Students find carnival amusement in class

Kiana Roppe

Roller coasters, Disney parks, festivals and fried

food are just some of the fun topics explored in a new class at

Iowa State, “Attractions and Amusement Park Administration.”

This class is offered by the College of Human

Sciences in the hotel restaurant and management department and is

open to all ISU students, regardless of major. It is worth three

credits and meets twice a week for an hour and 20 minutes. It is

currently being offered on an experimental basis.

Thomas Schrier, assistant professor of hospitality

management, originally created the class when he worked at the

University of Nevada, Las Vegas. After conducting research with

campus surveys, he found that many students were interested and

thought the class was needed to fill a void in their education.

“It’s not just a Walt Disney class,” Schrier said.

“There are other theme parks than just Disney.”

After teaching at Iowa State for a couple years,

Schrier went through the steps to create and structure the class so

that students may find ‘amusement’ while learning valuable


Even though Disney World is the largest, most famous

and most researched amusement park, Schrier teaches about a wide

variety of amusement parks and attractions. Schrier leads daily

discussion on current events, including how park operators would

deal with a visit from President Obama.

“[The class] compounds a lot of information,” said

Jing Yang, a first year Ph.D. student in hospitality


The class is composed of lecture, discussion,

projects, guest speakers and even class trips to see a true

amusement park or attraction. Possible attractions include water

parks, aquatic centers and family entertainment complexes.

The goal is to provide students with a basic

understanding of the elements within a theme park like operation,

marketing, landscaping and security.

“It helps open our eyes and broaden the way we look

at our future employment opportunities,” said Kent Kramp, a senior

in hotel, restaurant and institution management.

Schrier said he anticipates the course will be

offered next year and welcomes any student who is interested in the

field to sign up.

The “Attractions and Amusement Park Administration”

course is graded and geared towards learning but that does not mean

students do not enjoy themselves.

“We get to use “Roller Coaster Tycoon,” so that’s

definitely a plus.” said Farah Ishaq, junior in hospitality

management and event management.