Shuhui Xing—Researching Ethnic Tourism in China

Shuhui Xing—Researching Ethnic Tourism in China

Shuhui with a Li ethnic minority woman she interviewed for her dissertation

At the Ecojam fashion show in Fairfield wearing a traditional Chinese Han dress

With a Li woman practicing traditional handicraft

Li women wearing various traditional dresses


MUM student Shuhui (Vinenna) Xing was born and raised in Sanya, on Hainan Island, China, which is a popular tourist destination with a tropical climate. Not far from her home town is Bing Lang Gu, an ethnic minority tourism destination, where local residents still practice thousand-year-old traditions.

For her Ph.D. dissertation, Shuhui decided to explore recent ethnic and sustainable tourism trends in China to find out how these practices can help her local community preserve its culture while also reaping the economic benefits of sustainable tourism. The subject of her research is the Li ethnic minority group, which is one of the dozens of minorities in China, in addition to the ninety-two percent Han majority.

Prior to coming to MUM, Shuhui received a bachelor’s degree in hotel management from the University of Science and Technology at Macau, China, in 2013. As an undergraduate, she also spent time at Florida State University as an exchange student studying hospitality and completed a six-month internship at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Shuhui enrolled in the MBA Accounting Program in 2013 and felt at home in the friendly environment on campus right away. “I like meeting different people from different countries. MUM is just like the United Nations.” She also discovered that the Transcendental Meditation® technique improved all aspects of her life, including her health. “TM makes me more relaxed by releasing my stress, so I can focus on studying and get along well with my friends,” she said.

In 2014, Shuhui was part of the MUM MBA student team that finished first in the CAPSIM online business simulationcompetition. She is currently a graduate instructor in the Business Department, teaching courses on managerial accounting via distance education to students at the Maharishi Institute in South Africa.

Shuhui enjoys traveling and has a professional interest in ecotourism and ethnic tourism. She is excited to be able to focus her doctoral dissertation on a topic close to her home and heart. “I am familiar with the local minorities and have always admired their cultures,” she said. “I hope my research can help them improve their ethnic tourism development and get more people involved in protecting their cultures.”

“Shuhui’s positive and outgoing personality made it easy for her to collect interview data from a range of people at the Bing Lang Gu ethnic tourism site, including tourists, tourism operators, government officials, and local indigenous people,” said Dennis Heaton, professor of management.

PAC Alert 12-2017

PAC Alert 12-2017

Consider charitable giving before end of year to receive potential tax benefits

A quick tip from the MUM PAC (Professional Advisory Committee):

MUM donors may be able to benefit from tax advantages available through charitable giving if done before the end of the calendar year, due to changes that are expected in tax law.

A few helpful facts:

  • Under the new rules, most families won’t get as much tax benefit next year, since they will not be able to itemize deductions
  • By giving this year, most families will be able to write it off as part of an itemized tax return
  • Deductions will probably be worth more this year over next year or into the future
  • If you’re considering donating stocks to MUM or another charity, and you’ve bought stock from the same company at different prices, consider donating it this year for important tax savings
  • With the recent rise in the stock market, you might want to use appreciated stocks for your donation. That way you’ll get the full deduction on the current value of the equities.

Prior to December 31 may be an ideal time to make a charitable gift to MUM and other organizations. To learn more, and to make a gift, contact the MUM Development Office.

Read this informative article to learn more about these important changes.

* The Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) supports MUM’s Legacy Giving campaign and serves as a resource for potential donors and their advisors. This newly established committee is composed of lawyers, accountants, financial planners, trust officers, life insurance professionals, commercial and residential real estate brokers, and others who specialize in estate planning.

Dr. Thimmaiah Teaches Agriculture Workshop to Bhutan Refugees

Dr. Thimmaiah Teaches Agriculture Workshop to Bhutan Refugees

MUM professor Dr. A. Thimmaiah

Dr. Thimmaiah with Bhutanese refugees (photo by Karen Davis-Brown)

A Bhutanese woman in the refugee garden in Fargo (photo by Karen Davis-Brown)

During a recent workshop on regenerative organic agriculture, MUM faculty Dr. A. Thimmaiah helped a group of Bhutanese refugees learn to grow their native food while also learning to heal themselves and the planet. The workshop was the first of five meetings with Dr. Thimmaiah sponsored by Lutheran Social Services in Fargo, North Dakota.

“I was invited to assess their agricultural knowledge, and then build on that knowledge by integrating regenerative organic practices,” said Dr. Thimmaiah. “Because I was able to speak in Hindi and knew their villages, they really opened up. They felt as if I was part of their family.”

Dr. Thimmaiah is a former agriculture advisor to Bhutan and a top expert in organic and biodynamic agriculture who authored the national organic standards for Bhutan. The representatives of the Lutheran Social Services invited Dr. Thimmaiah to be involved with the project after they found an article online about his transformation of the agricultural system in Bhutan.

Dr. Thimmaiah will continue to work with the Fargo group in an advisory role to help build up their four-acre pilot project, and then may help initiate similar projects with the other groups.

