Faculty of CNM: Heidi Laughlin

Heidi won the 2020-2021 part-time CNM Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year Award in the School of Business & Information Technology and is known for her commitment to adaptive teaching and her love of the tourism and hospitality industry
February 10, 2021

When Heidi Laughlin joined CNM nearly five years ago she brought an enormous amount of experience with her. She was hired to teach Hospitality and Tourism classes and had spent the previous 15 years opening and managing large restaurants and hotels across the country. 

“That industry is in my blood and always will be,” she says.

At CNM she immediately jumped in into her classes. For example, along with Donna Akers and Victoria Martinez, she helped lead a new program that now allows employees at Isleta Casino to receive their associate in Hospitality and Tourism while keeping their job and providing future leadership for the pueblo. She also started teaching classes online, went through the Online Teaching and Learning certificate program, and was eventually asked by the Distance Learning program to help in the development of online curriculum. 

This commitment to her students and the future of CNM is why she was named the 2020-2021 part-time CNM Distinguished Faculty Member of the Year Award in the School of Business & Information Technology.

“I’m really proud of the award, and have been really fortunate to be able to work in several amazing programs here at CNM,” Heidi says.

Today, Heidi is not only part-time in BIT but also holds a full-time position in Distance Learning where she’s helped with everything from the online COVID-19 transition to the implementation of Brightspace. In her role as a part-time instructor in Hospitality and Tourism, she’s thinking a lot about the future of this industry that’s been hit hard by the pandemic. 

“Unfortunately there are a lot of people in hospitality and tourism who are out of work as a result of COVID-19, but I have been in this industry for a long time and what I do know is that people are always going to want the luxuries of service,” she says. “People will always want to go out to dinner and stay at a nice hotel and I believe strongly that the economy will bounce back here in New Mexico and across the country.”

In some ways, Heidi says the industry will have new and exciting opportunities once the pandemic is over. She and other instructors have watched as the industry has adapted with things like faceless check-ins and new ways to order food. There are also all kinds of room to explore how robotics and other technology will make both restaurants and hotels more convenient and comfortable going forward.

“I haven’t seen people shying away from the industry, I’ve just seen them getting more creative,” she says. “And I’m excited to find ways all these new approaches can benefit our students.”