Connecting My Passion of Planning to a Discipline: An Interview with Adam Keul
In order to better understand one discipline within my interdisciplinary degree, I was fortunate enough to meet with Professor Adam Keul, Assistant Professor of Tourism Management and Policy. I chose to interview Professor Keul because of the enlightenment I might find hearing from a professional who has dealt with the tourism industry and studied the industry. As an Event Management concentration, I find hospitality to be a very important part of the tourism industry as a whole.
Talking with Professor Keul, I found out that we came from completely different backgrounds. Although he teaches all Tourism courses, he studied Geography as a discipline and part of a multi-disciplinary degree. Professor Keul’s Master’s degree is an interdisciplinary degree in Geography, History, and Forestry, and then continued in Geography with his PhD although his PhD was concentrated in cultural geography or, in other words, tourism geography.
We continued to discuss his research which currently entailed a trip to Colorado this past summer to study cannabis tourism with fellow Plymouth State professor, Bryon Eisenhauer. When further discussing his research and career, I asked him what his favorite part about his work. Professor Keul replied:
“My favorite part about my research is just learning about places, I mean, that’s why I am a geography because I love to learn about places and I love places, so since tourism is about selling places, it’s a perfect fit for a geographer, somebody that loves places.”
Hearing this come from a professional already in my field of interest, just increases my interest and reaffirms my certainty in my major of Event Management. When asked about whether a lot of geography is incorporated into a tourism degree Professor Keul replied that geography is the second most influential discipline behind business on the tourism degrees. We continued to discuss how multiple disciplines have influences on various majors as well as interact with one another in the professional sense as well.
Me: “In what ways do you work with other scholars outside of your field, other than, obviously, research?”
Professor Keul: “Yeah, I mean, that and then, well outside of geography, I interact with everybody else around here that’s not geographers, which you only have a few geographers. So like I’m writing the cannabis tourism piece with Bryon who’s a sociologist, so there’s that, but then there’s like the trials of the occupation itself. So like meeting other people who are academics, I can talk about things like program development, attracting majors, grad school, undergrad education, things that aren’t specific to my discipline. In the same way that you were a plumber you could talk to an electrician about all kinds of things that you share that aren’t necessarily just about you two getting together and building a house. That might be the metaphor of the day.”
This metaphor struck home with me in the sense of explaining how multiple disciplines can work together to build something that incorporates elements of both disciplines, like an interdisciplinary major does. When having this great conversational interview with Professor Keul, I realized that although we come from very different backgrounds, him as a very highly educated geographer with experience in what seems to be almost everything and then there is me who has had very limited experience in the tourism industry other than being an unaware consumer, there are many elements from various disciplines that we are both very open to learn about in order to better ourselves educationally and professionally. Talking with Professor Keul about his very interdisciplinary education throughout the higher educational experience has confirmed that an interdisciplinary education is one of the best ways to become a well-rounded individual professionally, educationally, emotionally, and social.