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Central Federation


Chris Woodruff
Lake Michigan College

Thankful Season

As we are going into the Holiday Season with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to stop and say thanks for all the great amazing people we have and all the great things we are doing in CentralCHRIE!  There are so many that I cannot name them all, however here are many of those who have made CentralCHRIE grow and strive so far this year.
What a great follow up to our first successful ZoomIn! Event! Current Associate Director of the Michigan State University School of Hospitality Business, and current ICHRIE President Dr. Jeff Beck presented our second ZoomIn! Event in October. Dr. Beck shared all the different types of research you can do and all the different ways you can make a presentation at any conference in general or the 2020 CentralCHRIE Conference specifically!  Dr. Beck gave us a great kickoff to our opening of accepting Call For Papers for our conference! Dr. Beck thank you for all the great information you shared to show us that presentations come in many different forms, and if someone has information to share this is the way to do it!  So if you would like to be considered for presenting at the 2020 CentralCHRIE Conference, March 20-21 hosted by our friends at South Dakota State University, go to and submit your proposals now. I expect everyone in our Federation to submit a proposal for 2020!  It is the best way to share information with others and for you to learn so much about things going on in our industry! We will see you in Brookings on March 20, 2020!

Speaking of Brookings and our 2020 CentralCHRIE Conference, I had the pleasure of visiting our friends at South Dakota State University, along with Dr. Kristin Malek, and Dr. Ajai Ammachathram, both from the Univeristy of Nebraska, Lincoln for a site visit for the 2020 conference!  What a great two days to talk with our friends Dr. Kunsoon Park, Dr. Julie Tkach, and Dr. Xu Li, our conference hosts from SDSU!!  What an outstanding, informative visit we had!  It was two full days of creating great, unique opportunities for conference attendees, as well as deciding conference proceedings, and extra experiences for families attending!! We have some amazing activities planned including undergraduate and graduate student presentations, and all the traditional CFP’s, as well as many awards being presented to outstanding conference presenters!  I can’t wait until March 20!!  More information being added all the time so check back often to!

While it will be difficult to top our first two speakers the third is up to the task!  Current CentralCHRIE Conference Committee Chair and University of Nebraska, Lincoln Hospitality Professor Dr. Kristin Malek will share ideas on something very important to all of us, Student Recruiting Ideas for Hospitality Programs!  Dr. Malek will share ideas they have done at UNL, along with what others schools have done to combat falling enrollment trends all around our Federation.  Dr. Malek will also demonstrate other ways of recruiting in a variety of traditional and innovative places! Two of my three main goals for the vision of CentralCHRIE this year are to Collaborate and Motivate!  And this presentation will do both of these to motivate you to present and share your ideas with other ICHRIE members, and also to work with others who have similar concerns with enrollment and other research interests to add to the vast body of knowledge in Hospitality education.  In New Orleans I was lucky enough to discover two other ICHRIE members who also had a particular research interest in a topic.  Because of this we are now doing research on this topic!  This would not have been possible without the session and we are going to do this as well at our future ZoomIn! Events so make sure you attend!  If you have thought about doing research and presenting, or presenting at a conference this is a can’t miss event!  An action packed event for sure so make sure you pack a lunch and mark your calendar for November 22, at Noon Eastern!

Another person who has been very active in CentralCHRIE, without even being a member of CentralCHRIE is Ruth Lee O’Rourke from James Madison, who is also the Eta Sigma Delta (ESD) Board Chair!  Ruth put together a great event during the New York Hotel Show recently, and was instrumental in the STR Student Market Study Competition!  If you have an ESD Chapter on your campus, you know all the benefits to the faculty, students, and program that having a chapter create!  Starting a chapter of Eta Sigma Delta is not a difficult undertaking, but it does require some extra time and effort, which will benefit many current as well as future students. Chapters may be organized at colleges, universities or two-year schools offering baccalaureate degrees, associate degrees and/or diplomas in hospitality and tourism-related fields including—but not limited to—Hotel Administration, Restaurant Management, Travel/Tourism Management, Club and Resort Management, Institutional Management and Food Service Management.  If you have any questions or are interested in starting a chapter visit or contact Ruth directly at

Speaking of the STR Student Competition our great friends at Smith Travel Research and the SHARE Center did a fabulous job as always with the competition.  Many schools from CentralCHRIE competed and placed during this fast-paced competition. Thank you ICHRIE Director of Industry Services, and STR Senior Vice President, Steve Hood, and STR Vice President, Duane Vinson, for this great event every year and for your forward thinking leadership for ICHRIE and our industry!

