Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst. Professor Dr. Steven A. Martin

Author, educator, filmmaker

Asst. Professor of Asian Studies in Sociology and Anthropology at the Department of Thai Studies, Faculty of International Studies (FIS), Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Phuket Campus

My research interests fall into two main areas, namely Asian Studies, focused on ethnohistorical research on the Bunun, an Austronesian-speaking Taiwanese indigenous group, and Environmental Management, focused on sustainable surf tourism and coastal resource management.

Since 2007, I have been teaching various courses including Interdisciplinary Study, Environmental StudiesEastern and Southeast Asian Civilization and Geography at the Department of Thai Studies, Faculty of International Studies (FIS), Prince of Songkla University, on the island of Phuket, Thailand.

As a professional academic, I do my best to teach through sharing personal experiences. I have also found success in developing my educational stories through online photo journals, video, and other multimedia.

I developed online course materials and the Learning Adventures series in order to visually support my university presentations and public talks and to provide an accessible multimedia platform for students to follow and explore on their smartphones, tablets and computers.

For example, when teaching a course in Eastern Civilization, I often share my personal experiences and stories from the Great Wall, the Chinese Silk RoadPakistan, Taiwan, and Tibet, and students can follow these topics through the photos, maps, videos and links for each Learning Adventure. If teaching Environmental Studies, I may share personal experiences from the Amazon RainforestGalapagos Islands, or an environmental issue encountered at a particular international surfing destination.

In 2013, I earned my PhD in Environmental Management from Prince of Songkla University by developing an index for coastal management. The surf resource sustainability index (SRSI) I developed is a methodology which is now used for assessing the conservation aptitude of surfing areas globally.

In 2010, I obtained my MBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Prince of Songkla University (PSU) in Phuket, and subsequently received a full scholarship for PhD research in Environmental Management.

Through the support of a Taiwan Scholarship from the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles, I completed a Master's of Arts in Taiwan Studies (currently Asia-Pacific Studies) in 2006 at National Chengchi University (NCCU), Taipei, ROC.

I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies (Experiential Studies in Chinese Culture & Philosophy) with the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH) in 2001, after earning my Associate in Arts degree from the Hawaii Community College (HCC) in 2000.

My research output to date includes more than 50 articles and papers, ranging from popular magazine articles to peer-reviewed international journal papers. Please visit the Taiwan Ethnographic Research  and Surf Tourism Research pages to learn more about my main publication areas.

I am happy to see that international education and study abroad programs are increasingly seen as important and relevant globally, and I regularly mentor and facilitate groups of students in intercultural exchange programs.

I attribute a great deal of my personal and academic success to experiential learning and travel. I have visited 45 countries and completed nine undergraduate study abroad programs:

  • 5 Summer Programs in China | University of Hawaii and Peking University (PKU)
  • 1 Summer Program in Costa Rica | University Study Abroad Consortium (USAC)
  • 1 Semester Program in South Africa | School for International Training (SIT)
  • 1 Semester Program in Spain | College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS)
  • 1 Academic Year Program in Taiwan | Ming Hsin University of Science and Technology (MUST)

When I was living in Taiwan, I was approached by an agent for a Taiwanese film production company. They recruited me to appear in various TV commercials, including some for blue-chip companies such as Nissan. This led to my being offered a leading role in the successful made-for-TV Taiwanese drama film Numbers.

One of my classmates introduced me to American filmmaker Tommie Williamson, who invited me to fly to Taitung in southeastern Taiwan, to work as a researcher and writer on an oral history project. We would be documenting on film the life-histories of a unique indigenous people who were among the last to be contacted and subjugated by the Japanese colonists.

The project changed the direction of my life, and I spent the next four years making ethnographic films for the Bunun, an ethnolinguistic group who had lost their traditional lands during the Japanese Colony on Taiwan (1895-1945).

In recent years, I worked with Edward E. Vaughan (1942-2018), an accomplished Associate Director (CBS News) and Assistant Director, Production Manager, Producer and Director on many popular TV shows and movies. The work focused on creating educational content including personal video-taped interviews of students and professors, exploring the diverse range of leadership and international education experiences currently available in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong, as well as Cambodia,Thailand and Vietnam.

My production company is University Filmworks.

Areas of production are featured on four webpages of this website:

Steven A. Martin Productions | University Filmworks | Youtube Channel

Prince of Songkla University | Faculty of International Studies