Archive of Annual Activities

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

2020-2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the UMass campus to continue with remote instruction and programming for the 2020-2021 year, but the AAASCP was able to implement several organizational improvements, collaborated with numerous departments and offices on important programs and activities, and graduated a healthy number of students (below) who completed the Certificate:

  • Emily Adji, Concentration in Asian Studies
  • Olivia Gebski, Concentrations in Asian Studies
  • Elizabeth Paez, Concentrations in Asian Studies
  • Austin Shifman, Concentrations in Asian Studies
  • Lily Tang, Concentrations in both Asian Studies and Asian American Studies
  • Jordana Townsend, Concentrations in Asian American Studies

Emily Adji     Olivia Gebski     Elizabeth Paez
Austin Shifman     Lily Tang     Jordana Townsend

From left to right. Top row: Emily Adji, Olivia Gebski, and Elizabeth Paez. Bottom row: Austin Shifman, Lily Tang, and Jordana Townsend

They all worked very hard throughout their courses and particularly with their Senior Seminar capstone projects. Completing the Certificate is an important accomplishment and one that they should definitely feel proud of, particularly given the challenges of these past three semesters. It is students like these who sustain the AAASCP and help make it vibrant and dynamic. We wish them the best of luck as they graduate, start the next chapter of their educational journey or their careers, and bring their knowledge and wisdom to their own communities.

The 2020-2021 year included many other highlights. To begin, the AAASCP made two significant organizational additions. The first was the creation of an Executive Advisory Board (EAB). The EAB's mission is to provide input on principles, strategies, and other matters pertaining to the administrative and academic work of the AAASCP and promoting its ongoing success, and to assist the AAASCP is building collaborative relationships with departments, programs, and offices on campus and beyond that will contribute to furthering academic success, equity, and inclusion. I am very excited to finally formalize this EAB and to be able to draw on the individual and collective expertise of each member.

The second major organizational addition to the AAASCP is the creation of a Program Staff (pictures below) of ten highly energetic and committed undergraduate students, most of whom are fulfilling this role as part of UMass's internship program in which they earn three credits a semester for roughly nine hours of work each week. Their duties include fundraising for the AAASCP, serving as ambassadors for the AAASCP, promote the Certificate to the undergraduate student population at UMass Amherst, and build ongoing partnerships and collaborate on AAASCP-related programming with RSOs, the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS), the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center, Asian American-themed Greek organizations, UMass offices and programs and at the other Five College campuses, and with organizations in the larger surrounding communities.

Lily Tang     Liya Liang     Lizette Sta. Maria
Mehak Kang     Nid Kittisapkajon     Shannon Macalingay     Thanh Nha Tran

From left to right. Top row: Lily Tang, Liya Liang, and Lizette Sta. Maria. Bottom row: Mehak Kang, Nid Kittisapkajon, Shannon Macalingay, and Thanh Nha Tran. Not pictured: Caroline Tran, Jenny Ngo, and Portia Chambers.

The creation of both the EAB and Program Staff have already proven to be extremely valuable additions to the AAASCP and have allowed us to significantly expand our outreach and programming, even given the constraints of remote teaching and other activities. In fact, issues related to the pandemic continue to be a central focus for the AAASCP. For example, after the significant increase in the number of anti-Asian acts of harassment, abuse, assault, and violence since the start of pandemic and especially after the hate crime murder of six Asian American women in Atlanta on March 16, 2021, the AAASCP collaborated with several departments and offices in organizing several Zoom panels and seminars that included a mix of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and community members, including:

  • "Perspectives on Covid-19 and Anti-Asian Bias and Xenophobia" panel on Sept. 23, 2020
  • "Asians Are Not a Virus" panel on March 29, 2021
  • "Showing Up with Asian and Asian American Folks: A UMass Amherst Community Forum and Dialogue on Building Solidarity" event on April 5, 2021 with 271 attendees, including Chancellor Subbaswamy giving welcoming remarks
  • "#IAMNOTAVIRUS: Sharing our Stories" panel on April 19, 2021
  • "Take a Stand: Building Black & Asian Solidarity" workshop on April 23, 2021
  • "We Are Not Invisible" panel on April 27, 2021

Each of these events were important opportunities for participants to share our academic expertise and personal experiences with each other and with the audience, and to reinforce our commitment to collaborating with each other to mutually support our programs and our communities that are facing many political, economic, and cultural challenges. In connecting what we teach in the classroom to address real-world challenges, we honor and reinforce the power of higher education to make a meaningful difference in the everyday lives of vulnerable members of the community.

