University of Central Florida to Develop Nation's First Curriculum Serving Timeshare Industry
ORLANDO, Fla - March 3, 1999--The University of Central Florida, one of Orlando's leading law firms and the charitable foundation of a Washington, D.C.-based trade association have joined forces to develop the nation's first undergraduate curriculum targeting the growing timeshare sector of the tourism industry.
Under an agreement between the University of Central Florida and the American Resort Development Association International Foundation, UCF hospitality management professor Randall Upchurch will develop three courses dealing with aspects of the timeshare industry and will prepare a corresponding textbook. The law firm of Baker Hostetler LLP, led by partners Robert Webb and Kurt Gruber, are providing funding and legal and educational support for the five-year, $250,000 project.
"With a yearly domestic growth rate of over 20 percent, timesharing is the fastest-growing segment of the travel and tourism industry," said Edwin C. McMullen Jr., a principal with Shell Vacations and American Resort Development Association chairman.
"Florida has the greatest concentration of timeshare resorts in the world and it is therefore fitting that the University of Central Florida form this partnership with ARDA International Foundation. Together, we will prepare today's students for the job opportunities of the future and lay the foundation for the next generation of industry executives."
Nearly a quarter of the timeshare resorts in the United States are located in Florida. According to ARDA, Central Florida dominates the state's timeshare industry, accounting for 67 percent of the state's timeshare sales in 1996 and 25 percent of timeshare sales for the entire nation.
The three courses -- introduction to the timeshare industry, timeshare resort development and timeshare resort management -- are to be developed in each of three successive years, ending in the late summer of 2001. The courses will become part of the hospitality management curriculum in UCF's College of Business Administration.
The textbook is to be completed in 2003. An ARDA-appointed advisory committee, chaired by Webb, Baker Hostetler's national hospitality team leader, will provide guidance and oversight in preparation of the courses and the textbook.
UCF President John Hin said the joint course development project leverages resources and talents that neither partner alone could provide in addressing a need that is both local and national in scope.
"Befitting a metropolitan university that seeks to unite with others on community improvement and economic development issues, this partnership enables UCF to play a leading role in strengthening one of the pillars of Greater Orlando's tourism industry," he said. "The likelihood that the courses and the textbook will help strengthen the timeshare industry nationally makes the partnership doubly satisfying."
Tico Perez, a Baker Hostetler partner and UCF's 1998 Distinguished Alumnus, said that the firm decided to underwrite the ARDA-UCF program because of Baker Hostetler's strong commitment to both organizations and because the Central Florida economy will benefit from better-educated timeshare industry managers.