St. Thomas University (STU) will offer courses in fashion merchandising this fall through its Gus Machado College of Business, with plans of launching a bachelor’s degree program in fashion merchandising next year. University officials said that its location in South Florida drove the decision to launch the program. Several retailers are headquartered in South Florida, including Perry Ellis International, Intradeco, Eberjey, Chewy, UA Brands, Vertical Textiles, and Docril Fabrics.
“Every new program we add at St. Thomas University is going to be in direct response to the needs of the community,” STU President David A. Armstrong, J.D., said. “We know that employers in South Florida currently have hundreds of positions open that could be filled by fashion merchandising graduates, and the job market for retail buyers is projected to grow nearly 10 percent over the next 5 years.”
Ashlee Rzyczycki will lead the fashion merchandising program for St. Thomas University. Rzyczycki previously served as a professor in fashion merchandising at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Penn. and has also taught fashion merchandising at The Ohio State University and University of Kentucky. She earned a B.A. in fashion merchandising from Mercyhurst University and a M.A. in clothing, textiles and interiors from University of Akron.
“There is strong demand from students for this program, and strong demand from employers for its graduates,” Rzyczycki said. “Miami is becoming a well-recognized fashion mecca not only in the United States but also in a global context. Miami is host to a large variety of fashion events, including Miami Fashion Week, Miami Swim Week, Apparel Textile Sourcing (ATS), and various apparel and textile trade shows. These events provide an abundance of experiential learning opportunities, including internships, which can be integrated into the course curriculum. ”
The program is currently pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. For more information, contact Ashlee Rzyczycki at ARzyczycki@stu.edu.