Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development

Faculty and Staff


Duong Van Thanh, EdD, Academic Director
Duong Van Thanh earned an MA in public affairs and a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Through work at Vietnam’s Ministry of Education in Hanoi, Thanh developed alternative educational models for students in rural Vietnam, led cross-cultural professional exchanges (both in Vietnam and the US), and worked with high-level officials on public policy development. Thanh also has considerable experience in student affairs in cross-cultural settings, including work conducted at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Thanh served as academic director of and senior lecturer for SIT's Vietnam: Cultural and Natural Ecology in the Mekong Delta program from spring 2005 to fall 2007. She has been the academic director of the SIT Vietnam: Culture, Social Change, and Development program, based in Ho Chi Minh City, since spring 2008. Thanh also has served as the representative of the World Learning branch in Vietnam since 2008. She has a strong network of colleagues and contacts throughout the country.

Vy Dinh

Vy Dinh, Program Assistant
Vy Dinh obtained a BA in tourism management from the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City (UEH), Vietnam. She has been an active member and vice president of the Bell Club, which promotes community service and English language practice among students at UEH. Vy Dinh has worked as program assistant with SIT Vietnam since the fall of 2011. In this role, Vy supports the academic director in arranging and administering the program's many components, including the orientation, homestays, and educational excursions. She also assists with general office management.

Nguyen Tan Phat, Program Assistant

Nguyen Tan Phat, Program Assistant
A graduate of the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City, Phat Nguyen has been the program assistant for our program since fall 2013. Before joining the SIT team, Phat Nguyen was a dynamic student coordinator for SIT who supported the students and shared viewpoints on various issues with an aim to help students further understand Vietnam. In addition, he held the position of president of the Bell Club, a volunteer organization of local students associated with English learning, at the host university in Ho Chi Minh City. During his time with the SIT program, Phat Nguyen has gained extensive experience with students. He is a true asset to the program.

Hoang Thu Hien, Homestay Coordinator and Part-Time Program Assistant      
Hien arranges all aspects of the students' homestay experiences and also lends other programmatic support. She graduated from the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City with a BA in banking and finance.

Duong Ngoc Dung, PhD

Key Resource Faculty for This Program:

Duong Ngoc Dung, PhD
Dr. Duong Ngoc Dung holds a PhD in religious studies from Boston University (2001) and an MBA from UBI, Brussels (2008). He obtained a master's degree in East Asian history from Harvard University (1995) after receiving a scholarship from the Harvard-Yenching Institute. He also holds a graduate diploma in education (TESOL) from Canberra University in Australia and a BA in English literature from the University of Ho Chi Minh City. Since 2008, Dr. Duong Ngoc Dung has been a professor of business management (UBI, Vietnam) and a professor of international relations (USSH, Ho Chi Minh City). From 2001–2007, he served as professor of Asian religions and Oriental studies (USSH, National University, Ho Chi Minh City). He was also appointed the head of the East Asian Studies Department (2001–2004) and head of the Indian Studies Department (2004–2007) at the University of Ho Chi Minh City.

Bui Tran Phuong, PhD

Bui Tran Phuong, PhD
Dr. Bui Tran Phuong is the rector of Hoa Sen University in Ho Chi Minh City. She was born in 1950 to a family of teachers. She inherited the virtues of an educator from her family members and has followed in their footsteps. She graduated from a French high school program at the level of “Standard of Excellence” and then moved to Paris in 1968 to attend college. She received a bachelor’s degree in history from Paris I University in 1972, a master’s degree from Paris VII University in 1994, a master’s degree in business administration from United Business Institutes (Belgium) in 2003, and, in 2008, she successfully defended her doctoral dissertation at Lyon 2 University in Lyon, France.

Dr. Phuong has taught at Marie Curie High School in Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho University, Pedagogy University of Ho Chi Minh City, and Hoa Sen University. She has held the following positions: head of the French Language Department, head of the Office Management Department, and vice president in charge of international affairs.

