Jeff Prusinowski knows just about everybody on his casino floor. The former dealer is now Treasure Bay's Vice President of Casino Operations. But in Prusinowski's mind, being a vice president isn't good enough. There's more he'd like to learn about running a resort.
"I have got a saying," he said. "If I can learn something from somebody, and they proved to be successful, until I reach that level, I'm going to glean whatever I can from that individual."
Prusinowski took Tulane's first casino management class. Starting in January, the Edgewater Mall campus will offer an entire college curriculum devoted to casino resort management.
Rick Marksbury is the University College dean who helped develop the program.
"These aren't how to classes," he told the media during a news conference to introduce the curriculum. "These aren't training classes. These are solid academic classes that have a theoretical base and an applied practical application."
Casino executives worked with Tulane to develop the associate degree in casino resort management program.
Bernie Burkholder is with Treasure Bay. He believes education can be the catalyst to move local residents into prominent casino positions.
"It's difficult to do that without the adequate training that a college can bring," he said.
Dean Marksbury said that was why his university spent 18 months building the casino resort management curriculum.
"What we're trying to do is give people an opportunity to better themselves," the dean said, "move up, get better paying jobs, move up in management. And to do that, they need a foundation."
Jeff Prusinowski will take advantage of that opportunity when the casino resort management program begins next semester. He said his goal is to "be the first one to actually graduate from the program."
Tulane's University College at Edgewater Mall is not part of the Mississippi college system. That's why it's allowed to teach the casino resort management courses.