Document Type





Imagining America


Arts and Humanities


John Kuo Wei Tchen, director of the Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program and Institute and associate professor of the Gallatin School for Individualized Study and the History Department of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, New York University, brings to life three imagined students, who reflect the experiences of many real students. On behalf of “Alice,” “Alicia,” and “Ai Ling,” Tchen asks, “What must we be doing in our classrooms?” and “What must we be doing in our communities?” From the dilemmas faced by these students, Tchen draws lessons for higher education. He envisions a university that adopts “an intercultural version of Ernest Boyer’s recommended tenure reforms;” partners with communities “nearby and beyond;” supports projects that combine coursework, service learning, and study abroad; and offers “language curricula enlivened by engagements with language speakers in living communities.” With a passionate focus on undergraduate education and student mentoring, a keen sense of the challenge posed to higher education by the global importance of Asia and by non-Eurocentric forms of knowledge, and wisdom about the power of dialogue, Tchen challenges us to re-think our curricula and our institutional responsibilities to our students.

Additional Information

This article is from Imaging America Forseeable Futures, for more information, please see:


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