From Navy Officer to Professor
Faculty Spotlight: Andrew O. Coggins, Jr.
Management and Management Science Department
We sat down for a Q&A with Dr. Andrew Coggins of the Management and Management Science Department, who joined Pace 12 years ago. We learned about his naval career, research interests, teaching style, and how he became an international expert within the cruise/maritime industry.
My interest is in the cruise industry, which falls within the tourism industry. I could have studied the industry from a historical or financial perspective, but management includes operations and current issues.
My PhD and previous teaching experience was in Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) and HTM is a concentration within the Management Department. I also chose Lubin/Pace because I was returning to the U.S. from teaching in Hong Kong and wanted to be close to my aging father in White Plains. In addition, I knew Professor Claudia Green, PhD, from my time at Virginia Tech.
What are your research interests/areas?
Travel and tourism management, focusing on the cruise industry, transportation, hospitality design, the maritime industry
Why is it important to advance research in this area or these areas?
The hospitality industry is the world's largest or second largest industry and people need to be aware of it. Almost everything we eat, use, wear—or their raw materials—have at some point in the process traveled on ships. The maritime industry makes our lifestyle possible and most people are unaware of this.
Almost everything we eat, use, wear—or their raw materials—have at some point in the process traveled on ships. The maritime industry makes our lifestyle possible.
What do students learn in your classroom?
All of my classes feature team projects and a presentation. When possible, I try to give my students a chance express creativity through projects, like converting a brownstone into a hotel or restaurant or planning a cruise out of New York City and designing its brochure. When the project involves in-depth reporting on specific companies, I bring in a librarian to teach how to conduct research on Pace's business databases.
Discuss your professional path and its impact on how you teach and what you teach.
I am a retired U.S. Navy Commander with sea-going, international, and diplomatic service. I am also a cancer survivor. Overall, I bring a different perspective to the classroom. My teaching style is relatively laid-back with a heavy focus on learning versus grades. I work hard to ensure my students learn and successfully complete the course.
What are some challenges you had to overcome to get to where you are today?
Challenges I had to overcome were: learning to swim, being an African-American naval officer in the 1970s, successfully completing the Admiral Staff's course at the German Armed Forces Staff College in Hamburg, completing my MSM at Boston University Brussels while working full time, establishing myself as a well-respected expert within the cruise/maritime industry, completing my PhD after I left the Navy with a daughter at a private liberal arts college, and battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Of which triumph are you most proud?
I am most proud of my family, the students I've helped over the years, my Honor Cross in Silver from Germany, my dissertation—"What makes a passenger ship a legend?," and being awarded Best International Paper by Internationale Tourismusboerse Berlin (ITB), the world's largest annual travel trade fair, in 2006.
What is the single most important lesson you'd like to impart to your students?
Perseverance. Be like a ship in a storm: Keep going—even if you have to slow down, keep going, don't sink!
What does #LubinLife mean to you?
Working at Lubin means working with fantastic students. I love the diversity of the student body and being able to help my students achieve their dreams.
You are an internationally known cruise industry expert whose expertise has been called on by major media outlets, including MSNBC, The New York Times, and NPR. From where does your passion for the industry emanate?
I have loved ships as far back as I can remember. My father and three of my grandparents came to this country on ships. My maternal grandmother even made two transatlantic crossings during WWI. I guess it runs in the family. I love all ships, but I am most passionate about passenger ships. I guess this is because I like people.
Courses Dr. Coggins teaches:
BUS 101: Contemporary Business Practice; MGT 150: Managerial and Organizational Concepts; MGT 208: Travel and Tourism Management; MGT 306: Service Quality Management; MGT 307: Hotel Management; MGT 310: Safety and Security in Hospitality; MGT 311: Hospitality Facilities Design and Management; MGT 313: Cruise Industry Management; MGT 340: International Management; MGT 393: Hospitality Internship; MGT 394A: Management Internship; and UNV 101: Introduction to University Life.