University of South Florida

Muma College of Business

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Cihan Cobanoglu selected to lead USF’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

TAMPA – The University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business has appointed Cihan Cobanoglu to serve as dean of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Cobanoglu, who has served in the interim role since August 2021, will officially take on the top job on Aug. 1.

“It is an exciting time to lead the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management,” he said. “We are on a path to becoming a world-class hospitality program through targeted partnerships and innovations, and I am honored to continue the momentum. We have a bright future ahead.”

image of cihan cobanoglu

Cobanoglu’s appointment comes at a time when university leaders are seeing tremendous growth and innovation within the hospitality program. During the past year, the program has prospered and signed partnership agreements with key industry stakeholders.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Enrollment in the hospitality program has seen significant growth and the hospitality and tourism management degree program, currently based on the Sarasota-Manatee campus, will expand to the Tampa and St. Petersburg campuses this fall. The expansion was approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accrediting group this year.
  • The school announced several collaborative agreements with major hospitality industry leaders such as McKibbon Hospitality, Aramark, and Mainsail Lodging and Development to create learning labs and student fellowships that give students access to coveted on-the-job experiences that will set USF hospitality students apart.
  • The school is also undergoing a strategic review of its curriculum so that the education in the classroom reflects the current pandemic-era industry trends.

Cobanoglu is an award-winning hospitality and tourism technology expert and educator who started at USF in 2010. He also holds the McKibbon endowed chair and serves as the director of the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation. The center conducts cutting-edge research in the global hospitality industry and in hospitality education.

He is also director of international partnerships for the Muma College of Business. Cobanoglu stressed the importance of continuing to build relationships with key players in the hospitality sector.

“Fostering industry relationships in the hospitality and tourism field is critical to shared knowledge,” he said.

“Students are at the center of everything we do. That is why our partnerships are tailored around what our industry partners can teach our students. There’s nothing more empowering than learning by doing. And when our students learn from the best, they will be recruited by the best when they graduate.”

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