Archive of Annual Activities

As an archival record of the Certificate Program, these are summaries of our activities and accomplishments from recent academic years.

2012-2013

Activity

The Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program (AAASCP) has completed another productive and successful 2012-2013 year. We are very pleased that five students completed the Certificate this year and they completed very interesting and relevant capstone projects that analyzed and personified complex issues such as human rights and gender equality in China; emerging Asian American artists and personaltieis on YouTube; Asian American women, model minority pressures, and mental health resources; a videologue of the Cambodian refugee experience; and the development and cultural implications of the Korean "Hallyu."

This year, the AAASCP and several affiliated faculty were involved in numerous public events, activities, and talks that took place here at UMass and at other Five College campuses. We have forged stronger relationships with the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS), the Asian/Asian American Defined Residential Community in Lewis Hall, and the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC) and were very pleased to collaborate with them on events that focused on numerous issues related to both Asian Studies and Asian American Studies. By all accounts, these events were a big success and raised the profiles of the AAASCP, its students, faculty, and of UMass Amherst as well.

Our affiliated AAASCP faculty were also busy during the academic year. In particular, I was very honored to have the opportunity to travel to Beijing, China to conduct a site visit for the UMass Amherst International Programs Office and its programs in conjunction with CIEE at Peking University and Minzu University. If you would like to read more about it, I wrote a detailed description and reflection on my visit and observations at my Asian-Nation website. In short, it was an amazing experience, intellectually and programmatically, to see the vibrancy of such cross-cultural collaborations and to experience China for the first time.

2011-2012

The Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program (AAASCP) has completed another productive and successful 2011-2012 year. We are very pleased that four students completed the Certificate this year. This number is a little lower than the last few years (we averaged seven students the past two years). However, several students are poised to complete their requirements for the Certificate by the end of the next academic year.

Further, in emphasizing quality over quantity, the Certificate students completed very interesting and relevant projects that analyzed and personified complex issues such as spoken word inspirations on being an Asian American male, comparisons of nutrition and dietary patterns of Asians and Asian Americans, a review of China's modern educational system, and the contexts and constraints faced by Asians and Asian Americans in professional sports.

This year, the AAASCP and several affiliated faculty were involved in numerous public events, activities, and talks that took place here at UMass and at other Five College campuses. We have forged stronger relationships with the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS) and the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC) and were very pleased to collaborate with them on events that focused on such issues as Tibetan culture and Sino-Tibetan relationships, Indian arranged marriages, Korean American culture, Hmong refugees, the democracy movement in Burma, a tribute to survivors of the Khmer Rouge, redefining Asian American beauty, Asian American activism in the 21st century, single motherhood and women's employment in Japan, and transcultural health policies. By all accounts, these events were a big success and raised the profiles of the AAASCP, its students, faculty, and of UMass Amherst as well.

Our affiliated AAASCP faculty were also busy during the academic year. In particular, I am pleased to report that Miliann Kang's (Associate Professor in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies) book The Managed Hand: Race, Gender and the Body in Beauty Service Work (University of California Press) won several national awards from three sections of the American Sociological Association and the National Women's Studies Association. Further, through the work of Ranjanna Devi, Director of the Asian Arts & Culture Program at UMass, we are very excited to host nationally-renowned performance artist Dan Kwong to UMass and the Five College area this fall.

2010-2011

We are very pleased that seven students completed the Certificate this year, which is same number as last year and again represents the continuation of an upward trajectory in recent years. This positive trends represents the payoff of the hard work that the AAASCP has put into promoting the Certificate around campus, as more and more students see the value of the Certificate's combination of providing them with a detailed understanding of the increasingly important political, economic, and cultural connections between Asia and Asian America, along with practical interdisciplinary and multi-methodological skills that they can use in their studies and their future careers.

