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Cal State hires first director of new AANHPI program

Timothy Fong, Sacramento State ethnic studies professor and the director of the campus Full Circle Project, will serve as the inaugural executive director of a new California State University (CSU) program for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students.

The program’s central office will be located at Sacramento State Downtown within the department Division of Inclusive Excellence, Sacramento State reported. It will receive an annual $8 million from the state to oversee academic and social services. 

The program will provide grants, technical help, outreach, training and curriculum development to other campuses to support AANHPI students throughout the CSU system.

Vice President of Inclusive Excellence Mia Settles-Tidwell said that Fong was selected after a “comprehensive, robust and national search,” according to Sacramento State.

During Fong’s time managing the campus Full Circle Project, a comprehensive academic support program for AANHPI students, since 2011, Fong gained experience in promoting the needs of the AANHPI student body. His program was recognized by the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Rutgers University as a “Model of Success.”

“Dr. Fong brings multiple years of proven success in serving AANHPI populations, raising supplemental funding for innovative programming and services, and an unwavering commitment to excellence, access and culturally rich experiences,” said Settles-Tidwell to Sacramento State.

Noting that AANHPI students have been traditionally underserved in college, Fong emphasized the necessity to have resources that can help AANHPI families pursue higher education. 

“There are a lot of programs out there, but in some cases, we don’t know if they are actually helping in retaining and graduating students,” said Fong to Sacramento State. “At Sac State, we have the knowledge, the experience and the data to show that we are succeeding. Our goal is to help others in the CSU achieve the same thing.”

Fong said his first action as the program’s director will be to hire staff and furnish the office. He said they will then be able to oversee AANHPI-focused work from other CSU campuses and distribute funds appropriately. 

“I would like the CSU AANHPI student achievement program to be the hub for all CSU campuses to improve student services and curriculum development, especially for Asian American and Pacific Islander students, but really for all students,” said Fong to Sacramento State. “The center will help campuses across the state develop these things in whatever way works for them,” he said. “But I do want to see results.”

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