The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Asian and Asian American Faculty Share Experiences with Students

16S Mini-Grant

Participants heard from five wonderful professors who shared their experiences as Asians and Asian-Americans in academia.

16S Mini-Grant

The dinner provided an opportunity for Asian and Asian American faculty to share their experiences with students.

16S Mini-Grant

Many Asian and Asian American professors study intersectional topics that involve subjects including race, gender, and class.

Article Type 

A Rockefeller Mini-Grant provided the opportunity for a faculty dinner discussion in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The dinner provided an opportunity for Asian and Asian American faculty to share their experiences with students. We held the event after sad news came to the Pan-Asian community about one of our dearly loved professors. However, the events before the discussion only made it more personal for the students. As such, it was one of the most intellectual and emotional events I have attended at Dartmouth.

Participants heard from five wonderful professors who shared their experiences as Asians and Asian-Americans in academia. Many students in the room were students of color, so it was a valuable experience hearing their stories, stories often forgotten in mainstream thought. Personally, I came to appreciate the professors discussing the various challenges Asians face in academia. Often, professors have to go lengths to legitimize their research to their peers especially if it is not seen as “traditional.” Many Asian and Asian American professors study intersectional topics that involve subjects including race, gender, and class which forces them to have to go to even more extreme lengths to legitimize their research.

Asian and Asian American individuals also have to think about whether or not an institution is toxic to people of color. These barriers often affect Asian and Asians Americans in terms of obtaining tenure, a subject that has become a hot topic recently at Dartmouth. I was shocked to find that Asian American women are tenured at a rate of 21%, the lowest rate of any gender or ethnic group. What was even more solemn was hearing the various stories behind this statistic.

At the end of the discussion, I was left saddened after hearing the struggles of people I look up to in my community. However, I was also left feeling a sense of appreciation for everything they do for our community and academia in general. Many Asian and Asian-American professors do more than teach in the classroom and do research outside the classroom. They mentor students and advocate for us when we need a voice, a job that is often overlooked by institutions. They put in so much emotional labor for our community fully knowing that they will probably not be recognized nor compensated for their efforts. To many Asian and Asian American students, Asian and Asian American professors serve as people we look up to for help and inspiration.

Overall, this discussion taught me what it means to be a strong and determined individual and one that gives back and looks after those that follow them.

-Submitted by James Wen '19, Rockefeller Mini-Grant Recipient

The Rockefeller Center's Mini-Grants program funds registration fees for students attending conferences, as well as the costs of bringing guest speakers to Dartmouth. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Rockefeller Center or constitute an endorsement by the Center.

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