The Hill Family Is Alive with the Sound of Music

PROVO, Utah – Sep 23, 2022 – At the BYU Marriott School of Business, seniors are not the only ones looking for a final project. After teaching at BYU Marriott for 23 years, experience design management professor Brian Hill started searching for a culminating capstone to his career. Although he is not sure when he will retire, the possibility is on his mind as he decides the next step in his career. As part of that pursuit, Hill applied for and received a Fulbright scholarship to teach at the University of Salzburg in Austria.

As a result, Hill and his wife, Karen, will live in Austria, the setting for the film The Sound of Music, for four months in spring 2023. “I’ve been on 10 study abroad trips with BYU, but there is something different about settling into a new country for an extended period of time,” Hill says.

When Hill started to look into the Fulbright scholarship, he knew Austria had a strong history of working with Fulbright scholars. “I have a colleague in Austria who is active in experience design, and I started talking with her about the possibility of coming to her department,” Hill says.

As part of Hill’s Fulbright scholarship, he will work with the University of Salzburg to strengthen the ExDM field in Europe through teaching, sharing research, collaborating with faculty members, and visiting neighboring countries’ professional ExDM organizations to build connections.

“I’m excited to teach graduate student classes in the University of Salzburg’s tourism department and its experience design program,” Hill shares. He will also coteach an ExDM case study course with a faculty member at the university to help students design and execute a large-scale event.

“At BYU Marriott, I've taught the same class for eight years, but in Austria I’ll be teaching new classes with brand-new content,” Hill explains. “I’m comfortable lecturing and working with students, but teaching new content for the first time in a while is going to be a challenge.”

Despite his apprehension, Hill knows his time teaching at BYU Marriott has prepared him for this new opportunity. “I’ve become better over time at designing activities and assignments that are tailored to student learning,” Hill observes. “So I'll lean more into student-led learning than lecturing.”

One aspect of teaching internationally Hill looks forward to is the unique class schedule at the University of Salzburg. "Students have semester-long classes, but they also have what we might call ‘block classes,’” Hill explains. “They might take two classes that only run for four weeks but meet for three hours a day for a more concentrated course. Then they’ll move on to the next set of classes.”

This structure gives him more flexibility than a traditional schedule would, Hill says, allowing him and his wife to explore the country more fully. In addition to his teaching, Hill is excited to fulfill a lifetime goal of skiing in the Alps.

“My daughter is trying to convince me to buy an Ikon pass here in Utah because there is a ski resort an hour away from Salzburg that is included in the season pass,” Hill says. “I can ski in Utah before I leave and then ski in Austria when I arrive. Then I can cross ‘skiing in the Alps’ off my bucket list!”

Besides shredding some fresh powder, Hill is looking forward to friends and family visiting him and his wife. The couple has been to Salzburg a few times, and some of their favorite attractions are The Sound of Music sites. Hill remembers taking a tour where he biked to many of the sets where the movie was filmed, and he’s excited to show his family members around.

Intertwined with Hill’s anticipation is his gratitude for the opportunity to be a Fulbright scholar. “This experience in Austria is exactly what I was looking for when I first started thinking about a capstone,” he says.

ExDM professor Brian Hill was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the University of Salzburg in Austria. (Photo courtesy of Brian Hill)
ExDM professor Brian Hill was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the University of Salzburg in Austria. Photo courtesy of Brian Hill.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Liesel Allen