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ENhance ILR Spotlight: Tourism, Hospitality, Festival & Events Management

ENhance Spotlight. Edinburgh Napier University Department of Learning & Teaching Enhancement. Image shows coloured lights representing the themes of the ENhance Curriculum Framework.

From a practical perspective, travelling the globe, bringing people from around the world together and enjoying foreign culture has never been easier but in the modern world, there are more considerations facing patrons and professionals in these industries, not limited to the environment, labour rights and the cost of living. The Business School’s suite of Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes in the Tourism, Hospitality, Festival and Events Management subject area clearly have a large task on their hands preparing students for careers in these industries and in May 2023, colleagues from this subject area represented their programmes for reapproval as part of the Institution-Led Review (ILR) process, with Learning, Teaching & Assessment practice linked to the ENhance curriculum framework. The programme team will now be looking toward their Year-On Review  following this, as we look back at the exemplary practice from their ILR.

The purpose of the ENhance framework is to acknowledge the excellent work being undertaken by colleagues across the University and share practice for the benefit of staff and students in all schools, and it was clear that the programme leaders and SAL (School Academic Lead) for Curriculum Design had been collaborating to share practice as part of preparation for the ILR, proactively engaging with ENhance. We’re pleased to take this opportunity to further share the commendations from this ILR. There were 13 programmes being reapproved, 7 Undergraduate, 6 Postgraduate:

Festival & Events Management

BA(Hons) International Festival & Event management FT (BA(Hons) IFEM)

BA (Hons) International Festival & Event Management PT –in partnership with HKU SPACE, Hong Kong PT (BA IFEM – HK)

MSc International Festival and Event Management FT/PT (MSc IFEM)

Tourism Management

BA(Hons) International Tourism and Airline Management FT (BA(Hons) ITAM)

BA (Hons) International Tourism Management FT (BA (Hons) ITM)

MSc International Heritage and Cultural Tourism Management FT/PT (MSc IHCTM)

MSc International Tourism Destination Management FT (MSc)

Hospitality Management

BA (Hons) International Hospitality Management FT (BA(Hons) IHM)

BA (Hons) International Hospitality Management and Festival and Events FT (BA(Hons IHMFE)

BA Hospitality and Tourism Management in partnership with PSB Singapore FT (BA HTM- Singapore)

MSc Global Hospitality Management (Extended) (MSc GHM)

MSc Hospitality and Tourism Management in partnership with HTMI Switzerland FT (MSc HTM – Switzerland)

Intercultural Business Communication

MSc Intercultural Business Communication (MSc IBC)


In such a globalised industry, it is no surprise that the Global Outlook theme of ENhance is an important theme to represent within Tourism, Hospitality, Festival & Event Management (THFEM). The programmes presented to the ILR draw a strong cohort of international students whose own experiences and perspectives are broad and diverse, which they are encouraged to share. This organically expands the global knowledge within classes, and provides a foundation for community within programmes, supported by a diverse teaching team from international backgrounds.


A poster about Active Learning in Dr Ellis Urquhart's Level 9 Global Service Management module. This links to the page where you can access a PDF of this, as well as a video and longer written case study about this.

Global Outlook is also demonstrated as case studies from around the world are used across the programmes to enhance students’ understanding of how topics are significant in global markets. Dr Ellis Urquhart has used Active Learning in the Level 9 Global Service Management module (TSM09126), to create a supportive environment for students to discuss the case studies based in range of industries, and problem-solve for real issues they would encounter, such as how to develop company culture for employees through management methods, effective staff training, interview methods. This is one of a number of shared modules available to students across the subject areas, giving students a chance to build connections with others whose work and education experiences represent different related fields, building Citizenship & Community within the school when considering interconnected working across an industry.

We have various formats of ENhance case study of Ellis’ Active Learning approach with a few lessons learned along the way, which you can find on the intranet.

