In spring 2024, the UNC College of Arts and Sciences will begin the process of hiring three faculty members focused on the area of Asian American studies.
The University moved forward with the hiring process after a student-made petition was created in February by Students for Asian American Studies at UNC (SAAS).
“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," Geneva Collins, director of communications for the college, said in an email on behalf of Dean Jim White.
In the petition, the students requested that the University expand educational opportunities in the field of Asian American studies.
The Asian Americanists will start during the 2024-25 academic year and work across several departments of the University. The term Asian Americanists refers to individuals who have a degree in Asian American studies or experience in the field.
At UNC, one professor will be hired to work in the history department and specialize in Asian American history. Another professor will be assigned to the American Studies department and specialize in pop culture. The final professor will be a part of the English department and specialize in South Asian diasporic literature.
Joanna Yeh, an executive member of SAAS and junior, is one of the students who spearheaded these efforts.
“I’m really excited,” Yeh said. “I’m looking forward to meeting more people with a sense of knowledge that's really been lacking.”
Yeh also said SAAS members officially learned the details of the Asian Americanist cluster hire on Sept. 15 during a meeting with White.