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Experiential learning takes hold in STHM professor’s events-planning courses

By: Courtney Kubitza
First Published: December 21, 2015
Topics: In the News, STHM School

 Dr. Erinn Tucker

Dr. Erinn Tucker

In any article she writes, whether professionally or academically, Dr. Erinn Tucker maintains a theme of showcasing the events industry from a different perspective.

An assistant professor at the Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM), Tucker has recently contributed articles highlighting the events industry for Social Tables, a site that assists members of the events industry and other customers with room-design planning.

Tucker has agreed to pen a three-article series for Social Tables on the events-planning industry. Her first two articles explored Mainstream media’s glamorization of the industry and Events as expense rather than as revenue generators. She has a third, forthcoming article that will delve into the revenue side of event management.

“When I worked at General Motors, events were a huge expense because we had so many golf tournaments. When I worked at Jillian’s (now known as Dave & Busters), events were a revenue generator,” she said, “So events need to now be taught in these frameworks.”

Tucker, who accepted a STHM appointment last summer, leads a pair of undergraduate events course: Sport and Society, and Foundations of Events, Meetings, and Conventions. Within those courses, Tucker incorporates Social Tables by having her students become certified to use the site.

Tucker said she’s always taken great joy in writing, for academic and non-academic audiences, alike. Her first brush with the latter was a writing opportunity with Lodging Magazine. In her first article titled, “Hospitality is the New Black,” Tucker said she “wanted to show that your hospitality education can be transferrable. You can work in politics, entertainment, and real estate.”

Her connections with Lodging, she said, helped her set up an ongoing relationship with Social Tables, a software and web-based meetings and events company.

Tucker decided to use that connection to incorporate Social Tables into the curriculum for her two events courses. She assigns students a specific events project in which they must design a room on Social Tables to best fit their client’s needs. It’s a practical approach to educating students on events management, she said.

“I gave them criteria, like site requirement size, dimensions, and placement of the stage area, then the other part of the assignment is the design and write-up,” Tucker said. “The students report to me with the days and times of their events, and I’ll go on the site to see if what they’re saying is actually happening. It’s a different way to approach teaching.”

Alexandra Mottershead is a fourth-year Tourism and Hospitality Management major with a concentration in Event Leadership and a minor in Business Studies. She already has written one post to Social Tables, on millennials in the tourism and hospitality management industries, and will write another soon on a related subject.

“I think it’s extremely important for professionals to understand a multitude of relevant software, and Social Tables is no exception,” Mottershead said. “By keeping up with new trends and technology of the industry, professionals will be able to be to better serve their specific markets.”