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Doyle to Develop Spa Management Course Curriculum Unique to Michigan Schools

Julie DoylePeople like to be pampered, and continued growth of the spa industry represents job opportunities for Ferris State University students.

That’s why Julie Doyle, a College of Business professor who teaches courses in hotel and resort management and coordinates its hospitality program, has been granted a sabbatical to develop a Spa Management course curriculum.

Doyle’s effort to collect and analyze emergent industry trends and needs, operational procedures and management guidelines also will position Ferris’ Hospitality Management program to add a Spa Management concentration and/or a certificate to the Resort Management baccalaureate degree.

“Ferris is excited to be the only school in the state of Michigan with a spa resort concentration and certificate,” said Doyle, who is certified by the American Hotel and Lodging Association. “It’s a new direction for us, and I’m excited to have the sabbatical leave in order to do this work.”

Input from prominent resort-industry leaders highlights a growing need for graduates with spa operations management expertise, Doyle said. This segment of the industry is largely underrepresented in secondary and post-secondary offerings.

Development of such a program will continue to enhance the distinctiveness of Ferris’ College of Business and better serve the global economy, as well as prepare students for work in the growing beauty and wellness industry, Doyle said.

“Students will gain the knowledge of how to run a spa, which is huge in terms of profit,” said Doyle, who will complete her sabbatical during the Fall 2012 semester. “One treatment can run anywhere from $50 to $300 for an hour.”

Students will learn all aspects of spa management, including marketing, operations, housekeeping, valet, food and beverage, and catering, as well as special events and weddings. Today’s spa services focus on health and fitness as well as treatments designed to de-stress and rejuvenate, Doyle said.

Doyle, a Ferris alumnus of the Hospitality program and professor of 29 years, will visit Grand Traverse Resort Spa in Acme and Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa in Thompsonville, as well as facilities in Illinois, Wisconsin and Florida. She also will attend the International Spa Association Conference and Expo in Kissimmee, Fla. in October for advice on developing courses and internship opportunities. Doyle will have the ability to network with spa managers and owners to open a variety of internship and full-time placement opportunities for current students and graduates of Ferris’ hospitality programs.

Doyle also plans to visit the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Institute in Lansing, which offers a complete curriculum in spa operations management with certificate, in order to identify the curriculum needed at Ferris. Classes are expected to be offered beginning in Fall 2013.