Program to search for third professor

Dan Murtaugh

The Asian-American studies program will look to hire its third professor beginning in Fall 2002, which might give the program enough personnel to offer a major.

Jock McLane, the program’s director, said Weinberg administrators will form a faculty search committee Fall Quarter to find a third Asian-American studies professor, which will help Asian-American studies become a “full-fledged” program.

“The expectation from the very beginning was that, while we started with a minor, when we have three or four or five faculty members, we would add a major,” said McLane, chairman of the history department. “This is an important step towards achieving that major.”

Weinberg Dean Eric Sundquist said many factors must be considered before the Asian-American studies program offers a major.

“Whether and when the program offers a major depends on the development of sufficient curriculum and student interest in a major, as well as the approval of committees and faculty of the college,” he wrote Wednesday in an e-mail.

Weinberg senior Vishal Vaid will be one of the first two Northwestern students to graduate with an Asian-American studies minor. He said a third professor would provide stability to a program that, in the past, has relied on visiting professors.

“The students will have more courses with qualified professors, and the professors will have a stronger incentive to teach more classes,” he said. “It’s a good vicious cycle.”

The ideal candidate for the program is someone who would come to NU as a tenured professor and be able to direct the program, McLane said. He said the two Asian-American studies professors at NU, Dorothy Wang and Ji-Yeon Yuh, don’t have the experience to head the program.

McLane also hopes the new professor will diversify the program’s study areas. He said he wanted to hire a professor of anthropology, political science or sociology. Wang is an assistant professor of English, and Yuh is an assistant professor of history.

McLane said the two teachers will be instrumental in luring a top professor to the program.

“The two of them are the heart of program,” McLane said. “Nobody’s going to come to Northwestern without meeting them and being attracted by the work they do. They’re both strong scholars, and we expect they’ll help us to attract another strong scholar and teacher.”

Vaid said hiring more professors could only help Wang and Yuh improve the program.

“By adding more professors, the existing faculty feel less pressure to spearhead the program and teach classes at the same time,” Vaid said. “Now with the program and more faculty, it only decreases the pressure and increases the quality of instruction, which is what we hired them for.”