A Superstar on the Rise: William Turkington (1)

William Turkington was a student of my JOUR330 (Newspaper and Magazine Feature Writing) class for spring 2017 semester. In this class, every student must report and write one query letter and more than 10 feature stories in different genres. Each story must not exceed 500 words. Then the student must expand whatever story of their choice into a polished, ready-for-publication long-form magazine article of 1,200 to 1,500 words.


Students from my feature writing class pose in front of the department Wall of Fame. William Turkington stands in the back row, second from left. Photo credit: Provided by Yong Tang

Turkington came to my attention because  Continue reading


马斯卡廷散记(Muscatine:A City of History and Friendship


马斯卡廷,英文名Muscatine, 被美国媒体称为中国国家主席习近平的“美国故乡(American hometown)”。这个以前默默无闻的爱荷华小城因习近平的两次造访(1985年和2012年)而爆得大名。它离 Continue reading



 “天生丽质难自弃,养在深闺人未识。” 西伊利诺伊大学,英文Western Illinois University,简称西伊大。除了西伊大,美国还有东伊大(Eastern  Illinois University)、南伊大(Southern Illinois University)和北伊大(Northern Illinois University) 。东南西北都全了。这四所大学可以并称为美国伊利诺伊公立大学系统的“四姐妹。” 虽然她们共同代表了美国公立大学的高水平,但毕竟不如美国最顶尖名校来得高大上,而且由于地处相对偏僻的中西部,媒体曝光也少,长期以来 Continue reading

Students take turns to have pictures with Western president and provost for Undergraduate Research Day

When I was at college in China in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was never able to see my college president in person. Later when Chinese university presidents are becoming less and less secretive, the chances for students to meet with their presidents face-to-face are still rare. One of those rare chances would be seeing university presidents deliver scripted official speeches at graduation ceremonies.

Western Illinois University students are clearly luckier than their counterparts in China. They have abundant opportunities here to meet with top administrators. Continue reading

I create Chinese names for my American students

Many American citizens are well known for lack of interest and knowledge about foreign countries and cultures. They are paying a huge price for that ignorance. In an increasingly globalized and inter-connected world, that price would be higher and higher.

Since I began teaching at Western Illinois University, I understand that as a foreign professor, I have both the expertise and obligation to familiarize my students with global issues in mass communications. Mass communication professionals (e.g. reporters, editors, public relations officers) won’t be competent communicators if they don’t have basic sensitivity to foreign cultures. Continue reading