Features

Stahura Takes the Helm

On June 1, 2015, Dr. Kurt A. Stahura took the helm of Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, succeeding former dean Dr. Gary Praetzel and signaling the beginning of a new chapter in the world-renowned college’s history.

“I am honored to succeed Dr. Praetzel. He has established Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management as one of the very best in the world,” Dr. Stahura says. “I hope to continue his standards of excellence in teaching, research and service, all of which support quality student experiences and preparation for entry into the global marketplace.”

A month into his new position, the Massachusetts native was focusing on expanding the college’s global and international reputation.

“Everything that we do with respect to teaching, service, and research will have a global/international focus,” he says. “We want to expose students to the extensive international opportunities available, which we wholeheartedly encourage from the minute they get on campus. We like them to think globally and have these transformative experiences, so that by the time they graduate, they will be well-prepared, creative, analytical citizens of the world.”

Dr. Stahura spent the last three and a half years in Singapore, where he most recently served as managing director for UNLV-Singapore (part of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas). This experience has given him unique, first-hand knowledge of the burgeoning Asian tourism market.

“Singapore is in the middle of where a lot of things are starting to happen in the world and in hospitality in particular,” he notes. “I’m very much aware of the trends and that’s where I feel I can bring something here.”

To that end, he wants to create additional international experiences for students — experiences he calls “impactful and necessary” — that will prepare them to take advantage of the opportunities available in Asia and elsewhere.

“It’s in these places that they need people with the skills that we offer,” he says. “So if you can encourage students to go out and explore, they’ll get the confidence to take the skills that we impart on them and impact these places.”

Dr. Stahura also plans to continue the college’s tradition of service to the community.

“It’s another meaningful experience that impacts somebody,” he says. “When (the students) go through their four years and reflect on their experience, it’s those things that oftentimes make more of an impact than a lecture. It’s something that they take with them for the rest of their lives, just like the international experiences.”

Involvement with the local community is also on Dr. Stahura’s agenda. He hopes to facilitate opportunities where the faculty can share knowledge to “contribute to the betterment of society.”

“This is a wonderful field in that regard,” he says.

Dr. Stahura is well-prepared for this role. As a scholar and tenured faculty member at UNLV, he taught courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level, and has conducted research on a variety of cultural and social trends in leisure, hospitality, tourism, and sport.

He has also been involved extensively in executive education. His scholarly pursuits and consulting expertise have brought him to India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Greece, and Turkey, and all over the United States, where he has provided consulting assistance on issues surrounding program development, organizational structuring, and communication facilitation.

Dr. Stahura has served as a journal editor and been on a number of editorial boards. He has published more than 40 articles in regional, national, and international journals, and has authored 130-plus presentations and conference keynote speeches.

Now, he is eager to shepherd the growth and continue the academic excellence for which the college is known, and is excited about the future for its students.

“I think the timing is wonderful for students in the hospitality industry today,” he says.