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First-time grant of $1.57M for success of Asian American, Pacific Islander students


  • February 21, 2012

Cal State East Bay has been awarded a $1.57 million grant by the United States Department of Education to implement the university’s “Student Service Operation to Succeed” program – referred to as Project SSOS – to make admission and career success more accessible for students who are Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI).

CSUEB, which was designated by the Department of Education as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institution in 2008, will use the grant funds to provide specialized services for these students.

“This university has worked hard to provide access so that students of all backgrounds can realize their personal dreams and receive an academically rich, multicultural learning experience,” said Leroy M. Morishita, CSUEB president. “It is important for Asian American and Pacific Islander students to be encouraged and made aware of rewarding educational and career opportunities.”   

The intent of the grant, to be allocated over the next five years, is to increase recruitment, retention and career success of students of the AAPI communities, according to Meiling Wu, CSUEB associate professor of modern languages and literature, and the grant’s principal investigator and program director.

“The goal of Project SSOS is to reach out to underrepresented AAPI students and connect them to high quality resources and a strong foundation to help them graduate from Cal State East Bay,” Wu said. “It is designed to increase the number and proportion of successful AAPI students who will earn degrees and achieve career success.”

Project SSOS is a partnership between various segments of the university, including Academic Affairs; Planning, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs; its four colleges; and numerous community organizations.

“The grant makes it possible to enhance the university’s tutoring, summer preparation, and academic counseling for these students,” said Linda Dobb, interim associate provost. “Our aim is to make its services better known and thus more readily available.”

Working with Wu from the CSU faculty are Kim Geron, professor of political science and project coordinator for retention services, and Evaon Wong-Kim, professor of social science and project coordinator for assessment services.

“Retention services will include both tutoring and mentoring AAPI students to help them achieve their full potential,” Geron said.

“We will be one of the few universities that will design a research protocol and determine how our assistance may improve student learning and career preparedness,” Wong-Kim said.

CSUEB’s Asian/Pacific Islander Faculty and Staff Association is among the other co-sponsors for an annual scholarship fund for these students. One of the association’s members, Michael Leung, is pleased about what the grant can accomplish.

“This grant is an amazing opportunity for us to really delve into the needs of the AAPI community,” said Leung, longtime dean of the university’s College of Science. “It will make a significant difference in the lives of our students and the campus community as a whole. This grant will provide desperately needed academic assistance to neglected minority populations within the Asian community.”

As part of its outreach to the AAPI population in Northern California, Cal State East Bay hosted an Educational Summit Saturday, May 19, on its Hayward Campus, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. It was patterned on the annual summit CSUEB has been hosting annually for nearly a decade for African American and Latino students and their families.

“Working with SSOS on this and other collaborative ventures allows us to really make an impact on potentially thousands of people in California,” said Greg Smith, associate vice president of planning and enrollment management.

Further information about the program is available by contacting the SSOS program via e-mail at or by phone at (510) 885-7767.

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