Visiting Professors Create Cross-Cultural Connections


By: Natasha Fly

Professors from universities in Thailand and China are visiting BGSU to exchange and build on ideas for teaching and research. The international exchange provides visiting professors, students, faculty and staff with invaluable opportunities to collaborate while constructing new methodologies.

BGSU faculty members Dr. Gabriel Matney, associate professor of mathematics education, and Dr. Lan Li, associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development, coordinated the visits.

BEEG0612Li organized the visits for three of the professors from China. They include Chen Feng of Wuhan University of Technology, Ping Wang of Northwest University of Political Science and Law and Dongting Pan from the Hunan Institute of Science and Technology.

“The primary purpose of these academic visits is to exchange ideas and experiences that improve the educational experience for students in both countries,” Li said. “The presence of faculty from other institutions works to improve our knowledge in specific fields while enriching students’ learning experiences. In addition to sitting in on classes and conducting their own research, the visiting faculty participate in a number of academic activities.”

Throughout their visit, the professors conduct collaborative research with BGSU faculty, provide seminars, workshops, and professional development to interested faculty, staff and students. They also facilitate communication and possible collaborations between BGSU and their home institutions.

The fourth visiting professor, Dr. Yupadee Panarach, has worked with Matney in the past at her home institution in Thailand, Kamphaeng Phet Rajabhat University (KPRU). In 2011, Matney travelled to KPRU and during his visit heard a talk Panarach gave about teaching mathematics in English.

“Dr. Panarach gave a talk at that time about the mathematics camps that her students were doing for the local schools,” Matney said. “Upon hearing about these camps, I created an international research project to explore mathematics camps in mathematics education programs.”

Just two years later, Matney began taking BGSU students on educational trips to Thailand. In addition to the visits abroad, Matney began working with his students to develop math camps that could be brought to the Bowling Green community.

BEEG0605During her visit, Panarach will look at how mathematics education programs are implemented at BGSU and in local schools. Part of her time here will be dedicated to schools in Toledo and Sandusky city where she will have the opportunity to interact with a variety of students. She will also be spending time on an international research project with Matney involving pre-service teachers efficacy and mathematics camps.

“Dr. Panarach will also visit BGSU courses in the mathematics department and the School of Teaching and Learning to consider content that might improve her university’s mathematics teaching program,” Matney said. “She will also give talks here at BGSU to the Bowling Green council of Teachers and Mathematics about her Action Research Process to improve mathematics camps.”

Visiting professors are essential to forging and maintaining a strong connection between universities, while also providing students with an engaging and evolving learning environment.