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Faculty Image Phyllis Ngai
Office: LA237
Phone: 406-721-4691


Current Position:

Adjunct Assistant Professor


Phyllis Ngai’s research and teaching interests lie at the crossroads of language, culture, communication, and public education.  Dr. Ngai is the author of  Crossing Mountains: Native American Language Education in Public Schools in the Contemporary Native Communities Series published by AltaMira Press.  She also is the author and co-author of five book chapters, two monographs, and 17 professional-journal articles on intercultural communication, bilingual and multicultural education, and Indigenous education.  Her recent research explores (1) transcultural pragmatics/intercultural communication training with teachers of English as a second language; (2) the impacts of social media on internationalizaton of higher education; (3) communication differences in Native/non-Native educational partnerships; (4) the impacts of different Indian-education approaches on Native and non-Native students' learning outcomes in public middle schools; and (5) the development of European-American teachers' intercultural sensitivity and its impacts on instructional communication in classrooms of an urban school that serves primarily African American students from economically disadvantaged communities Washington, D.C.  Currently, Phyllis teaches courses in intercultural communication and international development communication.  To contribute to the Missoulian community, she volunteers to support implementation of Indian Education For All in local public schools.  While actively involved in scholarship, teaching, and community service, Phyllis still finds time to enjoy the beautiful Montana outdoors with her family. Her favorite pastimes include Nia and Zumba, jazz piano, reading on mountain lakeshores, kayaking, and cross-country skiing.

Office Hours:

1 - 2 p.m. Wednesdays

And by appointment.

Field Of Study:

Intercultural and International Communication
Multicultural and Multilingual Education
Indigenous Education


COMM 202S Nonverbal Communication(blended)                                                                                                                   

COMM 251 International and Development Communication (online and on-campus)

COMM 451 Intercultural Communication (online and on-campus)


Ed.D., The University of Montana-Missoula, 2004
M.A., The University of Montana-Missoula, 1996
B.A., The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1994

Teaching Experience:

Dr. Ngai has taught courses in communication studies, multicultural education, integrating Indigenous education, and English as a second/foreign langauge in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Missoula since 1995.

International Experience:

Phyllis Ngai grew up in Hong Kong and has lived in Missoula for 17 years.  Dr. Ngai has taught in four cultures (Hong Kong, China, Ethiopia, and United States) and conducted research on four continents (Asia, North America, Africa, and Europe).  Recently, as a volunteer, she helped build houses for the needy in Guatemala.

Selected Publications:

Other Peer-reviewed Publications:

Indigenous Education in the Norwegian and U.S. Contexts. In “Mapping” Indigenous Futures: Sami and Native American Studies in Higher Education co-edited by Bjorg Evjen of University of Tromso and Kathryn Shanley of University of Montana. Forthcoming. Co-author.

Partnership for Knowledge-based Development in Asia. Box in The SAGE Handbook of International Higher Education edited by Darla K. Deardorff, Hans de Wit, John Heyl, and Tony Adams. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2012.

Growth with Sustainable Development? Impressions of Addis Ababa at the Start of 2011.>Afrikan Sarvi, Horn of Africa Journal, 2011, v.1, #1, online. Co-author.

Indigenous Education for Critical Democracy: Teacher Approaches and Learning Outcomes in a K-5 Indian-Education-For-All Program. Equity & Excellence in Education, 2011, v44, #2, pp. 249-269. Lead author.

Implementing Montana’s Indian-Education-For-All in a K-5 Public School: Implications for Classroom Teaching, Education Policy, and Native Communities. Journal of American Indian Education, 2010, v49, #1 & 2, pp. 44-62. Lead author.

Indigenous Studies and Intercultural Education: The Impact of a Place-based Primary-school Program. Intercultural Education, 2010, v.21, #6, pp. 597-606. Lead author.

An Emerging Indian-language Education Framework for Reservation Public Schools with Mixed Populations. Journal of American Indian Education, 2008, v. 47, #2, pp. 22-50.

Bilingual Education in Rural Schools with Native and non-Native Students: Indigenous-Language Program Elements for an Inclusive Model. Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 2007, v.10, #6, pp. 723-751.


A Process Guide for Realizing Indian Education for All: Lessons Learned from Lewis & Clark Elementary School, 75 pp.  2000 copies printed and distributed by Office of Public Instruction, Helena, Montana, 2007.  Lead author.

Beyond Reversion: Hong Kong in the Year of Transition.  The Montanan, 1998, Spring, v.15, #3, pp. 22-23.  Lead author.

Other Publications:


Crossing Mountains: Native American Language Education in Public Schools. 298 pages. In the Contemporary Native American Communities Series. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. 2012.  Link to the book:

Languages Known:

  • Chinese - native/bilingual proficiency
  • English - native/bilingual proficiency