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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?I was a professor in geography at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., about 60 miles west of downtown Chicago.
What brought you to LSU?The Modern Chinese Commerce and Culture Initiative, or “China Initiative.” Under the initiative, eight new faculty hires were made in 2006 and 2007 - four in the College of Arts & Sciences and four in the E. J. Ourso College of Business. I was one of the eight, coming on board in August of 2007.
What is your research interest?My work includes urban and regional development in China; spatial and economic structure of cities; job access, commuting and disadvantaged population groups; crime patterns; and health care access, health policy and cancer. My research methods include Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, spatial statistics and computational methods.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?I hope to help this China program get going. In less than two years, we already have 14 students enrolled in the Chinese Culture and Commerce minor. On academic exchanges, we are sending students and faculty to China and getting students and faculty from China. We have a group of very talented and motivated faculty with research and teaching interests in China. The students certainly share the same excitement, given the rapid growth in our minor. So, I am optimistic for the program, even in this economic climate. As a teacher, I want to motivate and inspire my students. For research, I think of it in terms of projects. I need to wrap up a couple of ongoing projects and I have ideas for four to five new projects. If all get funded, I will be occupied for 15-plus years. What is after that? The big R-word.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?LSU has a beautiful campus and I have wonderful colleagues. I have also enjoyed great working relationship with the deans in our college. Since I was in Chicago for 11 years, I cannot complain about the weather here. I am an outdoor person, so I will take three seasons without winter any time.
What are your major accomplishments?Like any professor, I have written proposals to ask for money, including projects funded by the NSF, NIH, NIJ and HUD; I have published more than 50 papers and two books to show my work; and I “profess” in the classroom. Outside of the office, I help my wife raise three energetic kids and garden in my spare time. I find it very rewarding. Plants change and respond to your investment in care and time, very much like children to loving parents and students to a caring teacher. No wonder we Chinese call teachers “gardeners”. I am a gardener inside out.