San Diego State University to create its first-ever Asian American studies department

san diego state
Image: StuSeeger/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)
  • San Diego State University (SDSU) is making plans to develop its first Asian American studies department after California State Universities received funding to expand their ethnic studies curriculums.
  • As of 2022, SDSU only has about three courses related to Asian Pacific Islander Desi American studies, a demographic that makes up about 13% of the school’s population.
  • As part of the hiring process, five meet-and-greets were held with candidates for the department’s faculty, to which students were invited to join and voice their opinions.

San Diego State University (SDSU) is putting plans in motion to open its first Asian American studies department, which will offer new curriculums and majors for students.

SDSU will hire two professors who will be responsible for building the Asian American Studies department, reported The Daily Aztec.

Of the 140 original faculty applicants, seven are being considered for associate professor or assistant professor positions in the new department.

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The dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Dr. Monica Casper, held five meet-and-greets with the seven candidates at the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Center where students were invited to join in conversations. Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan, the director of the center and a search committee member, believes that the inclusion of students in the event is important because the candidates will be teaching and representing the students. Casper also encouraged students to voice their thoughts on the candidates to help the committee members make a final decision in the hiring process.

Fourth-year business student Mirei Kubota has been to three of the five events where she has been inputting her opinions.

“If they hire someone we don’t like then it’s kind of our fault for not attending these meetings and voicing our opinion,” Kubota told The Daily Aztec. “I like to attend and get to know the person before considering them to be our representative.”

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SDSU has three Asian American courses available, while Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) students make up about 13% of the school’s population.

Dr. Brian Hu, an associate professor in the School of Theater, Television, and Film, also expressed his excitement at seeing SDSU develop its first Asian American studies department, saying it is a sign of the progress he has witnessed since his hiring in 2018. 

“It wasn’t shocking that SDSU didn’t have [a department]. It has to be fought for. Since being here, I found there’s a lot of demand for it and this was a happy surprise,” he told The Daily Aztec.

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