The state of tourism geography education in Taiwan: a content analysis

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This study aims to explore the state of teaching tourism geography in Taiwan based on a content analysis of 60 syllabi. The paper investigates institutes and faculties, students, teaching methods, teaching content, and assessment methods in teaching
  This article was downloaded by: []On: 27 November 2014, At: 07:46Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK Tourism Geographies: An InternationalJournal of Tourism Space, Place andEnvironment Publication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information: The state of tourism geographyeducation in Taiwan: a content analysis Guosheng Han a , Pin Ng b  & Yingjie Guo ca  Department of Tourism Management, Shandong University atWeihai, Weihai, China b  Franke College of Business, Northern Arizona University,Flagstaff, AZ, USA and School of Economics, Anhui University,Hefei, China c  School of Foreign Languages, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an,ChinaPublished online: 24 Nov 2014. To cite this article:  Guosheng Han, Pin Ng & Yingjie Guo (2014): The state of tourism geographyeducation in Taiwan: a content analysis, Tourism Geographies: An International Journal of TourismSpace, Place and Environment, DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2014.978813 To link to this article: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis,our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as tothe accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinionsand views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors,and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Contentshould not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims,proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever orhowsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arisingout of the use of the Content.This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms &   Conditions of access and use can be found at    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   2   4 .   1   2   1 .   1   8   5 .   6   1   ]  a   t   0   7  :   4   6   2   7   N  o  v  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  The state of tourism geography education in Taiwan:a content analysis Guosheng Han a , Pin Ng  b * and Yingjie Guo c a  Department of Tourism Management, Shandong University at Weihai, Weihai, China;  b  FrankeCollege of Business, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA and School of Economics, Anhui University, Hefei, China;  c School of Foreign Languages, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an,China (  Received 23 June 2014; accepted 11 October 2014 )This study aims to explore the state of teaching tourism geography in Taiwan based ona content analysis of 60 syllabi. The paper investigates institutes and faculties,students, teaching methods, teaching content, and assessment methods in teachingtourism geography in Taiwan. The following conclusions were reached. (1) Tourismgeography curricula are primarily implemented in tourism and recreation rather thangeography departments. The faculty members with doctoral degrees from geographyinstitutes are increasingly staffed in tourism and recreation departments, while moreand more faculty members in forestry, biology, and geology are teaching in the sub-discipline of geography. (2) Geography departments provide diverse and systematiceducation in the sub-discipline ranging from bachelor’s to doctoral degree programs,while only junior college and bachelor’s degrees are offered in tourism and recreationdepartments. (3) Teaching methods such as lecturing, group reports, and discussionsare more popular among junior college and bachelor’s degree programs, whilelecturing, discussion, academic literature reading, and group reports are morecommon among master’s and doctoral degrees in the sub-discipline. The teachingmethods appear to be more diverse at higher degree levels. (4) Regional tourismgeography is more readily available in junior college curricula, while general tourismgeography is taught more in the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree curricula.(5) Subject work, mid-term exam, and final exam are more popular assessment toolsamong junior college and bachelor’s degree education, while subject work, reports,attendance, and discussion are more common among master’s and doctoral degreeeducation. This paper will help the international academia of tourism geography togain a better understanding of tourism geography education in Greater China. Keywords:  tourism education; tourism geography; content analysis; Taiwan;chi-square test; curriculum design; syllabus; regional tourism geography; general tour-ism geography Introduction Geography departments of European and American higher institutions have been expand-ing their enrollments dramatically since 1950s. In order to improve the marketability of the discipline and increase employment opportunities for their graduates, geographydepartments have increasingly emphasized the relevancy and applied focus of their research and curricula (Hall & Page, 1999). Tourism geography has gradually grown intoan applied sub-discipline in many geography departments in response to the growingglobal tourism and recreation industry. As an interdisciplinary field, tourism geography *Corresponding author. Email:  2014 Taylor & Francis Tourism Geographies , 2014    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   2   4 .   1   2   1 .   1   8   5 .   6   1   ]  a   t   0   7  :   4   6   2   7   N  o  v  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  not only facilitates tourism research, but also helps to accelerate students’ enrollments ingeography departments, thus playing a significant role in shaping and transforming geog-raphy curricula (Dornan & Truly, 2009).While providing unique spatial and environmental knowledge for tourism and recre-ation workers, tourism geography also plays an important role in training tourism geog-raphers. Hence, tourism geography education has become an important topic amongtourism educators (Cai, Morrison, & Ismail, 2001; Che, 2009; Croy, 2004; Dornan & Truly, 2009; Lai & Wang, 2013; Lew, 2001; Pearce, 1981; Roehl, 1999; Schmelzkopf, 2002). Existing tourism geography education literature primarily focuses on tourismeducation in geography departments of America, Canada, and New Zealand (Che, 2009;Dornan & Truly, 2009; Meyer-Arendt, 2000; Mitchell & Smith, 1985) and more researchers are paying attention to tourism geography education in Greater China,including Mainland China (Bao, 2002; Bao & Ma, 2011), Hong Kong (Li, 2014), and  Macau (Li & Bray, 2007). However, little is still known about tourism geography educa-tion in Taiwan.Moreover, the above-mentioned studies focus mainly on tourism education in thegeography departments (Simm, Marvell, Schaaf, & Winlow, 2012). Little is known abouttourism geography education in the tourism and recreation departments. The studiesmostly employ a macroscopic perspective to examine the evolution of the tourism pro-grams and the orientation of majors within geography departments, the employment mar-ket, the competition between tourism geography programs and other tourism and recreation or hospitality programs, and the publications and research of the tourism geog-raphers. The exception to this was a study conducted by Pearce (1981) at CanterburyUniversity in New Zealand. Beyond this, little research has been done on tourism geogra- phy education in Southeast or East Asia, especially in Taiwan. Also, a close examinationof the relevant literature shows that much attention has been paid to tourism and geogra- phy education for bachelor’s degrees (Simm et al., 2012), while little has been put on junior college or graduate students, not to mention the differences among them in teach-ing methods, teaching content, and assessment methods.This paper aims to analyze the curricula and contents of tourism geography coursesoffered in not only geography but also tourism and recreation departments and institutesof Taiwan. The paper also attempts to reveal the nature of tourism geography educationalong the framework of ‘who to teach, to whom to teach, how to teach, what to teach, and how to assess.’ It will shed light on the characteristics of tourism geography education inTaiwan so as to help the international scholars of tourism geography gain a broader understanding of tourism geography education in the Greater China Area. Literature review Hall (2013) pointed out that it was crucial to understand how knowledge in tourism geog-raphy was propagated and how this knowledge was formed during its propagation pro-cess. There are four dominant approaches of considering knowledge production intourism geography: the market of ideas, conceptions of world geography, temporal peri-odicity, and the categorization of knowledge (Hall, 2013, p. 605). In tourism geography,how knowledge becomes normalized, dominant, or marginal has certain relationship withthe proponent and ‘where they are located’ as well as ‘the receptors and sponsors of knowledge’ (Hall, 2013, p. 605). Hence, we need to study the receptors and sponsors of the knowledge of tourism geography in Taiwan, where they are located (what institutes,departments, and faculty), and the consumers and the producers of the knowledge (faculty2  G. Han  et al.    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   2   4 .   1   2   1 .   1   8   5 .   6   1   ]  a   t   0   7  :   4   6   2   7   N  o  v  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  and students). How world geography knowledge classification is conceived is important because it influences the degree of free flow of knowledge, its directional bias as well asthe impact of time on the propagation of knowledge (Hall, 2013).Therefore, studying the current state of tourism geography education in Taiwan willenable educators and researchers to understand how Taiwan academia responds to globaltourism geography knowledge formation, on one hand, and how tourism geographyknowledge propagates and travels, on the other hand. The key determinants in the successof a course offering are good teaching materials, relevant course goals, assignments and assessment instruments, and a supporting team and faculty that can encourage steady stu-dent attendance and engagement (Che, 2009). This study was conducted using this evalu-ation framework.Regarding ‘who to teach’ in terms of institutes and faculty, the  Guide to Geography Programs in the Americas 2010  2011  shows that there are 76 geography departmentsoffering tourism geography in America (25.8% of the total number of 295 geographydepartments). Also,  Schwendeman’s Directory of Collegiate Geography of the U.S. indicates that there were 34 geography departments offering tourism geography coursesin 1998, while there were only 18 in 1996 (Gaile & Willmott, 2003, p. 531). The number of tourism geography courses offered in American geography departments almost dou- bled during this short time span. Though tourism geography has evolved into a significantsub-discipline in American geography departments, academic programs offering suchcourses are actually few (Dornan & Truly, 2009). Moreover, not many tourism geogra- phers are employed in geography departments, and few departments offer training in mas-ter’s and doctoral degrees in tourism geography. This is particularly true in the big and comprehensive universities (Gaile & Willmott, 2003).A possible explanation for the above phenomenon is that many traditional geographydepartments do not consider tourism geography as a serious science (Hall & Page, 1999),and those who have published in tourism geography do not consider themselves as tour-ism geographers and do not even list tourism geography as their research interest (Gibson,2008). Also, an increasing number of tourism geographers have landed their jobs in non-geography departments, such as tourism, recreation, and hospitality (Dornan & Truly,2009; Hall, 2013). The interdisciplinary nature of tourism geography has also created  ample opportunities for tourism geographers (Dornan & Truly, 2009). Retirement or departure of tourism geographers who were not replaced has caused a change in researchfocus among some geographers and a shift in focus at the department or university level.Combinations of these factors have all impacted tourism geography education (Dornan &Truly, 2009). Even though some studies have been conducted on the teaching faculty of tourism geography, there are still no detailed studies on the teaching faculty acrossnations or areas.Concerning ‘to whom to teach’ in terms of the student bodies in tourism geographyeducation, Dornan and Truly (2009) interviewed eight representative geography depart-ments at US universities (Ball State University, Brigham Young University, Central Con-necticut University, Eastern Michigan University, Missouri State University, PlymouthState University, Salem State University, and Western Michigan University) that offered tourism geography courses and found that none of the graduate degree programs had aformal tourism track. Thus, while the bachelor’s degree programs prepare students for theentry-level knowledge of tourism geography, the training of future teaching and researchtourism geographers is fundamentally relegated to departments that have no formal tour-ism programs. Moreover, the above studies are primarily confined to tourism geography Tourism Geographies  3    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   2   4 .   1   2   1 .   1   8   5 .   6   1   ]  a   t   0   7  :   4   6   2   7   N  o  v  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4
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