Doug Cliff: Guiding Camosun’s Hospitality Management Program for over 20 Years

In 1989, Doug Cliff found his dream job at Camosun College in his home town of Victoria. The job description made him think that it was one for which he had been preparing most of his life.

After many years working in demanding management positions in hotels across Canada and the U.S., Doug was ready for the challenge. When the Instructor position in Hospitality Management became available at Camosun, Doug was living in Toronto.

“I was more or less on the next plane for an interview”, he recalls. He was aware that Albert van Citters and his team had built an excellent program that was highly respected in the community. Doug’s wealth of experience plus the fact that he was willing to quickly take on the Chair’s role, sealed the deal.

Doug Cliff led Camosun’s Hospitality Management Program from 1989-2010

Under Doug’s leadership, supported by the School of Business, the program grew in strength until it had a two-year waiting list. Students were attracted by the focus on applied learning as well as the two co-op terms (summer and winter) with placements in top-flight hotels in the Canadian Rockies and Europe (primarily in the UK or Switzerland).

Running the Dunlop House restaurant and a student pub with its attendant problems of customer service, food safety, student safety and liquor regulations provided great learning opportunities. Thanks to Doug’s supportive teaching team, the program enjoyed very low attrition and high graduation rates which made it secure during times of budget cuts.

The program has always worked closely with industry assuring that it meets changing industry needs.

During Doug’s tenure, as well, the program gained direct entry for graduates into third year B.Com. at UVic. This increased the popularity of the program and allowed for articulation with many other universities.

Doug’s team also developed an Open University degree. Recalling his time at Camosun, Doug says: “I didn’t just like my job, I LOVED it!”

Hospitality Management Team at the time of Doug’s retirement in 2010
Doug Cliff, Lee Aitchison, Gerhard Leupelt, Karen Nightingale,
David Armstrong, Rebecca Wilson-Mah, Carl Everitt

Story by Faye Ferguson, CCARE Retiree

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