Robert (Bob) Harrington (’96, ‘01) has been selected as the new director of the School of Hospitality Business Management in the Carson College of Business.

Harrington began his new role Jan. 1. He served most recently as the academic director for the Carson College of Business at WSU Tri‑Cities, as well as the associate director for SHBM. Harrington has been a professor in hospitality business management since 2015.

Under his leadership, the college has seen an increasing number of WSU Tri‑Cities students pursuing degrees in both hospitality business management and wine and beverage business management, as well as a certificate in Wine Business Management.

Harrington will continue to be based in the Tri‑Cities and will regularly spend time in Pullman. He succeeds former SHBM director Nancy Swanger, who took on the role of founding director of the Granger Cobb Institute for Senior Living.

Key goals and priorities

One of Harrington’s top priorities will be to build further on Swanger’s work in developing a system‑wide perspective for the SHBM. Key goals will be ensuring the quality of undergraduate programs, growing SHBM’s research reputation and collaboration opportunities and strategically differentiating programs to meet the needs of students and industry. SHBM will accomplish this in part through greater integration of unique experiential learning opportunities such as the Crimson Confections project, industry immersion programs, project-based internships and more access to study abroad activities, he said.

“Under Bob’s leadership, we expect to see the influence of our outstanding faculty and programs make a state‑wide impact,” said Chip Hunter, college dean.

Harrington is known for his research impact and has been ranked 30th in the world by the Journal of Teaching in Travel and Tourism for research productivity. His research specializes in a range of topics, from studying the relationships and perceptions of food and wine pairing, to how Michelin chefs manage the innovation process, to the role that food or wine have in creating return visits by tourists.

Concurrent with his appointment as director, Harrington will also assume the Ivar B. Haglund Chair in Hospitality Business Management. In this role, he will continue providing research and service to the hospitality academic and industry communities and also assist the college in building more effective approaches to teaching. The appointment affirms the impact of his research in food, drink and hospitality, as well as his 18‑year background in the restaurant industry and experience as a certified executive chef, said Hunter.

For more information, visit the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management website.