MSc students are supported to consider Citizenship & Community when studying relationships between nature tourism and indigenous communities, which can lead to tensions when these industries are not developed collaboratively or with consideration of the needs of local people and environments. Nature tourism is a way for people who care about conservation to engage with the species and environments they are passionate about, and can be a source of income for conservation work but this needs to be balanced with the needs of local communities who live in contact with their environment year around. These relationships are explored within the Natural Area Tourism module (TSM11116) led by Dr Alexandra Witte, delivered on the MSc courses on International Tourism Management, International Festival & Event Management and International Heritage & Cultural Tourism Management programmes and provide an opportunity to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to consider sustainable and regenerative tourism.

UN Sustainable Development goals

 As globalised industries can be exclusive of many people around the world, so can education but the THFEM subject areas have worked to be responsive to this, as cohorts have changed following Brexit. While European student numbers have declined, this subject area has seen an increase in other international students, and a large number of the student body is now made up of students from West Africa and South Asia. Cultural differences between students and staff are clearly opportunities for learning as mentioned earlier, but this needs to be supported to facilitate these opportunities for effective communication. Demonstrating Student Focus and Inclusion themes of ENhance, the MSc Global Hospitality Management programme has an embedded (non-credit bearing) Developing Academic Literacies module led by Dr Joan McLatchie, to support students to benefit from their learning and assessment in subject-specific modules. This module has proved popular with students, gaining 100% satisfaction in module feedback. There are plans to extend this module across the Postgraduate suite of programmes to ensure equal opportunity to students whose academic experience is based in other academic cultures, as part of continuing work to ensure successful adaptation to changes in student demographics.


For undergraduate programmes, partnership with professional services has been invaluable to supporting student focus in the programmes and student experience. Colleagues from Academic Skills, Widening Participation and Student Futures have all contributed, to support the Direct Entry Tutor Dr Ahmed Hassanien in the Countdown to Zero initiative, an optional 4-week, online transition course delivered in August in the lead up to week 0. This course helps students to build social connections with their peers and supports effective engagement with Registration (formerly known as matriculation), module choices, timetables, placement/live project (discussed later), study abroad, and other areas which can be vital to student success in acclimating to their studies. Students facing the challenges and pressure of their final year have been able to benefit from the Wellness for Success initiative with the Student Wellbeing & Inclusion department which aims to address mental health challenges, and support inclusion all the way to the end of their studies. This is a broad yet relevant approach to Student Focus, the central theme of the ENhance framework.

 ENhance curriculum framework. Student Focus is at the centre. This is surrounded by themes of Employability, Inclusion, Global outlook, Sustainability, and Research & Practice integration. Around all of these are 2 cross-cutting themes of Citizenship & Community, and Digital & Information Literacy.


In Undergraduate hospitality programmes, Inclusion is explored in curricula where students discuss inclusive workforce management, employee morale, consumer typologies and cultural awareness with regards to management and industry culture. In the Level 10 International Festival & Events Environments module led by Dr David Jarman, students are introduced to concepts like social capital, civil society, social networks, neoliberalism and access to power. Awareness of these concepts is important for inclusive management in industries which bring together diverse groups of people, whether service industries which are the focus of the module, or indeed in education where students can recognise how these concepts can impact them immediately and engage with this to help reflect on their experience of their learning.


As a mark of the Student Focus theme of ENhance, the programme teams demonstrated that students in their programmes have effective opportunities to provide feedback, and students indicated that lecturers make adjustments and enhancements to modules in session, based on this feedback. Student representatives were often given time in class in the lead up to Student Staff Liaison Committee meetings (SSLCs) to seek input from their peers.


Infographic indicating student opinions on questions about their assessments. The vast majority have given a rating of 3, 4 or 5 out of 5 for their agreement for each statement. Statements include: "My assessments match with what I have learned in class," "My assessments are relevant for my future career," "All my questions regarding exams are answered to my satisfaction," "I get the support I need," " My assessments are well organised," "I have enough time to prepare for each assessment," "Completing my assessments challenges me," "I gain valuable knowledge when preparing for my assessments."

