UNT to offer first consumer experience management degree in US

UNT to offer first consumer experience management degree in US

UNT to offer first consumer experience management degree in US
February 06
15:16 2018

UNT is the first university in the U.S. to offer a bachelor’s degree in consumer experience management, enrolling its first group of degree-seekers in spring 2018.

“The consumer journey has become the single most important aspect in retail today,” said Judith Forney, dean of the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism. “If you don’t understand how the consumer is getting the end product that you’re selling, you will not have a good grasp of what it is you need to sell.”

The degree is being offered as a Bachelor of Science within the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism after it was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Students will “learn to manage consumer expectations in retail, hospitality and tourism,” according to a UNT press release.

Forney explained the new program will have an in-depth approach to studying consumer behavior.

“Historically, there have been academic programs in consumer sciences that are looking at consumer behavior from the perspective of individuals and their purchasing behavior,” Forney said. “This has a different approach because we’re in a different environment and so there’s not any program out there that has approached the understanding of consumers as they interact in the marketplace through all of the dynamic venues that we have.”

Forney has been dean for 20 years and will step down from the position in late 2018 to teach courses in the consumer experience management curriculum.

Professor Linda Mihalick teaches multiple courses in the consumer experience management curriculum, including Introduction to Digital Retailing, Digital Retailing Strategies and Digital Study Tour.

“Prior to the availability of this new degree, many of our students were double-majoring in merchandising and digital retailing,” Mihalick said. “I like to say that this allows them to ‘power-up’ a foundational degree. They are uniquely positioned as they seek internships and employment to have a much more well-rounded, hands-on understanding of the current retail and hospitality environments.”

Freshman Allison McDonald is one of the three students who have consumer experience management as their major this semester.

“I chose this major specifically because I am working toward opening my own wedding venue,” McDonald said. “I think that this major will help me in this career field just simply because it is consumer based and weddings are as well. In order for us to get word out about our venue, we have to have really good marketing skills, and also market in a way that will bring consumers in.”

Forney said consumer experience management joins the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism’s other comprehensive areas of focus to create an even more well-rounded program.

“This is the final cog in the wheel in order to have a comprehensive offering across this whole industry that’s global,” Forney said. “Having that breadth of that whole industry is unique. I don’t think you’d find it anywhere else.”

Featured Image: Judith Forney, dean of the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, sheds light on a new major being offered at UNT. Forney will be stepping down as dean after 20 years in order to teach several of the courses within the new consumer experience management curriculum.
Paige Bruneman

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Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel is currently the News Editor at the North Texas Daily, and previously served as a staff writer from June 2017 to May 2018.

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