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July 16, 2024

Dr. Rolando Herts

Named Tourism RESET 

Research Fellow

Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning and executive director of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area at Delta State University, was recently named a Tourism RESET Research Fellow.

“The coordinators of the Tourism RESET initiative are honored to list Dr. Herts among its Research Fellows,” said Dr. Derek Alderman, founder of Tourism RESET and Professor of Geography at the University of Tennessee. “He joins a multidisciplinary team of publicly engaged and highly published scholars at the leading edge of analyzing and challenging social injustices in tourism and enhancing travel as a tool of racial reconciliation.

 “Dr. Herts is a highly anticipated addition to Tourism RESET given his nationally prominent reputation for cultivating university-community partnerships, working with federal agencies, and developing inclusive heritage education and tourism. He will be an important collaborator and role model for other RESET—affiliated researchers studying African American history and culture. Moreover, we believe that Tourism RESET can provide scholarly innovations and professional networks that can support and further enhance the excellent work of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area—both of which Dr. Herts ably directs,” said Alderman. 

Through support from the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mississippi Development Authority, and an array of other national and regional partners, Herts has led various cultural heritage development initiatives aimed at stimulating racial and social justice in Mississippi Delta tourism including the Delta Jewels Oral History Partnership, the Most Southern Place on Earth workshop for K-12 educators, the Spirit of the Blues project, and Delta Delegation to Brazil. As an Alliance of National Heritage Areas board member, he led authorship of the organization’s diversity, equity, and inclusion position paper “Racial Equity, Community Empowerment, and Social Cohesion: Sociocultural Impacts of National Heritage Areas.”

Tourism RESET is a multi-university and interdisciplinary research and outreach initiative that seeks to identify, study, and challenge patterns of social inequity in the tourism industry. Tourism RESET provides a community for scholars, educators and industry professionals to collaborate on and exchange ideas around race, ethnicity, and social equity in tourism. In addition, Tourism RESET focuses on human trafficking in hospitality, animal welfare in tourism, inclusion of people with disabilities, and the continuing power issues related to gender in economically developing and developed contexts.