Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Robert Ackerman, Chair

Second Committee Member

Mario Martinez

Third Committee Member

Kim Nehls

Fourth Committee Member

Stuart H. Mann

Graduate Faculty Representative

Lori Olafson

Number of Pages



Hospitality education programs within higher education institutions often rely upon members of the hospitality industry to serve as volunteer advisory board members. A common role for volunteers of an academic program advisory board is to serve as a credible link between the formal education and degree earning process to the hospitality industry, provide insight and advice on current issues and trends, assist in developing industry relationships, and share their time and resources to help promote the program (Edwards, 2008; Merrill, 2003). While volunteer advisory boards within higher education are often made up of both alumni and non-alumni, this study focused on the non-alumni volunteers.

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the self-reported motivations, experiences, and engagement levels of non-alumni volunteers to a hospitality education program. The participants were drawn from those who were executives in the hospitality industry and served as current volunteers on the International Advisory Board for the College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In-depth interviews were conducted with participants both in-person and by phone. Participants were grouped into two cases of five people each; Case 1 consisted of newer advisory board members and Case 2 consisted of longer-serving advisory board members. A within-case comparison as well as a cross-case analysis was applied to the participant responses to better understand their motivations for volunteering and motivations to continue as volunteers.

The results of the study found that non-alumni volunteers, through their involvement with their fellow advisory board members, college administrators, and perhaps most importantly, interaction with students, developed emotional connections and pride in serving the institution. This led most volunteers to have a level of engagement that was meaningful to them and resulted in their desire to continue as volunteers. The participants acknowledged a variety of factors related to their experiences that influenced their overall feelings of engagement, factors that either contributed toward or hindered their satisfaction levels, emotional attachment, and identification with the advisory board. Implications of these findings for theory, practice and future research are discussed in the final chapter.


Advancement; Advisory boards; Alumni; Development; Hospitality – Study and teaching (Higher); Non-alumni; Public-private sector cooperation; University of Nevada; Las Vegas; Volunteer; Volunteer workers in education


Higher Education Administration | Higher Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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