The AAASCP prides itself on contributing to the rich and vibrant academic community of UMass Amherst and the Five Colleges. This year, the AAASCP was very proud to extend this reach to the entire nation by participating in the East Coast Asian American Union (ECAASU, the largest Asian American student organization in the country) annual conference, this year hosted by UMass. Organized by a dedicated team of students, staff, and faculty from UMass and the Five Colleges, this year's conference included approximately 1,200 attendees from all around the country (despite the cold February temperatures). Several AAASCP faculty conducted workshops on a wide variety of Asian- and Asian American-related issues. By almost all accounts, the conference was a big success and raised the profiles of the AAASCP, its students, faculty, and of UMass Amherst as well.

AAASCP faculty were also busy during the academic year in numerous other activities, projects, and events. A short list of them include a mini-symposium and fundraiser for the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, a Five College panel that discussed various dimensions of the Amy Chua "Tiger Mother" phenomenon, the biannual research conference of the Asian Americans in New England Research Initiative, presentations by faculty and graduate students at the annual conferences of the Association of Asian Studies and the Association for Asian American Studies, and several talks by scholars and activists visiting the UMass Amherst campus throughout the academic year.

2009-2010

We are very pleased that seven students completed the Certificate this year, which is second-highest number of students completing the Certificate since its inception (nine completed in 2007-2008). This upward trajectory represents the payoff of the hard work that the AAASCP has put into promoting the Certificate around campus, as more and more students see the value of the Certificate's combination of providing them with a detailed understanding of the increasingly important political, economic, and cultural connections between Asia and Asian America, along with practical interdisciplinary and multi-methodological skills that they can use in their studies and their future careers.

Continuing our tradition of contributing to the rich and vibrant academic community of UMass Amherst and the Five Colleges, the Certificate program again participated in the annual 5-Pan Asian Pacific American Conference, this year hosted by UMass in Herter Hall and attended by over 160 students from UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College. I conducted a session on balancing Asian, American, and Asian American identities in the 21st century and several other UMass Amherst faculty and graduate students also presented and led workshops on a wide variety of Asian- and Asian American-related issues.

The 5-Pan student organization continues to become stronger and more cohesive each year, evidenced by the recent announcement that the East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) annual conference has been awarded to UMass Amherst and the Five Colleges, to be held in February 2011. ECAASU is the oldest and largest Asian American student organization and conference in the country and its annual conference consistently draws well over 1,500 attendees each year. This is a tremendous accomplishment for the 5-Pan group, for UMass Amherst, and the Five Colleges and we are all very excited about the opportunity to showcase the vitality of the UMass Amherst Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program and the UMass Amherst campus nationwide.

As another example of continuing success, we had another successful set of activities organized around the Mellon Mutual Mentoring Team Grant Program, administered by the UMass Amherst Office for Faculty Development. As a continuation and expansion of our first Mutual Mentoring grant from 2008-2009, this year our faculty and graduate student participants organized their own ongoing small group meetings around areas of interest that included publishing, early career and tenure issues, combing academic and non-academic writing, and several substantive topics of study. As a reflection on the high quality of our team's mutual mentoring activities, the Office of Faculty Development featured our UMass/Five College Asian American Studies group in one of their publicity posters (click on the image below for a larger version). The Certificate program is thrilled to be an active and central part of this Five College Mutual Mentoring grant and we hope to have the opportunity to apply for another grant in the future.

UMass Amherst Office of Faculty Development - Mutual Mentoring

Several AAASCP faculty also collaborated with the grassroots student group FUSE (Fighting for Unity and Student Enrichment) to persuade the Office of Student Development to revaluate its plan to merge the academic and cultural centers that serve students of color -- the Committee for the Collegiate Education of Black and other Minority Students (CCEBMS), United Asia Learning Resource Center (UALRC), Native American Student Services (NASS), and the Bilingual Collegiate Program (BCP) -- into the new "Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success" (CMASS). As articulated in a petition that FUSE has circulated (online version), while they are not opposed to change per se, large numbers of students, faculty, and staff around campus and beyond feel that the significant changes contained in the merger proposal have not been adequately justified and that there needs to be a one year delay for a joint committee to study all possible options much more thoroughly and inclusively. Whatever the outcome of the petition and FUSE's efforts, the AAASCP is proud to continue the legacy of mentoring and empowering students to articulate and assert their needs in terms of programs that would best support their learning, retention, and overall experience on campus.

