Steinhardt professor receives two million dollar grant

The Kresge Foundation, USA Funds and the Wal-Mart Foundation recently awarded Steinhardt professor Robert Teranishi $2 million to support his research on the Asian-American and Pacific Islander student populace.

Through his project called PEER — Partnership for Equity in Education through Research — Teranishi aims to collect information on AAPI students to help them succeed in their higher education pursuits.

“AAPIs are the fastest growing college student population in America’s colleges and universities,” Teranishi said. “We need a better understanding of this diverse student population in different institutional settings.”

Teranishi, who serves as project director of the National Commission on Asian-American and Pacific Islander Research in Education, said PEER is a three-year plan in which he and his partners will conduct research intended to identify practices, implement interventions and mobilize campus leaders to support greater institutional effectiveness for the AAPI population. It will also share resources for more widespread success by incentivizing AAPI students with academic scholarships.

“Many times, research on the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community is combined into one group, which can often mask many of the challenges that communities face,” said Katie Tran-Lam, APIASF director of communications and marketing. “Robert and his team have helped bring to light many of the most pressing challenges facing the community when it comes to education.”

The research will highlight the importance of Asian American-, Native American- and Pacific Islander-serving institutions in helping America’s national college completion goals and increasing the success of AAPI students.

APIASF president and executive director Neil Horikoshi said the PEER project may reshape the American higher education system and its barriers to meet the needs of AAPI students.

Teranishi is also working closely with De Anza College, City College of San Francisco and South Seattle Community College on the PEER project. These institutions have had frequent success in supporting AAPI students as they pursue degrees, and the institutions will be key project partners over the next three years.

The groups said they awarded Teranishi last month because of his previous work within the AAPI college communities.

Briana Le, a junior at the University of California, Davis, said the research is necessary due to the burgeoning Asian-American demographic in universities.

“As an Asian-American student in school, I’d love to be able to have the resources and the information that specifically affect my demographic,” Le said. “We’re a large group, and we’re only going to continue to grow.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 5 print edition. Marilyn La Jeunesse is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]