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The Department of Experience Industry Management, Cal Poly SLO

Contact: Bill Hendricks

The Department of Experience Industry Management
the Latest Addition to Cal Poly


SAN LUIS OBISPO — Cal Poly’s Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration Department has changed its name to the Experience Industry Management Department — making it the first of its kind in California.

The new department name encompasses the national shift that blends tourism, travel, experiences, social media, travel platforms, sustainability, food, wine, culinary arts, culture, sports, outdoor recreation, conventions and meetings, and events.

This change enables the program to become a leader in developing Cal Poly graduates who will contribute to an industry that is an economic driver and catalyst for the high quality of life of Californians.

“It is more encompassing of what our students and alumni actually do for their careers,” said Department Head Bill Hendricks. “It is cutting edge in terms of educating students to plan, co-create, deliver, and manage experiences that impact quality of life and economic vitality. It also fits with our vision: to cultivate leaders and innovators in industries that promote healthy lifestyles, protect memorable places, and facilitate life-enhancing experiences for individuals, communities, and the global society.”

Today, nearly 65 percent of the department’s 300 students are enrolled in the event planning and management or the hospitality and tourism management concentrations.

Cal Poly students majoring in recreation, parks and tourism administration are graduating and accepting jobs as global event strategy managers, event coordinators for employee experiences at companies such as LinkedIn, professional sports teams, and hospitality, tourism and recreation organizations at esteemed locations and destinations throughout the world.

“Few universities across the country can replicate the marriage of Cal Poly’s Agribusiness, Food Science and Nutrition, Wine and Viticulture, and Experience Industry Management departments,” said Dean Andrew Thulin. “This move places Cal Poly at the forefront nationally in the development of experience industry management as an academic program.”

About Experience Industry Management

Experience Industry Management is the facilitation of experiences across all sectors of industries related to tourism, hospitality, event planning, outdoor recreation management, community recreation, and sport management. It is one of nine departments in Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Graduates of the program have started their careers at some of the industry’s most compelling organizations, such as the San Francisco Giants, Pebble Beach Resorts, Apple, and George P. Johnson.

About Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, comprehensive polytechnic university. The university’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences is comprised of expert faculty members who take pride in their ability to transform academically motivated students into innovative professionals ready to solve the complex challenges associated with feeding the world in sustainable ways. Students have access to state-of-the-art laboratories, including ranch land, orchards, vineyards and forests, all of which provide the basis for Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing methodology. It is the fifth-largest college of agriculture in the country, with 4,000 undergraduate students.

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