Doctor of Philosophy candidate
For her PhD research, sociolinguist Chien-ju Ting is investigating Taiwan's Indigenous language revitalisation policies.
“I’m originally from Taiwan, and am interested in languages and the social issues surrounding them. My doctoral research aims to find better policy writing approaches for meeting Indigenous language revitalisation goals.
“My research is a cross-disciplinary study that will benefit Indigenous communities in need of support for language revitalisation, including Māori here in New Zealand. It will also make a contribution to three different academic disciplines; critical discourse studies, language policy and Indigenous language revitalisation.”
Chien-ju’s research was supervised by Professor Allan Bell until his retirement in early 2019, and is now supervised by Dr Philippa Smith and Dr Salainaoloa Wilson-Uili from AUT’s School of Language and Culture.
A supportive postgraduate environment
There were a number of factors that attracted Chien-ju to AUT.
“When I first applied for my PhD, AUT was supportive and the enrolment process was comprehensive. My supervisor-to-be was very interested in my study. It was a combination of subject expertise, good enrolment practice and student support that encouraged me to study at AUT.”
She has enjoyed the events and opportunities postgraduate students have access to, says Chien-ju who is the PhD student representative for the School of Language and Culture and expects to complete her PhD in 2020.
“I enjoy the opportunities to meet like-minded people at postgraduate events, including the mix and mingle events, workshops, symposiums and postgraduate support groups like MAI ki Aronui. That has been a great support for me as the PhD journey can sometimes be very isolating.”
Advice for other students
You need to be committed to take on a PhD, Chien-ju advises other students.
“I would definitely recommend AUT, but PhD study is not an easy ride and I would only recommend doctoral study to those who are really committed. You also need to be aware that the challenges a PhD student faces are very different from those an undergraduate student may encounter. The hardest part is to be self-disciplined and stay motivated.
“AUT offers a lot of workshops to help PhD students through their journey, and the postgraduate groups provide opportunities for me to meet with others to discuss my study, which is helpful. I think AUT has a vibrant and diverse student-oriented culture, and because I have three kids I also appreciate that the School of Language and Culture is a very family friendly space.”
Throughout her studies, Chien-ju received a number of scholarships and awards, including the Kate Edger First-year Doctoral Award, the AUT Faculty of Culture and Society Doctoral Scholarship and a travel grant to enable her to attend the Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines (CADAAD) conference in Aalborg, Denmark.