Asst. Professor Dr. Steven A. Martin
Author, educator, filmmaker
An international academic, and a native speaker of English, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, USA, I have written over 50 published articles in research areas including environmental resource management, surf tourism, Thai geography, and the history of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan.
I have a proven track record of conducting high-level multidisciplinary research, including systematic literature reviews, as well as popularizing difficult subjects through my lectures and online articles for a wide range of audiences.
2007 – Present: Lecturer and Assistant Professor of Asian Studies in Sociology and Anthropology at the Department of Thai & ASEAN Studies, Faculty of International Studies (FIS), Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Phuket Campus, Thailand.
I have designed and delivered many courses in the fields of environmental studies, geography, ancient civilizations, interdisciplinary studies, qualitative research methodologies, and English language acquisition.
As an enthusiastic supporter of the movement towards digitization and globalization of education, I have developed a range of online learning materials, including professionally produced videos and other multimedia, complete university courses and my Learning Adventures series. These are all curated on my bio website and YouTube channel at:
Complete listings of all my peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, theses, proceedings, and magazine articles are available online at any of the sites listed above. Please also visit the Taiwan Ethnographic Research and Surf Tourism Research pages to learn more about my current projects and publication areas.
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 (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.
- 2013: PhD in Environmental Management, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand.
- 2010: MBA in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Prince of Songkla University, Thailand.
- 2006: MA in Taiwan Studies, National Chengchi University, Taiwan.
- 2001: BA in Liberal Studies (Chinese Culture), University of Hawaii, United States.
- 2000: AA in Liberal Arts (Honors), Hawaii Community College, United States.
The study abroad programs listed below all counted towards either my BA degree from the University of Hawaii or my MA degree from the National Chengchi University, Taiwan. Full details of each of these courses, including the relevant accreditations and my photo journals, are available at: Page/ Study-Abroad
- 1995-2002: University of Hawaii – China (summer abroad). Participation in 5 accredited certificate programs, Peking University (PKU), Beijing, PRC.
- 1996: University Study Abroad Consortium (USAC) – Costa Rica (summer abroad). National University of Costa Rica at Heredia.
- 1997: School for International Training (SIT) – South Africa (semester abroad – fall). University of Cape Town, South Africa.
- 1998: College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS) – Spain (semester abroad – spring). International College of Seville (ICS), Spain.
- 2003-2004: University of Hawaii – Taiwan (academic year abroad). Ming-Hsin University of Science and Technology (MUST), Taiwan, ROC.
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 Course Portraits®, education media, and 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.
Through Ed Vaughan's mentorship, I was able to develop University Filmworks Production and Learning, a video production entity offering educational film production and learning opportunities for students through workshops and short courses.
Inspired by reading the Swiss Family Robinson, I left home in the Ohio rustbelt in 1978, at 15 years old, and flew to Hawaii, where I planned to live in a treehouse. I found work as a cook, and trained to become a chef. At the same time, I discovered Hawaii's big waves and surfing. Over the next few years, I learned American Red Cross lifesaving skills, became a County of Hawaii Water Safety Officer, and went on to start a surf school. I taught water safety and surf skills to hundreds of people including international celebrities, movie stars and astronauts from NASA.
My love for traveling, learning, and meeting new people led me to the University of Hawaii's Chinese culture summer program at Peking University. It was a great way to travel and earn a B.A. at the same time. This path led to study abroad in China, Costa Rica, South Africa, and Spain.
After graduating, I was fortunate enough to obtain a prestigious Taiwan Scholarship to study for a Master's degree. My research took me to the mountains of Taiwan to live among the world's last headhunters, the Formosan aborigines, and document their lives in ethnographic films.
Surfing remained my true passion, and after discovering perfect uncrowded waves on the Andaman Coast, I moved to Phuket, Thailand, to join the Faculty of International Studies at Prince of Songkla University. My ongoing research on surf tourism and the environment has led to an MBA, a PhD, and a growing list of publications.
I hope others can benefit from my story and find success in their own lives.