As part of these events focused on addressing anti-Asian hate, the AAASCP released a "Statement on Anti-Asian Racism, Xenophobia, and Gender-Based Violence (March 2021)" and a comprehensive list of Educational and Support Resources on Anti-Asian Hate to educate and support all members of the UMass Amherst community and beyond in dealing with the individual- and institutional-level dynamics of anti-Asian hostility and violence.

Other AAASCP events included the third annual Asian American Film Festival on April 10-11, 2020 and featured films about Vietnamese American women in the nail salon industry and social activism within the Asian American LGBTQ+ community. The AAASCP also conducted its first Alumni Discussion and Networking event on March 3, 2021, in collaboration with the Asian American Students Association, in which almost 70 attendees heard from several AAASCP alums on how the Certificate benefited their lives and careers. The event was a big success and a great way to affirm the mission of the AAASCP and to build closer relationships with all participants going forward. Other events and programs throughout the 2020-2021 year included:

  • "Kristina Wong for Public Office" (Oct. 2020), "Stitch 'n Bitch with the Auntie Sewing Squad" (Feb. 2021), and "Kristina Wong: Sweatshop Overlord" (Mar. 2021), all in conjunction with the Asian & Asian American Arts and Culture Program
  • "AAPI Trivia ParTEA" event on Feb. 22, 2021

As we continually impress upon our Certificate students, as U.S. 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 AAASCP 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 U.S. society.

2019-2020

The 2019-2020 academic year was extraordinary in many ways. Like the rest of the world, life at UMass Amherst was thrown into turmoil in March 2020 due to the CoViD-19 pandemic. Along with transitioning to remote teaching / learning and supporting our students and their families through this difficult period, we as faculty also had to mobilize resources to guard against and respond to anti-Asian discrimination that reemerged during this time (see the section above).

Despite all of these challenges, we still completed another successful year and we congratulate these two students on completing the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate for 2019-2020:

  • Ann Liptak, Concentration in Asian Studies
  • Zoe Shenk, Concentrations in Asian American Studies

Screenshot of virtual student presentation event conducted on Zoom for students completing the UMass Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate and the Five College APA Studies Certificate on May 14, 2020 Screenshot of virtual student presentation event conducted on Zoom for students completing the UMass Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate and the Five College APA Studies Certificate on May 14, 2020

The screenshot above is from the virtual student presentation event conducted on Zoom for students completing the UMass Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate and the Five College APA Studies Certificate on May 14, 2020. Ann and Zoe (along with the three students from the other Five College campuses) worked very hard throughout their courses and particularly with their Senior Seminar capstone projects. Completing the Certificate is an important accomplishment and one that they should definitely feel proud of. It is students like these who sustain the Certificate Program and help make it vibrant and dynamic. Best of luck to them all as they graduate, start their careers, and bring their knowledge and wisdom to their own communities.

The 2019-2020 year included many other highlights. A big thanks and congratulations to the indomitable Lily Tang and the staff of the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center for organizing the second annual Asian American Film Festival that took place Nov. 6-8, 2019 and featured:

The turnout for all three events was outstanding as attendees gained valuable insights into the realm of media and filmmaking and saw different examples of how to incorporate Asian American identity and experiences into their work. Through Lily’s tireless hard work, passion, and energy, the second annual UMass Asian American Film Festival was another resounding success and the Certificate program was thrilled to contribute to this impressive achievement. We are also very grateful to Mike Bow for making this video to promote the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate:

The Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program was also proud to collaborate with the Asian Arts and Culture Program (through the UMass Fine Arts Center) to host Jen Shyu, a groundbreaking vocalist, composer, producer, instrumentalist, and dancer who gave an interactive presentation with students from the UMass Asian and Asian American Residential Community on Nov. 7, 2019.

Faculty who participate in the Certificate program also made important contributions to the campus community and beyond by organizing talks and visits by numerous scholars and activists throughout the academic year that focused on a wide variety of topics, such as a public history and walking tour exhibit on "Waging Peace in Vietnam," exiles from Tibet, transgender health in South Korea, fantasy stories for Japanese Brazilian children, poetry from writer Franny Choi, a reading by 2019 MacArthur 'Genius' Grant winner and UMass faculty Ocean Vuong, the history of Chinese workers on the Transcontinental Railroad project, a talk by Professor Erika Lee on xenophobia in the U.S., and a symposium titled "Amer-Asia: Object Lessons in Early Modern Connectivity."

