Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

WT to Launch New Degree Programs in Hospitality/Tourism, Human Resources


CANYON, Texas — Two new degree programs at West Texas A&M University will offer advanced new training in growing job fields.

Following approval by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Feb. 8, WT’s Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business soon will offer a new bachelor of science in hospitality and tourism management and a master of science in strategic human resources management, pending final approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

“We are excited to offer academic programs tailored to market demands, particularly in the Texas Panhandle, where hospitality and tourism degrees are crucial. Plus, our innovative Human Resources program will ensure our graduates are both well-prepared and competitive,” said Dr. Amjad Abdullat, dean. “We position students to lead and excel in their fields by equipping them with practical insights and innovative thinking. Our commitment to excellence places WT at the forefront of educating students ready to contribute significantly to their industries.”

The bachelor’s degree will take advantage of the unique location of Canyon and Amarillo as hubs of hospitality and tourism, thanks to their location near Historic Route 66, Interstates 40 and 27 and Palo Duro Canyon.

“WT will take a holistic approach to teach the knowledge and skills necessary for understanding and navigating the economic, legal and technological realities of owning or managing an organization in these vital industries,” said Dr. Jonathan Shaffer, associate dean of undergraduate business programs and WT’s T. Boone Pickens Professor of Management.

Meanwhile, the addition of a new graduate HR degree, which will align with the Society of Human Resource Management’s competency model for HR professionals, will be unique in the state through a focus on how managers can form close partnerships with top management to achieve a firm’s strategic goals.

“We partnered with SHRM to develop a program that’s ideal for students aspiring to work in mid- or high-level positions, also setting them up to take the highly coveted certified professional exam at the end of the program,” said Dr. Robert A. King, associate dean of graduate business programs and WT’s David Wilder Professor of Business.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, job opportunities in hospitality and tourism fields and in human resource management are expected to rise over the next decade.

WT will offer both programs utilizing current faculty. Classes are expected to begin in fall 2024, following final approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Hospitality/tourism graduates will understand the dynamic environment of the industries, the concepts of managing projects in those industries, and the principles of effective business processes, as well as develop critical management skills such as negotiating, ethical decision making and more.

Unlike other programs across the state, WT’s hospitality/tourism degree will offer students a breadth of operational business topics, including accounting, finance business and employment law, and IT management.

The HR graduate degree will prepare students for the workforce by making sure they master critical technical and effective leadership skills, demonstrate business acumen in related fields, and develop an understanding of the global business environment.

Both degree programs help address regional needs, a key mission of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised more than $150 million.

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