Campus, News

SHA dean resigns, returns to passion, teaching students

After two years of serving as the dean of Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration, Christopher Muller said he decided to step down to return to teaching.

“There is a saying in Latin hanging on my office wall, which I will very loosely translate — I teach so I may learn, I learn so I may teach,” Muller, who is in Switzerland for a conference for restaurant executives, said in an email interview.

Muller, who became dean of SHA in August of 2010, said he plans to finish the semester as dean before taking a sabbatical leave. “The vision that he had for the school and our sense of the strategic vision for the school weren’t a good fit,” said University Provost Jean Morrison. “So he stepped down.”

When he returns, Muller said he will continue teaching in SHA where he will focus on research in hospitality management and entrepreneurship.

“We look forward to his future academic contributions as a faculty member in the field of hospitality administration and particularly in his core research areas of corporate and multi-unit restaurant brand management, chain restaurant organization development and growth and the training of multi-unit managers,” Morrison said in a letter to the faculty and staff of SHA.

Under Muller’s leadership, SHA’s administrative structure improved, Morrison said in a phone interview.

“Under his leadership, Dean Muller has significantly advanced the mission and organization of SHA as one of the nation’s leading undergraduate programs in hospitality management education,” Morrison said in the letter.

During his two years as dean, Muller said his proudest accomplishments include integrating iPad 2 tablets in the college as well as the changes the faculty made to the curriculum for the 2013-14 academic year.

Changes to the curriculum make it possible for all types of students, including four-year and transfer students, to be involved with all learning opportunities. The curriculum has been enhanced to echo the “One BU” model with a liberal arts core in addition to a service business specialty.

“I don’t think any other program is as well designed to meet student needs for tablet-based technology, professional career development and an international experience,” Muller said. “I believe they will be prepared for the future because of these and other changes the school has made since 2010.”

Muller said he looks forward to teaching his students about multi-unit management, which has been his passion for 25 years.

“As the hospitality industry has evolved, this area of study for restaurants and hotels has taken on greater and greater importance, and I am excited to offer classes on the topic to our world-class undergrads,” he said.

Morrison said Muller will be a wonderful addition back to the faculty.

“He has a great deal of expertise and enthusiasm that will serve the school and the students in particular very well,” she said. “He’s very knowledgeable about restaurants and will be able to bring those things back into the classroom.”

Before becoming the dean, Muller had been an entrepreneur, a restaurant owner and a recognized educator, according to a press release from BU when Muller became dean.

Morrison said BU has begun the search for a new dean by reaching out to identify possible candidates. Since SHA is such a small college, the faculty will be involved in the process and the new dean will be identified by the end of December.

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