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NMSU School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management welcomes new director

The new director of New Mexico State University?s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management is all settled in. She?s toured the state-of-the-art facilities in Gerald Thomas Hall, met with faculty, administrators and board members, and even filled the shelves of her office to overflowing with her massive collection of cookbooks from all over.


Portrait of Jean Hertzman
New Mexico State University?s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management welcomes its new director, Jean Hertzman. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

But when the semester gets underway this week, the real fun begins. That?s when Jean Hertzman gets to do what she?s most looking forward to at NMSU: connecting with students.

?I love building relationships,? Hertzman said. ?I like working directly with students, so I?m glad this is a program where I can have a direct relationship with everyone.?

Hertzman comes to NMSU from the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at University of Nevada Las Vegas, one of the world?s largest hospitality programs, where she was an associate professor and director of enrollment management. During her tenure there, she also served as an assistant dean for operations and director of the culinary arts management degree program and the food service management program. After 21 years in the vast buzz of Las Vegas, she said she?s ready for a city and a school that are smaller and more connected.

Hertzman has long been familiar with the School of HRTM at NMSU through her industry connections ? her colleague at UNLV, Pat Moreo, a professor and associate dean, was head of NMSU?s program in the 1990s and led what was then the Hospitality and Tourism Services program through the transition in 1996 to departmental status in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

?NMSU is a very high-quality program with a lot of concern for students and great facilities like 100 West Café and the Bobby Lee Lawrence Wine Academy,? Hertzman said.

One of her priorities is building on that strong reputation to help increase enrollment and strengthen relationships with industry leaders and the community at large.

?There?s already a lot in place designed to grow our enrollment, but if we can find the resources to make improvements there, we can attract more attention from the industry,? she said.

That attention is key to getting students the experience they need to be successful, Hertzman said.

?We depend on the industry for parts of the school curriculum,? she said. ?The students have work and internship requirements, and while, of course, we?re hoping to get them the best jobs possible upon graduation, we also need to prepare them for their future careers years down the line.?

Hertzman plans to continue her commitment to service in her community, something that?s been important to her throughout her career. Nationally, she served in leadership roles with the Council on Hotel, Restaurant and International Education, and, while in Las Vegas, with the American Culinary Federation and the Nevada Restaurant Association, among others. She also volunteered with many organizations, including Opportunity Village, Chefs for Kids, the Cultural Diversity Foundation and the American Heart Association, and served as culinary director for UNLVino, the college?s largest fundraising event, which evolved into a three-day series of food and beverage tastings held at Las Vegas resorts.

She said she?s eager to meet community leaders in southern New Mexico and explore partnerships that will create additional opportunities for students. She?s also eager to meet those students ? including those in the events management course she?ll be teaching this semester. Students in the course will collaborate with students in Chef Pete Mitchell?s restaurant operations and food management courses to stage a series of international dinners throughout the semester ? including one in April that will serve as a South American-themed welcome dinner for Hertzman. Tickets for the dinners will be available later this month.

Hertzman worked as a restaurant manager in Boston and as an executive chef in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, after earning her bachelor?s degree from Cornell University?s School of Hotel Administration, one of the top hospitality programs in the world. But spending time as a chef instructor at the National Center for Hospitality Studies in Louisville revealed a passion for teaching.

After earning an MBA from Tulane University, where she also explored the unique culture and cuisine of New Orleans, she later earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership at UNLV.

Having lived all around the U.S., Hertzman said she still finds that the comfort foods of the South ? especially hearty soups ? are her favorite to prepare. Since arriving in Las Cruces, she?s quickly found that she?ll need to build up her tolerance for the main staple of local cuisine, hot green chile.

?I had a green chile cheeseburger from Blake?s yesterday, and I couldn?t quite make it through,? she said of the heat. ?I?ll work on it, though.?

College of ACES Dean Jim Libbin said he?s very pleased that Hertzman has joined the faculty and administrative team.

?The School of HRTM has been one of the great pillars of our college, and we all look forward to new ideas and leadership with the addition of Dr. Hertzman,? he said.

?In addition to her academic and administrative activities,? he added, ?we?ll do our best to help her become a true New Mexico chile lover.?

About Jean L. Hertzman
Title: Director, NMSU School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management
Recent position: Associate Professor and Director of Enrollment Management, William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Education: Bachelor of Science, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration; Master of Business Administration, Tulane University, A.B. Freeman School of Business; Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Professional certification: Certified Culinary Educator by the American Culinary Federation
Favorite regional cuisine: Southern comfort food
Favorite dish: Hearty soups
Favorite pastimes: Jazzercise, hiking
Favorite course to teach: Culture and Cuisine
Fun fact: Collects cookbooks
Contact: jhertzma@nmsu.edu