospitality industry has enthusiastically welcomed
Johanson to her new role at the school and the direction she is taking the
“Misty is an intensely motivated individual with a strong
work ethic and excellent leadership qualities,” says Joe McInerney, American
Hotel & Lodging Association president and CEO emeritus, who chairs the
school’s strategic planning council. “Her vision, dedication and commitment
will bring fresh direction and innovative ideas that will take the program to
“The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association is thrilled
with her appointment as director,” says Marc J. Gordon, president and CEO of
the association. “We look forward to supporting her as she takes the program to
the next level.”