Global Spotlight: Pin Ng Reaches Out to Rural Taiwan

Posted: Tuesday, April 21st 2015 at 10:37 AM

While on sabbatical during the Fall 2014 semester, Pin Ng, professor of economics, traveled to Asia where he conducted research, attended conferences, and lectured at universities.

Ng received a grant from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation which helped cover his travel expenses. Working with Alan Lew, Asian Studies professor in the Geography department, Ng helped develop a project about sustainability and resilience to disturbance and change in rural Taiwan communities.

“We met for a week with our partners in Taiwan to set up workshops so we agreed upon the definitions of sustainability and resilience then we finalized the questionnaires that we used to survey community leaders and set up visits to three communities,” Ng explained.

Each of the communities they visited had a different tourism attraction. The first location they went to was WuWei Gang where their bird sanctuary brought tourists. The second stop was in Tao Mi, where 23 out of the 25 frog species in Taiwan can be found. The last community was Rui Li. This area is known for the purple flowers that bloom there even though they’re not local.

With these draws, it’s important to determine how the communities will be handling the increasing environmental and social impacts that they bring.

Ng and Lew conducted their surveys with community leaders in the three locations to determine what they already understood about sustainable practices and resiliency and how prepared they are with disaster management.

Ng then traveled to Malaysia to conduct similar research with a faculty member and his students there. Data from rural communities in Malaysia is still being gathered by the students with a modified questionnaire from Taiwan to fit the communities in Malaysia. The end goal is to compare the data from the two countries. 

“We’re going to make another trip this coming summer [to Taiwan] to actually interview more community leaders,” Ng said. “The trip that we made last fall was a pilot study just to explore the places, see whether they were appropriate for our studies, and interview the leaders to test out our work.”

He was also able to lecture at several universities in China while on sabbatical and present some of his work at two conferences.

As part of their lecturer series, the Center for International Education (CIE) had arranged for him to lecture at one of NAU’s partner universities, the Guangdong University of Finance and Economics, where he talked to the students there about statistics and the principles of economics. He lectured there for five days and then gave three lectures at Anhui University on econometrics.

His travels gave him the opportunity to share his research with people in other parts of the world with similar interests. In Wuhu, he presented at the International Tourism Branding and Communication Conference and then in East Malaysia, he spoke at the International Conference on Tourism Research.

His experiences in Asia allowed him to work with a different group of people while helping to develop a plan to prepare the rural communities of Taiwan and Malaysia for possible sudden changes in both social and environmental aspects as tourism continues to grow.

Learn more about Ng HERE

This article is part of a series on FCB Business Division and SHRM faculty and staff to highlight the international experience within the college and to promote our globalization initiatives, including the launch of the Global Business Program (GBP). Information on this program can be found HERE.

Categories: global faculty spotlight global spotlight pin ng spring 2015 2015 faculty chiang ching-kuo foundation global spotlight: pin ng reaches out to rural taiwan