“Teaching Makes Me Feel Happy and Young”

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Zhidan (Diana) Duan

If you happen to spot someone cruising through campus on a scooter, you may be seeing one of our college’s newest faculty hires, Zhidan (Diana) Duan.  With an extensive background on China and Southeast Asia, Professor Duan is being warmly welcomed into the History Department this fall.

Professor Duan will be teaching both Migration in Modern China (HIST 390R) and World Civilizations from 1800 to Present (HIST 202).  She says, of teaching: “My favorite part is that I don’t age when I teach.  I mean, teaching and the interactions with my students keep me updated with new ideas, knowledge, and young people.  That makes me feel happy and young.”
Being raised in China herself, Professor Duan has an interest in the migration, borderlands, and ethnic economy of China and Southeast Asia.  She received her first PhD degree in Modern Chinese history from Renmin University of China in 2008 and then received another PhD degree in Asian history at Arizona State University in 2015.
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Forbidden City, Beijing, China
In addition to her academic pursuits, Professor Duan explains, “I like a lot of outdoor sports and activities.  I like to go on road trips,  watch movies, and take photographs.”  Duan was also baptized into the LDS church in 2006 in Southern California.
Concerning her students this upcoming semester, Professor Duan says:
“I expect them to read, think, and interact.  Coming to the class without reading before and after is the least efficient way of studying because you have to spend a lot of extra time to get to know what is going on and catching up.  Studying without thinking and being creative makes the whole process boring and less effective.  Coming to the class without interacting with others is an inactive way of seeking and internalizing new knowledge.  You become isolated.  You are deprived of the opportunities of team work, teaching, comparing and contrasting your own ideas with others’, and you might improve not as fast as you expect to.”
Pictures courtesy of Flickr.

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