- Post Doctoral Fellow (the Institute of Urban and Regional Development), 1990, University of California at Berkeley
- PhD (City and Regional Planning), 1989, University of California at Berkeley
- MRP (Regional Planning), 1986, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- BS (Geography), 1982, Beijing Normal University
Inspirations and aspirations
Born into a scholarly family, I was initially inspired by my parents, a high school math teacher mom and a chemical engineer dad, to be a teacher with a single and noble ambition to share the wealth of knowledge with younger generations. Privileged later in my life to study under some of the world’s finest professors in geography, landscape architecture, urban and regional planning who are not only erudite teachers but also topnotch researchers, I was motivated to be a scholar with a dual and still noble ambition to further and share knowledge through research and teaching. Four decades into my academic career, I was recently impelled to be a scholar-practitioner with a triple and even greater ambition to generate useful knowledge, share the intellectual wealth, and influence socio-ecological practice through practice research and teaching. My role models are ecophronetic scholar-practitioners in socio-ecological practice research who advanced rigorous knowledge that benefits practitioners and enlightens scholars.
Current scholarly interests and activities
My current research activities are in the emerging area of ecopracticology—the study of socio-ecological practice (https://doi.org/10.1007/s42532-019-00006-6), my scholarly-service activities are focused on editing a newly founded international journal Socio-Ecological Practice Research (https://www.springer.com/journal/42532).
My present teaching activities include offering three classes: Spatial think in science and practice; Resilience thinking in urban and regional planning; and Ecosystem services practice research for planning and design.
Past scholarly experience
I joined the Geography and Earth Sciences faculty at UNC Charlotte in 1990, and have taught classes in Geographic Information Science, landscape and urban planning, and sustainability science. I was the PI or Co-PI of about 50 research projects that were funded by various local, state, and federal governmental agencies as well as private organizations.
I was a research fellow at a number of research institutions and programs, including the Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IURD) at the University of California at Berkeley, USA; the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, USA; the Oxford Scenarios Program (OSP) at the University of Oxford, UK; Shanghai Key Laboratory for Urban Ecological Processes and Eco-Restoration, the East China Normal university, China; the Robert Black College at the University of Hong Kong; and the Socio-Ecological Practice Research Center at Tongji University, China.
I was the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Landscape and Urban Planning (LAND) from 2011 to 2018, and became the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Socio-Ecological Practice Research (SEPR) in 2019.
Other passion beside scholarly pursuit
What would I be doing if I were not a professor? A trilingual yoga teacher.
I take my greatest professional pride in the students that I had the privilege to teach and/or work with. I served as academic adviser of over 60 graduate students who successfully completed their degrees. Many former students (undergraduate and graduate) who took my classes and/or worked with me started their careers in the areas of landscape and urban planning, GIS, and geography in both public and private sectors across the country and around the world. Many of them stayed on and moved up.
I am fortunate and proud to be able to work with colleagues in many other disciplines in the U.S. and from around the world. My collaborators include scholars from academic fields of landscape planning and design, computer science, information technology, sociology, philosophy, ecology, economics, civil and environmental engineering, and mathematics.