Professor David K. Yoo, director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, on May 20 announced the appointment of Professor Robert Teranishi as the inaugural holder of the Morgan and Helen Chu Endowed Chair in Asian American Studies, effective this fall, along with his appointment as professor of education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Robert Teranishi

Teranishi’s research examines the causes and consequences of the stratification of college opportunities, with a particular interest on the impact of higher education practice and policy on the mobility of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities.

He is the author of numerous publications, including the critically acclaimed “Asian Americans in the Ivory Tower: Dilemmas of Racial Inequality in American Higher Education” (Teacher’s College Press, 2010).

Teranishi’s research has influenced federal, state, and institution policy related to college access and completion. He has testified before Congress on the Higher Education Reauthorization Act, the College Cost Reduction and Affordability Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

His research has been referenced in U.S. Supreme Court cases on desegregation and affirmative action, and he recently provided strategic planning and restructuring consultation for the Ford Foundation.

Currently a faculty member at New York University, Teranishi has received NYU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Faculty Award and the Daniel E. Griffiths Research Award. In 2011, he was appointed by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.

Teranishi received his B.A. in sociology from UC Santa Cruz and his M.A. and Ph.D. in higher education and organizational change from UCLA.

“It is an honor and privilege to be the inaugural Morgan and Helen Chu Professor at UCLA,” stated Teranishi. “I am eager to arrive and get engaged with faculty and students in Asian American studies and the broader campus community around my interests in improving the educational experiences and outcomes of Asian American and Pacific Islander students.”

The Chus are both UCLA alumni and longtime and generous supporters of the center. A leading intellectual property attorney, Morgan Chu is a recipient of the UCLA Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the university. He received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from UCLA, a M.S.L. from Yale, and a J.D. from Harvard, and has been named one of the “Top Ten Trial Lawyers” in the nation. Helen Chu served for many years as elementary school teacher and along with her husband was among the founders of the center.

“It is wonderful news that such an accomplished scholar as Professor Teranishi will be joining the UCLA faculty and the center, and we are excited that the Chu Endowed Chair will support his program of research in Asian American Studies,” the couple said in a statement.

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