She has served as president of Hoa Sen University since 1996. In this role, Dr. Phuong has set in place several plans to develop the university into a sustainable institution. As a result of the process of enhancing the school’s scale and educational quality, Hoa Sen has grown from an occupational training school into a university.

Dr. Phuong considers her largest and most meaningful achievement the gathering of educators from diverse backgrounds who have dedicated their lives to education; many of them are also entrepreneurs, foreign professors, Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese), and young graduates from overseas institutions. Her research projects have focused specifically on Vietnam’s contemporary and cultural history and on the history of Vietnamese women.

Dr. Phuong’s doctoral dissertation was titled “Vietnam 1920–1945, Gender and Modernity: The Emergence of New Perceptions and Experience."

Dr. Phuong is a core faculty member for SIT Study Abroad in Vietnam. She has lectured on gender and social change for SIT students and has led interactive discussions between SIT and local students at Hoa Sen University.

Nguyen Trong Hoài, PhD
Dr. Nguyen Trong Hoài is the vice rector at the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City. He is also the co-instructor for the University of Economics' case studies for policy analysis course in the summer term, for the analytical methods course in the fall term, and for development finance in the spring term. He holds a PhD and an MA in economics from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka (Dutch-Sri Lanka Program). He also holds a BS in national economy planning from the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City.

Nguyen Xuân Thành
Mr. Nguyen Xuân Thành is a lecturer of public policy as well as the director of public policy programs at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) in Ho Chi Minh City. In the fall semester, he teaches financial analysis and economic development; during the spring semester he teaches a course on the appraisal of development expenditures. His recent research focuses on the regulation and finance of infrastructure. Before joining FETP, Mr. Thanh spent six years at the Ho Chi Minh City Institute for Economic Research as a research fellow in local economic development. He holds a master's degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; an MSc in economics and finance from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom; and a BA in economics from the University of Delhi, India.

Jonathan Pincus, PhD
Dr. Pincus is dean of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP), founded in 1994 as a partnership between the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. As dean, Dr. Pincus has responsibility for academic affairs at the Fulbright School, where he also teaches macroeconomics and development policy. Prior to joining FETP, he served as senior country economist for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Vietnam and, prior to that, taught development economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Dr. Pincus completed his undergraduate education at Oberlin College (Ohio) and holds a master's degree and PhD in economics from Cambridge University (UK). He has worked extensively in Southeast Asia, including on long assignments in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam with a range of agencies including the Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Labor Organization, and the World Bank. He is the author of Class Power and Agrarian Change: Land and Labor in West Java (Macmillan 1996) and the co-editor of Development Policy in the 21st Century (Routledge 2002) and Reinventing the World Bank (Cornell University Press).

Le Thanh Sang, PhD
Dr. Le Thanh Sang is currently associate professor and vice director of the Southern Institute of Sustainable Development at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. He is a member of the advisory committee for the council’s Vietnam population health study of the Social Sciences Research Council of America.

His research interests are in demography, social inequality, gender, and environment impacts. Specifically, Dr. Sang has focused on urbanization, migration, social structures, policies and their effects on inequality in occupational status, income, and accessibility to education and healthcare in rural and urban areas. Since 2008, Dr. Sang has been interested in studying climate change and sustainable development.

Duong Van Ni, PhD, Lecturer at Can Tho University
Dr. Duong Van Ni is the former director of Hoa An Research Biodiversity and Community Development at Can Tho University. Dr. Ni earned his PhD at Royal Holloway College, London University, UK (2000). His field of research was wetland ecology; his dissertation was titled “Developing a practical trial for wetland ecology restoration based on biophysical and socio-economic functions of Melaleuca cajuputi at the Mekong Delta, Vietnam.” His areas of expertise include social-economic assessment, decision support systems, integrated intensive agriculture and wetland conservation, and rural development.
Dr. Ni has rich teaching and research supervision experience including in the areas of rural development and natural resources conservation.