The assessments mentioned in this blog post represent some of the variety of assessment approaches and the applied format of many of these, part of the Student Focus of the programmes. Dr David Jarman and Dr Jane Wilkinson used Strategic Enhancement Project funding from DLTE to work with student co-investigators looking into assessment and feedback practices across the undergraduate programmes, whose main conclusions can be found on the DLTE Hub.


Students in the subject group are given opportunities to take their learning outside of the classroom, such as on site-visits which are made available and accessible to all students, and they are reassured of this, so students are not pre-emptively discouraged from taking part in experiences which can enhance their learning. In the Level 8 Visitor Attraction Management module led by Prof Anna Leask, students examine how visitor attractions can be accessible to a wide range of patrons, not just in physical accessibility such as access to spaces, but considering the needs of senior visitors or those with dementia.


The Level 9 International Tourism Policy and Planning module led by Dr Constantia Anastasiadou then gives students across the UG suite understanding of how residents are affected by gentrification of tourist destinations which can bring economic development but also increase costs for those in the area. As with the Natural Area Tourism module mentioned earlier, these relationships between tourism and local people, supported by effective government policy, are important for the success of these economic development and can inform students to enable them to work in ways which influence sustainability as set out in the UN SDGs. These considerations are applied in the Live Project module, discussed later.


Inclusion in the curriculum continues to be represented in Dr Sarah Snell’s Level 11 Contemporary Issues in Festival and Events module through focus on the Edinburgh Deaf Festival and the LGBTQ+ community. This module appears in the International Festival & Events Management, and International Tourism and Destination Management MSc programmes, ensuring that graduates from ENU will be joining the workforce with the knowledge to enable them to improve equity for diverse tourists, artists and workers in future.

People standing on the steps of the Deaf Action offices, holding bunting and standing in front of a banner for Edinburgh Deaf Festival. One of the people is wearing a black bowler hat, white gloves and a t shirt which says Deaf Mimo.


Along with the industry-informed case studies and site visits which feature throughout programmes in the THFEM subject group, employability is supported through guest speakers from industry, allowing students to develop industry connections and apply their learning. Two thirds of UK-based undergraduate students in the subject group take up 20-24 week work placements in 3rd year, which are arranged through the Student Futures team or by the students themselves.


Those who choose not to undertake a placement, still have connection to industry through the THFEM specific version of the Level 9 Live Project module, led by Dr Afiya Holder, working on projects commissioned with industry partners. Students are given a briefing a year before, which explains how the 40-credit module runs and the supports in place, allowing for informed module choice on whether to undertake a placement which stretches across the summer or opt for the Live Project within Trimester 2. These projects allow students to use the problem-solving skills they have developed through prior case studies and scenarios to tackle a specific issue or strategic challenge the organisation is facing. Teams of students research, formulate, and evaluate a plan of action which is presented in a business report and pitched. Students also carry out a peer-assessment of their team-mates. Students consult with a senior person within the host business throughout the trimester, updating on the progress of their brief. An Academic Tutor in TBS supports the students to develop research skills, plan and manage their project and conduct business meetings/site visits. This all combines to ensure that students develop vital employability skills.


Edinburgh Airport logo.
Historic Environment Scotland logo.

Students have carried out projects for Edinburgh Airport (researching and proposing methods to increase use of Edinburgh as a hub for self-connecting travel) and Historic Environment Scotland (where students have contributed to efforts to improve sustainability of tourism Doune Castle and have presented their findings at an industry workshop alongside representatives from local government and development trusts), as 2 recent examples. These projects have demonstrated: global outlook in drawing comparison to efforts made by other organisations and sites worldwide; citizenship & community and inclusion in drawing out recommendations which support local communities and their economies and benefit a diverse range of visitors; and digital & information literacy in collection and analysis of relevant data to inform their recommendations.


