Two new research grants awarded to Fresno State for research about Southeast Asians in higher education will cement the university’s reputation as a leading Asian American, Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI).

The awards totaling $211,500 from the California State University Chancellor’s Office are for two projects to address the scarcity of research on the success of Southeast Asian-American students in higher education.

Fresno State, with one of the largest Hmong student populations in the nation, plans to make a substantial contribution to acquiring the knowledge and testing the practices that can support the success of Southeast Asian students, said Provost Lynnette Zelezny, who is leading the grant work.

“The goal of Fresno State is to become a national model of best practices as an AANAPISI,” Zelezny said.

The “Action Research Project” grant award will be co-led by Zelezny and Dr. Yoshiko Takahashi, associate professor in the Department of Criminology, who earlier this year collaborated with Hiromi Kubo, Madden Library faculty member, and Gena Lew Gong, an adjunct Anthropology Department faculty member, to research and present “The Challenges of Mobilizing Asian American Students in the Central Valley” at the Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education national conference. The findings of their preliminary study prompted Fresno State’s Asian Faculty and Staff Association to sponsor them to conduct the more detailed study, “The Academic Challenges of Southeast Asians at Fresno State.”

The second grant for a Campus Data Readiness Project will be co-led by Dr. Angel Sanchez, associate vice president for Institutional Effectiveness. He will collaborate with departments and offices campuswide to collect, validate, analyze and present data supporting Southeast Asian student success. The goal is to enable evidence-based planning and decision-making, to institutionalize best practices and to scale the operations with proven effectiveness across the university’s colleges and the student support services programs.

Fresno State was recently invited to be a partner in the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders. The coalition will work to set a goal for a robust number of college graduates to be produced in the next decade, to produce, share and implement evidence-based practices, and to identify strategies and action plans to reach these goals, Zelezny said.

For more information about the grants, contact Dr. Gil Harootunian, director of university initiatives, at or 559.278.4850.

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