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  • Duong Nha Van

Professor Tsung Jen Shih of IMICS Received NCCU Teaching Excellence Awards

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

On September 28th 2020, Tsung Jen Shih, professor of the International Master’s Program in International Communication Studies (IMICS) from National Chengchi University (NCCU) was awarded as the NCCU Excellent Instructor.

As the only officially affiliated professor of the IMICS program for over 10 years, professor Shih’s influence and contribution runs deep within NCCU. Among students, he has established a reputation for dedication, open discussion and expertise, especially in the science communication field, which the majority of his research work is about.

In honor of this important milestone, we have arranged a short interview session with professor to share his story upon receiving the award and his teaching experience.

First of all, congratulations on your achievement! How does it feel to be awarded as the NCCU Excellent Instructor?

To be honest with you, it was a mix of emotion between surprise, uneasiness and happiness. I’m surprised because during the application period, I’ve never thought of being chosen as the recipient for the award. I’m uneasy because there are a lot more qualified professors than me. But I’m also very happy because this recognition marks an important milestone in my teaching career.

Most PhD graduates were trained as researchers, not lecturers. Therefore, research is already in my nature, but teaching is something I have to learn and I am still learning right now through various teaching workshops and senior teaching classes.

Now that you mention teaching, why did you decide to come to NCCU and work for IMICS?

When I was pursuing my PhD degree in the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I was a research assistant for a professor on nanotechnology, which is closely related to my research field in science communication. When I came back to Taiwan, nanotechnology seems to me an understudied subject. That’s why I want to contribute more in this field, and NCCU is the best place to do that.

Apart from the fact that NCCU is one of the most prestigious universities in Taiwan for communication study, I chose to come back here because this is where I graduated from.

What would be the most important aspect to you when teaching?

For graduate students, the most important thing would be understanding the basic principles and the first experience, especially during the first semester because it sets the foundation for their research work in the long run. That’s why I feel extremely rewarding once I see students gradually gaining confidence and are able to conduct research on their own.

Is there any difficulty that you face when teaching the IMICS program?

I believe that in recent years there has been a shift in the education system. I think it not only applies for IMICS, but also graduate programs in general. In the past, most people come to graduate programs for research purposes. But now, graduate programs are regarded as the second stage of college with more diverse ways to graduate.

This not only affect the way students learn but the way professors teach as well. It is a challenge for us to adapt to the new trend, especially for someone like me who has been in the research field for such a long time. But as I said, I am always open for opportunities and I am trying my best to adapt right now.

Any future plan you are having for IMICS?

Well, I will still be here that’s for sure *laughs*. Teaching is a continuous process and we get to meet different students every year so I’m excited for what’s coming up next in this journey. I also have plans to attend more classes and workshops on teaching to apply more creative ways to engage the students.

Author: Duong Nha Van / IMICS 109

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