After the campus transitioned to remote instruction, I was personally very honored to participate in two important online Zoom seminars that focused on emerging issues and dynamics related to the effects of the CoViD-19 pandemic on minority communities:

Some video clips of my comments from each seminar are available at Asian-Nation. I was very privileged to share this (virtual) space with so many wonderful UMass Amherst colleagues, to be able to share our academic expertise and personal experiences with each other and with the audience, and to reinforce our commitment to collaborating with each other to mutually support our programs and our communities that are being threatened politically, economically, and culturally. In reinforcing the mission of the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program, as we individually and collectively continue our fight for justice and equality, let's also remember to celebrate all of the positive and inspiring examples of our experiences, and to draw on the strength, resilience, and power of our families, our communities, and our allies.

2018-2019

Congratulations to the following students for completing the UMass Amherst Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate for 2018-2019:

  • Emily Chin, Concentration in Asian Studies
  • Samantha Huynh, Concentrations in Asian American Studies
  • Dien-Lien Riquier, Concentration in Asian American Studies

From left to right: Emily Chin, Samantha Huynh, Lily Tang (expected completion in 2021), Dien-Lien Riquier, and Ann Liptak (expected completion in 2020) From left to right: Emily Chin, Samantha Huynh, Lily Tang (expected completion in 2021), Dien-Lien Riquier, and Ann Liptak (expected completion in 2020)

In the Fall 2018 semester, the AAASCP collaborated with CMASS and several Asian American student organizations on the first annual UMass Asian American Film Festival. Spearheaded by student Lily Tang and using funds from a Campus Climate Award and other fundraising efforts, this UMass Asian American Film Festival featured works from renowned filmmakers Ken Eng ("My Life in China,” a biographical documentary about his father’s immigration journey from China), Adele Pham ("Nailed It” documenting the rise of the nail salon industry among Vietnamese Americans), and the Wong Fu Productions (“Yappie,” a comedy series about the lives of ‘Young Asian Professionals’). The turnout was outstanding and standing-room only for all three films as attendees got the chance to not only view each film but to also have intimate Q&A and ‘Meet and Greet’ sessions with each filmmakers and to learn about each of their journeys into the realm of media and filmmaking and how they incorporate Asian American identity and experiences into their work. Through Lily’s tireless hard work, passion, and energy, the UMass Asian American Film Festival was a resounding success and the Certificate program was thrilled to contribute to this impressive achievement.

Certificate faculty also participated in a luncheon with representatives from the South Korean Consulate that was also attended by Chancellor Subbaswamy and Kalpen Trivaldi (Director of the International Programs Office), in which attendees worked to develop a professional network aimed at fostering closer academic ties between UMass Amherst and the South Korean government. The Certificate was also proud to host several very successful visits of notable scholars to the UMass and other Five College campuses, including Pei-cha Lan (Distinguished Professor of Sociology, Director of Global Asia Research Center, and Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences at National Taiwan University) and Jeff Chang (Executive Director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University). Throughout the year, we also had a number of lectures, workshops, and/or panels given by or featuring Certificate-affiliated faculty, graduate students, staff, and undergraduate students related to Asian Studies and Asian American Studies on topics such as a Young Leader’s Symposium (hosted by the Massachusetts Asian American Commission), the 2015 Candlelight Revolution in South Korea, indigenous Hawaiian history and culture, the Harvard affirmative action lawsuit, the Japanese American internment, a special Asian American issue of the Massachusetts Review, and “hyper education” among Indian Americans, to name just a few.

The AAASCP is also preparing to commemorate our 20th anniversary -- in the late 1990s, students at UMass Amherst engaged in numerous forms of activism, including protests and occupying the Goodell administration building, to demand the creation of an Asian American Studies program. Their efforts successfully culminated with the creation of a new joint undergraduate program in Asian and Asian American Studies in the Spring of 2000. To mark this anniversary, the AAASCP will collaborate with the Five College Asian Pacific American Studies Certificate Program (FCAPA), whose program was established soon thereafter, to put on a day-and-a-half symposium to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Asian and Asian American Studies at UMass Amherst and the Five Colleges in the Spring of 2020. Toward that end, the AAASCP capped off the academic year by participating for the first time in the UMass Gives annual giving campaign. Since this was the Certificate Program’s first year participating, we had modest goals but using our networks to publicize our goal of raising money to support the 20th anniversary commemoration activities, we raised almost $500 from committed alumni and supporters.

