After completing my Ph.D. in Information Systems from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2008, I began my academic journey in China as an Assistant Professor at Fudan University. When I learned about opportunities at UNNC back in 2018, I must confess I hesitated at first, but then I visited the campus, I was totally captivated. The environment is particularly ideal to further my pursuits in the long term: an open and diverse place, with low hierarchy, where faculty members engage with one another in a spirit of mutual respect.

Shortly after joining UNNC, I recognised the need to shift my teaching approach toward greater interactivity, focusing on nurturing students’ critical thinking abilities. Fortunately, I was in the right place: my colleagues were always willing to share their experiences and knowledge, and this made my development and adaptation a lot faster.

Their support was also paramount to developing my research, which often involves complex field experiments. Whenever I face challenges in meeting these requirements, the university and my colleagues always support me with both resources and even ideas, contributing to results that are nothing short of outstanding.

Thanks to the help I have received, I achieved not only the title of Ningbo’s Pan-3315 Innovative Individual Talent but also secured the National Natural Science Foundation of China Fund for International Scientists (Category III). This recognition acknowledges senior scholars for their exceptional academic achievements and significant international influence. It’s quite an honour!

As an illustration of the support I found at UNNC, it’s worth telling a quick story. I vividly recall an instance shortly after I joined UNNC when I fell ill with a cold and could not fulfil my teaching obligations. It might even sound like something trivial, but the kindness shown by my colleagues, who offered to bring me medicine, was deeply moving. Under the guidance of my department head at that time, my teaching activities were taken over by colleagues who helped voluntarily. This was my first encounter with the nurturing, people-centred culture at UNNC.

All this led me to adopt the same approach as a department head. Now, I can pay it forward by mentoring junior faculty members, offering them guidance in conducting high-quality research and teaching, and balancing the various aspects of academia. It’s like completing a circle every day, from receiving support to giving support — an incredibly fulfilling and unparalleled experience.

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