As we continually impress upon our current and potential Certificate students, as American society becomes increasingly culturally diverse and globalized, those who have a detailed understanding of different racial/ethnic groups, of international socioeconomic issues, and multi-methodological and interdisciplinary research and analytical skills -- all of which the AAAS Certificate gives them -- will have a competitive advantage in their studies at UMass, in whatever career they enter once they graduate, and in applying their knowledge as community leaders in 21st century American society.

2008-2009

We had three students complete the Certificate this year, which is slightly lower than our usual number. However, several students are poised to complete their requirements for the Certificate and are scheduled to do so by the end of the next academic year. Further, in emphasizing quality over quantity, the three Certificate students completed very interesting and relevant projects analyzing complex issues such as the relationship between religion and politics in acts of violence within Asian countries, parenting styles of Asian American parents, and changing media images of Asian/Asian American women.

Continuing our tradition of contributing to the rich and vibrant academic community of UMass Amherst and the Five Colleges, the Certificate program again participated in the third annual 5-Pan Asian Pacific American Conference, hosted by Mount Holyoke College and attended by over 120 undergraduate students from UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College. I conducted a session on emerging political, economic, and cultural connections between Asians and Asian Americans in 21st century American society and several other UMass Amherst faculty and graduate students also presented and led workshops on a wide variety of Asian- and Asian American-related issues. The 5-Pan student organization continues to become stronger and more cohesive each year and we look forward to seeing what they have planned for next year.

Speaking of developing professional networks, we had an extremely successful set of activities organized around the Mellon Mutual Mentoring Team Grant Program, administered by the UMass Amherst Office for Faculty Development. Having been awarded a $3,500 grant, we conducted a series of five "Dinner and Discussion" workshops at each of the five campuses and that included topically-driven and facilitated group discussions on issues of research, teaching, and tenure, all designed to build a mutually-supportive academic and social support community across traditional disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

As team leader of this grant, I am very pleased that the grant was a big success in so many ways -- introducing faculty and graduate students at UMass Amherst and the other campuses to each other and to learn from each other's experiences, directly supporting their professionalization and career trajectories around concrete issues, and strengthening and raising the profile of Asian Pacific American Studies in the area. Mary Deane Sorcinelli, Director of the Office of Faculty Development, reported to us on several occasions that our team consistently had the largest numbers of participants throughout the course, included the widest inclusion of participants across departments and institutions, and that she was very pleased with our grant activities.

In fact, building upon the success of this grant, we applied for a second grant and were delighted to be awarded $6,100 to continue our mutual mentoring project, although our activities will change so that instead of five large dinners, we will form several working groups organized around specific mutual mentoring needs and issues and each group will determine the activities that will be most beneficial for them. All in all, the Certificate program is thrilled to be an active and central part of this Five College Mutual Mentoring grant and we look forward to another successful project this upcoming academic year.

We also directly facilitate the professionalization of our grad students and junior faculty by using program funds to assist a total of four grad students and faculty to present papers or conduct research around the country relating to Asians or Asian Americans. All four had very successful trips and were very thankful to the AAAS Certificate Program for assisting them in their research.