2017-2018

We had three students completed the Certificate this year. While this number is a little lower than in previous years, it still compares favorably to many larger and more established Asian American Studies programs at various universities around the country. In recognizing that quality is just as important as quantity, the Certificate students completed some very interesting, insightful, and impressive capstone projects on the following topics: Exploring Disaster in Japanese Literature and Culture; Asian American Mental Health and Suicide Prevention; and Foreign Tourism in Asian Countries.

The AAASPC was very pleased to partner with numerous offices and programs on campus, such as the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS), the Asian/Asian American Residential Community in Lewis Hall, the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC), and the Asian Arts and Culture Program (AACP), to organize, sponsor, and implement several very successful visits of notable scholars to the UMass campus, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author and faculty in Asian American Studies Viet Thanh Nguyen, Crystal Parikh, Willy Wilkinson, Pam Sakamoto, and Tadashi Nakamura. Throughout the year, we also had a number of lectures, workshops, and/or panels given by or featuring Certificate-affiliated faculty, graduate students, staff, and undergraduate students related to Asian Studies and Asian American Studies on topics such as sacred dances of Hawai’i, Tibetan New Year, a musical performance by the Grammy-nominated “Silk Road Ensemble,” and a multimedia performance "Qyrz Qyz (Forty Maidens)," to name just a few.

Perhaps the highlight of the academic year was the Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Dinner Gala, held on April 26 in the Amherst Room of the Campus Center. Superbly organized by the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC) , this event was attended by close to 100 people and celebrated May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month for the UMass Amherst campus. In addition to delicious Indian and Thai food, the event featured a recognition of several Asian American student organizations and their contributions to the campus community, a lecture by me on the history of social justice activism among Asian Americans, and an amazing multimedia performance by the nationally-acclaimed "No No Boys" duo of Julian Saporiti and Erin Aoyama and their synthesis of film, music, and stories to commemorate the Asian American experience.

Additionally, several Certificate-affiliated faculty had very notable academic successes during the year. As just two examples, Prof. Miliann Kang (Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies) conducted a year-long ethnographic research project on women teachers in South Korea as part of a Fulbright Research Fellowship for the 2017-2018 year. Second, Poet Ocean Vuong, Assistant Professor in the MFA for Poets and Writers program in the English Department, won the prestigious 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize for his debut collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds.

2016-2017

We had four students completed the Certificate this year. While this number is a little lower than in previous years, it still compares favorably to many larger and more established Asian American Studies programs at various universities around the country. In recognizing that quality is just as important as quantity, the Certificate students completed some very interesting, insightful, and impressive capstone projects on the following topics: Asian Exceptionalism: Racial Formation Through Law and the University; Reimaginings: The Asian American Diaspora, Intergenerational Trauma, and Art; Perceptions of Muslims and Counter-Narratives of Islamic Activism; and The History and Development of the Asian American Community in Quincy, MA.The AAASPC was very pleased to partner with numerous offices and programs on campus, such as the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS), the Asian/Asian American Residential Community in Lewis Hall, the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC), and the Asian Arts and Culture Program (AACP), to organize, sponsor, and implement several very successful visits of notable scholars to the UMass campus, including Erin Khue Ninh, Jodi Kim, Ryka Aoki, and Franklin Odo. Throughout the year, we also had a number of lectures, workshops, and/or panels given by or featuring Certificate-affiliated faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students related to Asian Studies and Asian American Studies on topics such as a comedic performance centered on Chinese culture, how the 2016 presidential election affects communities of color, immigrant rights, the regime of Filipino President Duterte, sacred dances of Hawai’i, the legacy of Executive Order 9066 on Asian Americans, a student-led art exhibit on Asian American culture, anti-Blackness in Asian American communities, Asian American feminism and activism, diversity within the South Asian community, and the role of sports in modernizing Asia, to name just a few.

Additionally, several Certificate-affiliated faculty had very notable academic successes during the year. As just two examples, Prof. Miliann Kang (Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies) received a Fulbright Research Fellowship to conduct an ethnographic study of college-educated women in South Korea for the 2017-2018 year. Second, Prof. Richard Chu (History) and I (C.N. Le), along with Prof. Krishna Poudel (Community Health Education), received a grant from the UMass Amherst Center for Racial Justice and Urban Affairs to highlight the health and socioeconomic disparities among Asian Americans in the Springfield, MA area.

2015-2016

The Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program (AAASCP) has completed another productive and successful 2015-2016 year, with four students completing the Certificate. While this number is a little lower than in previous years, it still compares very favorably to many larger and more established Asian American Studies programs at various universities around the country. Overall, I am also very pleased with the overall state and health of the AAASCP and its positive trend over the past few years.

