HRM dean appears excited about renovations
John Bowen has served as dean of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management since 2003 and said he has a progressive agenda for the school’s future.
Bowen, who worked as a faculty member at UH from 1980-1990, is quite familiar with the college and is optimistic of where the college’s programs are heading. A school that has industry support and great facilities is what enthused Bowen about the opportunity to serve as a dean at UH.
“I accepted the position as dean because I felt there was a lot of potential to further build the great reputation of the College of Hotel and Restaurant Management,” he said.
Bowen said he is excited that once the school is done with its $13 million renovation, students will be able to get more of a hands-on experience and move into meaningful positions while studying. Bowen said the hotel will have chef-training programs at the on-campus Eric’s Restaurant for students from both UH and community colleges who are interested in culinary arts.
“We are looking to improve the quality of service here by using our students and giving them opportunities to work in the hotel,” he said.
Bowen said the renovation will not only benefit HRM, but will also allow other colleges at UH to expand their studies.
Bowen also said the south wing of the school will have experimental suites that will be used for furniture design, technology applications and consumer behavior studies. The College of Architecture and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences have joint classes with HRM full of students who are working on designing rooms within the wing.
“There is a real opportunity to turn the college into an experimental hotel, which can create learning opportunities for students across campus,” Bowen said.
The HRM renovations are expected to end by the end of this month. While the finishing touches are applied, students and faculty will be preparing for an eventful April for HRM.
Gourmet Night, an annual event hosted by the students of the college, will be held April 10. The co-occurring Grand Opening and 40th anniversary celebration is scheduled for April 22.
Bowen said the anniversary will provide an excellent opportunity for students to network with people who are in the field.
“Industry leaders who are stake holders in the college will have sessions with our students throughout the day,” he said. “A dinner will follow after the sessions. I encourage all HRM students to come out.”
For Bowen, UH’s diverse student body not only creates an environment that’s conducive to learning and convenient for HRM’s study abroad program.
“International internships are available to our students through our alliances with universities in France, Hong Kong, Mexico ⎯ and we are developing programs in Australia and Germany.”
Ideally, Bown said, the college would like every student to have an international experience before they graduate.
Bowen received his undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration, from Cornell University. He earned his Master’s of Business Administration and Master of Science in Education from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before graduating from Texas A&M-College Station with a doctorate in marketing.