Both PG and UG students take part in activities using simulated businesses as means to develop their employability in applying industry knowledge to running a hospitality and accommodation company. Dr Gavin Urie created the Level 8 Management of Hospitality Systems module in which groups of students develop and run a simulated hotel and restaurant, with consideration of operating methods, quality standards, customer service, as well as pricing and financial control, all of which they must monitor to inform their business strategy, which is demonstrated in a group presentation. Students on the MSc Global Hospitality Management programme undertake the 40-credit Hospitality Strategic Operations module, which was also created by Dr Gavin Urie and has been further developed under the module leadership of Dr Kelsy Hajjas. This module was developed as an alternative to placements during Covid and enables students to individually work with a computer simulation as a platform to apply knowledge and skills to run all aspects of a hotel and restaurant business, including menu engineering and procurement, maintenance, and operational and competitive strategies. This model allows students to reflect on the effectiveness of their decisions within the timeframe of a module, and develop continuous improvement methods to enable ongoing development through their careers. We’re working an ENhance Case Study examining the methods and pedagogy of these modules, and you’ll be able to find this on the ENhance section of the DLTE Intranet site.


One of the major considerations for businesses in the Tourism, Hospitality and Events industry is now sustainability and students are given plenty of opportunities to engage with this theme in learning and assessment through all of these programmes. At level 8 alone, there are 3 modules whose content involves sustainability, namely: Sports Event Tourism; Facilities Planning for Hospitality, Tourism and Events; Tourism Impacts and Sustainable Development. For postgraduate students there are the Natural Area Tourism module mentioned earlier and Dr Gesthimani Moysidou’s Tourism Concepts and Issues.


The Level 8 Sports Event Tourism module, led by Dr Sarah Snell, draws in consideration of large and small sporting events, local and international, and their impact on communities through analysis of real-world case studies, linking to the Citizenship & Community theme as well as Sustainability and Global Outlook. Standalone sporting events, such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup of course require large amounts of resource input from their host countries to meet the requirements of these events, the cost of which can be felt by the populations of the surrounding areas or even further afield, who may travel from afar to work on infrastructure for landmark events. Students proposals of sporting events in assessment ask them to consider these impacts which are present in the UN SDGs, and the process of planning and staging of their sporting event, having examined the impacts of existing Mega Sporting Events during their presentation assessment earlier in the module.

By Level 10, students extend these considerations to Festival and Event Impacts and Sustainability more broadly, such as the legacy of such events and methods to leverage benefits of these events for host communities.


Postgraduate students, through Dr Craig Wight’s Contemporary Issues in Heritage & Cultural Tourism module, consider historical tourism sites, their conservation, management and socio-cultural impact. Guided by current Research & Practice Integration, including guest lectures, case studies and reflecting on their own experiences in international backgrounds, students devise practical solutions to some of the issues presented in a case study site or organisation of their choice, and how those issues influence tourism management presently and in future. Relating to both built and natural heritage sites, these assessments consider progress against the UN SDGs at environmental and cultural levels.


The variety of applications of the themes of ENhance shows how these are embedded into the programmes and the value these themes have for these programmes. Dr David Jarman has spoken with DLTE’s Dr Cameron Graham on how these themes represent the identity of the International Festival & Event Management Programme, and this represents our goals for ENhance, to highlight the various interpretations of each theme in subject areas across the university. If the interpretations presented here relate to your programme, we encourage you to reach out to the colleagues whose work is involved and make use of their successes to streamline your own, or to share your own work and how this may have benefit for them.


If you’d like to share your practice more widely, we encourage you to reach out to us at if you would like to present an ENhance workshop or contribute in any format to an ENhance Case Study.

ENhance Case Study header. Coloured circles representing the colours of the ENhance themes, a gold circle for Student Focus and a gold ring for the cross-cutting themes.

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