The AAASCP prides itself on contributing to the rich and vibrant academic community of UMass Amherst and the Five Colleges. 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 continue to forge strong collaborative relationships with the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS), the Asian/Asian American Residential Community in Lewis Hall, the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center (YKCC), and the Asian Arts and Culture Program (AACP) and were very pleased to partner with them on several events.

This included the very successful visit of Vietnamese American multi-instrumental artist Vanessa Vo to UMass Amherst on March 4, as Ms. Vo previewed her newest performance “The Odyssey: From Vietnam to America” at Bowker Auditorium, ahead of its formal premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. later that month. She also engaged with students at two smaller campus events in conjunction with my Sociology 240 “The Asian American Experience” course and for the Asian/Asian American Residential Community in Lewis Hall where over 50 students were delighted to interact with her and tried her traditional Vietnamese instruments themselves.

Throughout the year, we also had a strong number of academic talks that focused on numerous aspects and issues related to the Asian American population. These included lectures, workshops, and/or panels given by or featuring Certificate-affiliated faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students on topics such as Asian American women in the workforce, mental health in the Asian diaspora, the growth of international Chinese students studying at UMass, Asian American parenting practices, and compassionate leadership in the 21st century, to name just a few.

Lastly, we finally have our own Facebook page! Please 'like us' to keep updated on current events and news stories related to Asia and Asian America, along with updates, news, and announcements about the Certificate Program, related campus activities, and academic internships, scholarships, conferences, jobs, grants, etc.

2014-2015

The Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program (AAASCP) has completed another productive and successful 2014-2015 year. Eight students completed the Certificate this year. I am very pleased with this number, as it attests to the vibrant and dynamic state of Asian Studies and Asian American Studies at UMass Amherst, and as it compares very favorably to many larger and more established Asian American Studies programs at various universities around the country.

Overall, I am also very pleased with the positive trend over the past few years, which 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 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 partner with them on several events.

Among these was our two-part series of events celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month commemorating the iconic Japanese American community activist Yuri Kochiyama, and her legacy of building multi-racial coalitions and bridging communities across racial lines. The first event featured a keynote by Yuri’s granddaughter Akemi Kochiyama and the second event centered around a panel discussion that included a diverse and distinguished selection of students and faculty who spoke about their inspiring work in continuing Yuri’s commitment to multicultural community building and social equality.

2013-2014

The Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program (AAASCP) has completed another productive and successful 2013-2014 year. We are very pleased that four students completed the Certificate this year and they completed very interesting and relevant projects that analyzed and personified complex issues such as the effect of Japanese anime on the public image of Asian Americans, a multimedia overview and analysis of Yi Soon-Shin and his role in defending Korea against the Japanese invasion of 1592-1598, media representations of Asian women and its effects on sexual health and well-being, and an in-depth biography of a Vietnamese American and her family’s refugee experience.

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 partner with them on several events that included a panel discussion on the relationship between China and the U.S. in the 21st century, the cultural paradox of Asian Americans portrayed as both the “model minority” and the “yellow peril,” and a collaboration with the Five College Asian Pacific American Studies Certificate Program on a half-day symposium that included multidisciplinary reflections on the development of Asian American Studies in the Pioneer Valley during the last 15 years.

Looking ahead to the 2014-2015 year, we are extremely pleased and excited to welcome two new faculty members who will join the UMass Amherst community in the fall -- Moon-Kie Jung in the Sociology department and his wife Caroline Yang in the English department. Both Moon-Kie and Caroline are well-established and respected scholars in their respective fields and have made important intellectual and programmatic contributions to Asian American Studies throughout their careers. We are enthusiastically looking forward to integrating them into the Asian & Asian American Studies Certificate Program very soon.

2012-2013

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 personalities 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. For example, we collaborated with the Asian Arts and Culture Program (part of the UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center) to bring nationally-renowned Asian American performing artist Dan Kwong to perform his "It’s Great 2B An American" multimedia show and to conduct workshops at faculty classes at UMass and 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.

In addition and along with fellow AAASCP faculty colleague Giang Pham in the Communication Disorders department, I became involved with the Vietnamese Health Project, based out of Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. In addition to academics, this broad-based coalition includes students, healthcare professionals, and community organizations such as the Springfield Vietnamese-American Civic Association to identify and begin addressing health issues and disparities for underserved Vietnamese Americans in the Springfield area. Although we are still in the early stages of this project, so far it has been a very rewarding and gratifying experience to meet and work with concerned members from different backgrounds and organizations but who all share the same goals and commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable community members.

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.

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.