Another great event for our Graduate student members and many others is the Annual Graduate Research Conference, which will be hosted by UNLV in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada on January 3-5!  If you are going please post your pictures and stories on the CentralCHRIE Facebook page!  If you want more information or to register, go to and please like!

Dr. Nick Thomas from DePaul University has graciously opened the DePaul Hospitality and Tourism Career Fair on Friday January 31 to all of your students!  Dr. Thomas mentioned he is seeking your assistance in promoting this free event to your students. The event is open to all your students, regardless of major, minor, degree, or school. Additionally, if you have stakeholders with other academic programs that would benefit from attending, please forward this information to them. Get more information including an updated list of participating employers at

During the ICHRIE Conference in New Orleans, we asked our members for ideas on topics they wanted to see for our ZoomIn! Events and they did not disappoint!  We received over 25 topics for future events, and while we cannot get to all this year, we will get to as many as possible and then some!  With that being said, we are always looking for new topics and speakers.  So if you have a topic or if you are an expert in a specific topic please contact me.  We might start having more events a month to assist our membership by providing our three guiding principles through these events.  EDUCATE, COLLABORATE, and MOTIVATE!  Our Fourth Friday events are taking the Hospitality Education community by storm so make sure you are a part of them!

In addition, with the great success of our ZoomIn! Events, All things lead to our 2020 CentralCHRIE Conference hosted by the great team at South Dakota State University on March 20 and 21!  So make sure you plan to attend, AND plan to present at the Conference!  Our November Student Recruitment Zoom In! Event will help you learn more about all the different ways to recruit students, and I am sure will produce some great conversations which can lead to presentations, and for sure will get you motivated to present at our conference!  Go to to get all the information for submitting a presentation proposal for the conference.  I will provide updates next month and as we get closer will be adding more conference updates to our Facebook page.  In addition, if you don’t already like our Facebook site, why not?  To stay current on all goings on in CentralCHRIE go to  We are still looking for involvement from our members to help make this the best CentralCHRIE conference yet!  We also have developed two grants for innovations in research and teaching, which will be awarded this academic year and presented at the conference!  These are just a few of the exciting, member engaging events we already have planned for this year and stay tuned for many more!

My goals for CentralCHRIE are to continue to add to all the great events we have for professional development opportunities for our members.  As well as get every member involved in at least one activity, and to actively seek new avenues of new members from all realms of Hospitality education including K-12, 2-year and 4-year schools.  Finally, I plan to do a lot of listening to our members to see what is on their minds and the opportunities we have for growth in CentralCHRIE.  So if you ever want to talk about ideas for how to make CentralCHRIE even better, please reach out to me at

Assisting me in achieving our goals is a board powered 100% by volunteer CentralCHRIE members. Each one has a specific area of focus, and each brings a diversity of thought, talent and passion to the board. I have known many board members for years, and a few I just met at our conference in New Orleans. They are as excited as I am about all the opportunities we have in front of us and are already working to achieve our CentralCHRIE goals! 

I am honored to lead and work with such an amazing team. However, nothing we do would be possible without a strong community of Hospitality educators and industry professionals, our members!  People passionate enough to volunteer their time to this effort—people who volunteer to speak at events, review research presentation submissions, and serve as board members. So many people have helped make CentralCHRIE what it is today. A two-year term is not a long time for our Directors, and 1 year will go by so fast for me, but I know we will continue to serve the evolving needs of CentralCHRIE’s membership and the Hospitality industry as a whole.

2019-2020 has started with many successes.  However, we cannot rest with what we have done.  Making each event better than the last and continuing to provide value to every member is truly what makes CentralCHRIE The Place to Be!


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