Le Dinh Bich, Lecturer at Can Tho University
Le Dinh Bich is currently a professor at the School of Education at Can Tho University. He earned his MA in Russian, and he has been teaching cultural studies at Can Tho University since early 1990. He is a songwriter, and his research interests include traditional music of Vietnam, particurlarly Don ca Tai Tu, a southern music genre in the Mekong Delta. His areas of expertise include Southeast Asia cultural studies, religions, and music development in Vietnam.

Dana R. H. Doan, Consultant and Advisory Board Member, LIN Center for Community Development
At the LIN Center for Community Development, Dana is largely responsible for advising the leadership team on LIN’s strategic plan and fundraising efforts to support its implementation. In this role, she also serves on the advisory board of Working With Others, a small grant scheme introduced by Saigon Children’s Charity to support not-for-profit groups addressing the needs of children with disabilities.

Prior to joining LIN, Dana worked with the US-Vietnam Trade Council and Education Forum as an international trade policy analyst. In that role, she organized and facilitated technical assistance programs and bilateral meetings and events for officials representing the US and Vietnamese governments, US companies, and the international trade and aid community. From 2004 until 2009, Dana served as a member of the AmCham-United Way Vietnam Allocation Committee (in a pro bono capacity), annually evaluating grant applications by charitable organizations seeking program funds.

Before moving to Vietnam in 2001, Dana worked with the Metro Chicago Information Center as a strategy and development consultant to community development corporations, community banks, and nongovernmental organizations working to improve the quality of life in Illinois and throughout the United States. Dana also served as a business development volunteer with the US Peace Corps program, working with members of community banks in Guinope, Honduras, from 1999 to 2000. She has also served as a grant evaluator at the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP) and an advisory board member at AIESEC.

Dana received a master's degree in public policy, with a focus on international economic development, from the Gerald R. Ford School at the University of Michigan and an undergraduate degree in history and Spanish from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In December 2010, she completed the NYU professional certificate program in grantmaking and foundations.

Dana is a native English speaker, fluent in Spanish, and at an intermediate level in Vietnamese.

Phạm Quốc Lộc, PhD
Dr. Phạm Quốc Lộc is currently serving as a lecturer and director of the General Education Program at Hoa Sen University. Dr. Lộc earned his PhD in comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2011. His research interests include translation theories and issues of gender in cultural studies and postcolonial studies. He has taught courses on international literatures, the Vietnam War in film and literature, and translation theories both in the United States and in Vietnam. His current projects include translations of Judith Butler's Frames of War (Verso, 2009) and Edwin Gentzler's Translation and Identity in the Americas (2009). His article "Western Others and Other Westerns" appeared in the volume Re-engendering Translation edited by Christopher Larkosh (St. Jerome, 2011).

Dr. Nguyen Luu Bao Doan
Dr. Nguyen Luu Bao Doan (Doan Nguyen) is the director of International Relations at Hoa Sen University, Ho Chi Minh City, where he also teaches in the General Education Program. He also serves as an adjunct instructor in the graduate program of development economics at the University of Economics- Ho Chi Minh City (UEH). 

His areas of teaching and research include land use policies, urban economics, and innovation for inclusive development. He has published in Urban Studies, Environmental and Planning B: Planning and Design, Economic Development Quarterly, and Vietnamese Journal of Urbanism. His current project is to work with Disability Research and Capacity Development Center (DRD) IT faculty and students to develop a phone app that provides accessibility maps to people with disabilities. The project is under consideration for funding by the Universities and Councils Network on Innovation for Inclusive Development in Southeast Asia.

Dr. Nguyen obtained his doctorate in urban and regional planning and design from the University of Maryland and a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Ho Chi Minh City

Language Study: Vietnamese

Prerequisites: None

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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