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Welcome to All Eyes on AES

Submitted by Olivia J Hernandez on February 1, 2017 - 3:28pm
Group photo of AES Faculty
AES Faculty pictured together in Spring 2016.

As I begin the second year of my term as AES Chair, there is much to look forward to despite the challenges—political and otherwise—that we will all be facing in the coming academic year. There is always a need to pause and take a look backwards to see how far we have come, but we also need to move forward into the future with an uncompromising commitment to the collective work of faculty, staff, students and community members allied with our department. As is always true, it is in the celebratory moments we showcase in every issue of All Eyes on AES that we find the most authentic manifestation of our commitment to a future that beckons and asks us to remember who we are and where we’re going. Once again, the diverse activities and multiple accomplishments of AES faculty, staff and students that we are proud to share with you in this issue vividly highlight our very best qualities. So, please, join us in reading an array of stories that welcome four new colleagues to the department, that highlight the significant contributions of faculty to mentoring, research, teaching, and scholarship, and that honor the important work AES majors are doing as they join together with faculty to change the world in positive ways.

As this issue demonstrates, we began the year with a daylong retreat that gave AES faculty and staff an opportunity to engage one another in the course of revisiting and revising the department’s mission and considering the ways in which new faculty in the department could help us revitalize the curriculum. Divisional Dean Judy Howard, who met with the group during the final hour of the retreat, commented on the palpable and positive energy she experienced in her interactions with faculty and staff during our conversation. We also began the year by welcoming four new faculty members who will be contributing their expertise to ensure that we are in a position to sustain the range of courses we want to make available to our students. As you will see when you meet them in a moment, our new colleagues are as committed to our students and the larger community as they are to their scholarly endeavors.

In addition to these two stories, you will have an opportunity to learn about what three faculty members who retired at the end last year are up to. During their more than 80 combined years of service to AES, Professor Tetsuden Kashima, Steve Sumida, and Gail Nomura provided incredible leadership at the same time that they taught very popular courses in their areas of specialization. Because we hope they will continue to stay connected to the work we do in AES, we have provided them with an AES office that they can share as emeritus faculty. The accomplishments of our continuing faculty also shine brightly in this issue. Where Professor Lauro Flores’s distinguished community service award from the Multicultural Alumni Partnership demonstrates the high esteem in which AES faculty are held in the larger community, Professor Rick Bonus’s new appointment as editor of the Asian American History and Culture book series at Temple University Press and Professor Erasmo Gamboa’s new book, Bracero Railroaders: The Forgotten World War II Story of Mexican Workers in the U.S. West, illustrate the AES faculty’s enduring commitment to sustained scholarship that adds to our understanding of the communities we represent in the larger society.

These are of course only a few examples of the meaningful contributions that our faculty, staff, and students have already made this year. Together, these stories provide a glimpse into the rich possibilities that play themselves out in AES every single day. Keep in mind that we also want to hear your stories—whether you’re AES alumni, friends, current students or community partners—so that we can join you in celebrating and sharing your accomplishments in a future installment of All Eyes on AES. So, please, stay in touch and let us know what you’re up to. In the meantime, enjoy reading the stories in this issue and join us in working to forge new connections as we continue to strengthen the many bonds we already share.

Juan Guerra

Professor & Chair

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