2007-2008

Once again, we've completed another productive and successful academic year. Here is a list of some of the notable highlights of our activities and events that took place this past academic year:

  • We had two students complete the Certificate this year, which was slightly lower than our usual number. However, all signs point for a big increase next year, as several students completed the capstone "Senior Seminar" course but still needed only one or two more courses for the Certificate, which means they will complete all the Certificate requirements next year. As another encouraging sign, both the "Bridging Asia & Asian America Colloquium" and "Sociology of the Asian American Experience" courses continue to be filled beyond capacity, with many students from previous courses taking the other courses, which hopefully indicates their intention of eventually completing the Certificate. With that in mind, I anticipate a bumper crop of completed Certificate students next year!

  • We helped to co-sponsor several lectures from various faculty visiting our area, further continuing our tradition of contributing to the rich and vibrant academic community of UMass Amherst.

  • Building on the momentum of last year, we again participated in the second annual 5-Pan APA Issues Conference, hosted at Amherst College and attended by over 50 undergraduate students from UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College. The 5-Pan student organization continues to become stronger and more cohesive each year and we look forward to seeing what they have planned for next year.

  • We wanted to do something to directly facilitate the professionalization of our grad students and junior faculty and decided to open our program funds to assist six grad students and faculty to attend the annual conferences of the Association for Asian American Studies in Chicago and the Association for Asian Studies in Atlanta, both in April. All six had very successful trips and were very thankful to the AAAS Certificate Program for assisting them to participate in their conferences.

  • Last but not least, I am very pleased to report that we were awarded a $3,500 grant by the UMass Amherst Center for Teaching (funded by the Mellon Foundation) to facilitate "mutual mentoring" among grad students and faculty doing APA Studies at UMass Amherst and the Five College area. This involves a series of five "Dinner and Discussion" meetings that will take place at each of the five different campuses, be organized by one or more team members from that particular campus, and will include topically-driven and facilitated group discussions on issues of research, teaching, and tenure, all designed to build a mutually-supportive academic and social support community across traditional disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

2006-2007

We've completed another productive and succesful academic year. Here is a list of some of the notable highlights of our activities and events that took place in the fall and spring:

  • In October, we hosted the annual meeting of the Asian American New England Research Initiative (AANERI), a network of scholars from various disciplines and others in the region who do work related to Asian American Studies. This was the first time we at UMass Amherst have hosted the AANERI meeting and by all accounts, it was a big success -- more than 50 faculty, students, administrators, and community members attended.

  • Throughout the academic year, we helped to sponsor many lectures and presentations from faculty visiting our area, including Allan Isaac, Rey Chow, and Jeff Adachi, the filmmaker behind the critically acclaimed documentary The Slanted Screen about media portrayals of Asian American men throughout the years.

  • Through the initiative and leadership of Edgar Chen, grad student in the Labor Studies department, we sponsored and participated in the very successful Five College APA Student Leadership Conference, attended by over 100 undergraduate students from UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Smith College, Hampshire College, and Mount Holyoke College. It was so successful that there are firm plans in place to not only hold it every year (rotating around each of the five schools), but to also expand it into two separate one-day conferences.

  • Several of our faculty and students also attended the annual meeting of the Association for Asian American Studies in New York City in April, presenting papers and filing reports and summaries of different sessions that they attended.

  • I was also fortunate to complete my first UMass Amherst General Education Council grant to improve and expand our "Sociology of the Asian American Experience" foundation course that also involved hiring and mentoring QJ Shi, a very dynamic and talented graduating senior, as my student project assistant. Not only that, I was also awarded a second General Education Council grant to do the same with the Certificate's other foundation course, the "Bridging Asia & Asian America Colloquium," and to hire two new student assistants for the upcoming academic year.

Just as important, our success and productivity can also be seen in the quality and quantity of the students who completed the Certificate this year. Up until this past year, we usually have 3-4 students who complete the Certificate each year. However, as a result of our consistent efforts to promote the Certificate, we had 9 students who did so this year. In fact, this number compares very favorably to many other universities around the country, almost all of whom have much older and more established Asian American Studies programs than we do.

We look forward to building on this momentum and continuing this positive trend for years to come, starting with another academic year starting in the fall.