Distinguished Visiting Professor Series Brings Outstanding Scholars to USFSM

Dr. Michael Kasavana

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership has launched a Distinguished Visiting Professor Series which brings internationally recognized scholars to the campus in 2014 for visits of one week to 12 months. The Series is an initiative of the M3 Center of Hospitality Technology and Innovation, showcasing industry leaders who will deliver class lectures, provide one-on-one counsel on graduate research projects, assist in strategic planning for the College, provide insight on faculty development and work closely with faculty and students. The series’ first visiting professor is Michael L. Kasavana, National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA)- endowed professor in hospitality business at Michigan State University’s The School of Hospitality Business. Kasavana is currently in residence at USFSM until February 14.

 View Dr. Michael Kasavana’s full bio

“In my short time here, I have already developed a deeper appreciation for the leadership, faculty and programs offered by the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership at USFSM, and hope to be an asset to the program going forward,” said Kasavana. He comes from a program within the Eli Broad College of Business at MSU that is completing eight decades of excellence and is considered by many to be the benchmark in hospitality business education. “While the number of undergraduate and graduate students in the Hospitality Business programs at MSU dwarfs the ten-year-old USFSM program, there remain several similarities,” Kasavana notes. “The faculty of both programs is hard-working, knowledgeable and concerned about contributing meaningful publications, establishing critical industry affiliations and delivering insightful lectures. They are committed to integrating the educational mission of their academic programs with the future needs of industry leadership. What is somewhat surprising is that there are many more similarities in these programs than differences.”  

Kasavana has been on the faculty of Michigan State University for 39 years, serving as Director of the School of Hospitality Business for four. His teaching and research efforts focus on operational technologies and payment systems for various aspects of the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, private clubs and casinos. His research explores Internet, Intranet and Extranet opportunities, including virtual cash transactions, application service providers, e-procurement processes and effective web design. He has received the MSU Distinguished Faculty Award and holds a BS in Hotel, Restaurant and Travel Administration; an MBA in Finance; and a PhD in Management Information Systems from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Kasavana has written several textbooks as well as authoring or co-authoring more than 200 academic and trade journal articles related to information technology in the hospitality industry. This includes articles with Cihan Cobanoglu, dean of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership at USFSM, who shares Kasavana’s academic interests.  “I also learned of Cobanoglu’s outstanding efforts to develop a top-tier collegiate program at USFSM and wanted to share whatever I could to help his program succeed,” Kasavana says.

“We have chosen Dr. Kasavana and Dr. Qu to be the first two Distinguished Visiting Professors for our College because they not only provided mentorship to me personally, but to hundreds of others who are in leadership roles in hospitality education,” said Dr. Cobanoglu. “We are so happy that they accepted our invitation and become partners in our goal of becoming one of the top 10 hospitality schools in the United States.”

The next guest in the USFSM Distinguished Visiting Professor Series is Hailin Qu of Oklahoma State University, a lead researcher who will assist College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership faculty and students with grants for hospitality and tourism projects, as well as providing guidance on USFSM recruitment efforts in China.