Following demands from students, the University of North Carolina is hiring three Asian American Studies professors, reports the Daily Tar Heel.
The new hires will begin in the 2024-25 school year and work across a number of departments. The campus hopes to recruit teachers specializing in American Studies, American history and South Asian diasporic literature.
“The hiring effort was sparked by student interest and the knowledge that North Carolina’s Asian population has become the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the state,” campus communications director Geneva Collins said in an email.
The Washington Post reports the decision by UNC is part of a national trend of college campuses diversifying their course offerings to include the study of Asian Americans.
Jennifer King Rice, the provost at the University of Maryland recently announced she supports the hiring of a tenured track professor in Asian American Studies. Fordham University in New York plans to launch an Asian American Studies minor and Williams College plans its own program as well.
Duke University just graduated its first class of Asian American Studies minors.
Yet fewer than 100 universities offer Asian American Studies programs, the Washington Post stated citing the Association of Asian American Studies.
Students say it’s about time those numbers increase.
“Though it might be later in the grand scheme of bringing Asian American studies to UNC, [it’s] better late than never, and I think that this is a really really awesome first step,” junior Divya Aikat of UNC said to the Daily Tar Heel.
While UNC is hiring three professors, there are no plans in the works to form an Asian American Studies department.
“The general feeling we got from the meeting was that they don’t really have a plan yet because a lot of these types of things move very slowly,” UNC student Joanna Yeh said.
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