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Dr Peter Ling

Program Director, Communications
Faculty of Education and Arts

Industry oriented academic

My industry orientation

For years, my 'research' had an industry and practical purpose as I had spent many years in various disciplines, such as journalism, public relations, retail marketing, international advertising agency management, marketing communications consultancy, and team creativity consulting. I researched media sources to write marketing, communications, and creativity articles for industry publications, newspapers, and conferences. I published three books in the process based on collections from my hundreds of newspaper column articles on marketing insights, personal effectiveness, and team creativity.

My doctoral journey

It was only in 2002 that I decided to try my hand at academic research through a doctorate in education at the University of Western Australia. The decision to enrol in a professional versus a philosophical doctorate reflected my industry orientation. Experimenting with team creativity techniques and co-writing a book on team creativity had piqued my interest in academic research, hence my doctoral topic was on accelerated adult team creativity. It was a challenge adjusting to requirements of academic research. Fortunately, I did well enough to complete my doctorate in 2005 and win the Fogarty Prize for best Doctor of Education thesis.

Life as an academic

Joining ECU and academia for the first time in 2004 was also a challenge. I was involved in reviewing theses and supervising postgraduate students while struggling to balance teaching and completing my doctorate. I still remember my first thesis review where I awarded a Credit when a colleague assessed it as a High Distinction. I was then known to be a tough marker and that reputation still remains, surprisingly with positive results over the last six years – I have supervised 15 postgraduate students and examined 36 postgraduate proposals and theses.

My postgraduate students have researched diverse practical topics such as Indonesian television advertising and children’s behaviour, Singaporean identity in advertising, culture-based promotion in Shanghai, the use of animals in Canadian advertising, sex appeals in Indonesian magazines, fear appeals in drug prevention and anti-smoking campaigns in Australia, web advertising in Hangzhou, a case study of a bicycle enterprise in Malaysia, celebrity impact on Hong Kong university students, fashion preferences of Perth university students, and sportswear purchases of Chinese students.

Continuing my industry orientation as a Teacher Scholar, I have contributed 14 articles for Perth’s Campaign Brief magazine for the marketing communications industry; delivered over 20 conference papers and workshops on creativity and learning in Brisbane, Chicago, Georgia, Houston, Perth, Singapore, and Taipei; and written about 40 marketing cases for textbooks such as Advertising and Promotion, Consumer Behaviour, International Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Management, Principles of Marketing, and Services Marketing. I was honoured to be the only case author for Kotler and Keller’s Marketing Management, the world’s best selling Marketing textbook.

Evolving into an academic researcher

I have reviewed 24 journal articles and conference papers for diverse publications, such as the Journal of Thinking Skills and Creativity, the Journal of Marketing Education, and the yearly Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (ANZMAC). In 2009, I joined the editorial board of the new online publication, Public Communication Review, published by the University of Technology Sydney. I have also evolved into a more 'serious' academic researcher, with publications of refereed articles in the Asia Conference in Creativity Development, IMC Review, ANZMAC, and ECU's E-culture (with the paper on ECU's Google Challenge experience posted on the Google Challenge Research Centre website and cited by researchers). With an ECU team becoming Regional Winner in the 2010 Google Challenge, my immediate priorities are on papers related to learning through real competitions.

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