Dr. Thimmaiah was also recently invited by the Uberoi Foundation to present at a conference in Denver. The focus of the conference was on how to address issues related to the environment, climate change, and sustainability from the perspective of the four dharmic traditions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

Dr. Thimmaiah, a native of India, spoke about the need to transcend from sustainable agriculture to the deeper level of regenerative organic agriculture. He explained that inner sustainability is as important as outer sustainability and that people must change from within in order to change the world.

Craig Pearson, MUM vice-president of academic affairs, was also invited to participate and was asked to summarize the conference and make concluding remarks. “Dr. Thimmaiah is an energetic, highly knowledgeable, and charismatic presenter,” said Dr. Pearson. “He is an outstanding representative of Maharishi University of Management and the knowledge and values we represent.”

Dr. Thimmaiah is associate professor of sustainable living at MUM and heads the BA in Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program.

Faculty Attend Assessment Academy to Improve Student Learning

Faculty Attend Assessment Academy to Improve Student Learning

The MUM team that attended the HLC Assessment Academy. Back row: Craig Pearson, Sue Brown, Jane Schmidt-Wilk, Isabelle Matzkin, Paula Armstrong, Mark Ellinghaus; front row: Janice Denton, University of Cincinnati, (assessment academy scholar and mentor to MUM), Chris Jones, Amine Kouider

Team leader Chris Jones

The team evaluating their progress

Professor Jane Schmidt-Wilk discussing data collection

Mark Ellinghaus, Isabelle Matzkin, and Paula Armstrong
(photos by Amine Kouider)



Faculty Attend Assessment Academy to Improve Student Learning

A team of eight faculty members attended a three-day Assessment Academy workshop in Chicago at the end of October, joining teams from about 20 other colleges and universities.

The Assessment Academy is a special four-year program offered by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to its member institutions. The HLC accredits Maharishi University of Management and more than 1,000 other colleges and universities in 19 states.

“‘Assessment’ is the shorthand term in education referring to an evidence-based system for continuously improving student learning,” said Craig Pearson, vice president of academic affairs at MUM. ”We ask the questions: ’How do we know students are actually learning what we want them to learn?’ and ’How do we continuously improve that learning?’”

The process starts with determining ”student learning outcomes,” Dr. Pearson explained. ”First you decide what knowledge and skills you want your students to gain. Then you create a curriculum aimed to produce these learning outcomes. Then take students through this curriculum. Next you objectively measure, or assess, the degree to which students have achieved the desired outcomes. Then, based on this assessment, you refine your curriculum. And then you take another group of students through it, repeating the process, year after year.’“

This process takes place at three levels: the individual course, the academic program, and the school as a whole.

“Each course has its own student learning outcomes,” Dr. Pearson said. ”But it’s important that those outcomes contribute to the learning outcomes of the academic program as a whole. And every academic program’s learning outcomes should support the university’s overarching learning outcomes. Everything should be aligned at all three levels.”

Several years ago the MUM faculty embarked on a process of defining the university’s overall learning outcomes. ”These represent the knowledge and skills we want every student to have, regardless of what they major in,” Dr. Pearson said. ”We looked at surveys of what employers want college graduates to have. We looked at many other schools’ learning outcomes. And we looked at the expected outcomes of a liberal education. Based on this, we defined our own list, which we call Essential Learning Outcomes, or ELOs.”

MUM’s nine Essential Learning Outcomes include skills in critical thinking, communication, and problem solving, as most schools do. But it also includes an outcome unique to MUM, development of consciousness, as well as health, another important university focus. (See the complete list below.)

“We want students to have abundant opportunities to exercise and strengthen these vital skills throughout their time here and to build the foundation for a successful professional and personal life,” said Dr. Chris Jones, dean of academic programs and leader of the team.

At the course level, faculty leaders introduced a new chart to be part of every class syllabus. These “student learning charts” graphically display three things: what students are expected to learn, how they will learn it, and how they will demonstrate they have learned it. They also show how the course learning outcomes connect to the Essential Learning Outcomes, so that students and faculty always have the larger learning goals in front of them. The faculty have now been trained in creating and using these charts.

Quality Initiative

MUM enrolled in HLC’s Assessment Academy to benefit from the guidance of experts in student learning and assessment. The academy also gives MUM access to its Collaboration Network, so that MUM academic leaders can look at and benefit from what hundreds of other schools are doing in their own assessment work.

MUM is in HLC’s Open Pathway accreditation track, which is for mature institutions and by HLC invitation only. Colleges and universities in this track choose a ”quality initiative” they commit to working on over a 10-year accreditation cycle. Schools are encouraged to choose a stretch goal for this initiative.

“After considering a number of options, we chose assessment,” Dr. Pearson said. ”Having a system for continuously improving student learning is bedrock in higher education.”

MUM’s next accreditation visit will be in 2020Among other things, the visiting team will review MUM’s Quality Initiative.

At October’s workshop in Chicago, all the schools that had enrolled in the Assessment Academy two years ago came together to review their original plans, assess their progress so far, and develop detailed plans for the final two years. The workshop also featured presentations, feedback, and mentoring from assessment experts.

MUM’s Nine Essential Learning Outcomes

1. Development of consciousness
2. Health
3. Holistic thinking
4. Creativity
5. Critical thinking
6. Communication
7. Problem solving
8. Teamwork and leadership
9. Local and global citizenship.