Cal U offers two new business concentrations


Sara Zacherl, contributor

The business department at California University of Pennsylvania is introducing two new concentrations into the business program: Event Planning and Management and Tourism and Hospitality Management. These are concentrations under the under the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.) in Interdisciplinary Studies in Business and Commerce (ISBC) major.

The Event Planning and Management Concentration is new, while the Tourism and Hospitality Concentration previously existed, but is being improved and modified, according to Susan Ryan, a professor in the department of Business Economics and Enterprise Sciences at California University of Pennsylvania. “We’re able to prepare students in a way that we couldn’t before,” said Ryan. The program will be available both completely online and hybrid, so students from Clarion University and Edinboro University will be able take this concentration if they want to. Neither university currently has these programs, so this creates new opportunities for them where they didn’t exist before, according to Ryan. This also makes these programs available to students attending Penn West Global Online when it opens next fall, according to Ryan.

Ryan is also the director of the Cal U Tourism Research Center, as well as the program coordinator for the tourism, hospitality, and event studies curriculum at Cal U. As the three universities merge into Pennsylvania Western University, she is also the Chairperson of the Penn West Department of Management and Marketing.

Dr. Ryan teaches many of the classes within these programs, including Research Methods for Tourism Studies and Comprehensive Tourism Studies, according to herself. Other professors who teach in these programs are John Confer, Candice Riley, and Thomas Wickham, according to Ryan.

Tourism is the second largest industry in Pennsylvania, according to Ryan. “Tourism and hospitality are super sectors of global scope and scale. Therefore, no matter where one is in the world, there is tourism and hospitality employment,” said Ryan.

Both of these programs require students to complete an internship before graduating, according to Ryan. Anyone who graduates from these programs at Cal U will already have real world experience. Students have completed internships through the Disney College Program, various large hotel chains such as Marriot and Hilton, as well as various sports teams, such as the Steelers, the Penguins, and the Pirates, according to Ryan.

Event planning plays a part in more things than someone might think, according to Ryan. For example, there are event planners in the healthcare industry. Someone needs to plan and hold vaccine clinics and do community outreach, and that’s a job in event planning, according to Ryan.

“These new programs also give students more opportunities if they wish to change their majors,” said Breanna Vanderhoof, a sophomore at Cal. “If a student is an accounting major but they decide that isn’t for them, they have more options within the Business Department now.”