Teachers College Press 

Asians in the Ivory Tower
Dilemmas of Racial Inequality in American Higher Education

Robert T. Teranishi
Foreword by Marcelo M. Sußrez-Orozco
Multicultural Education Series
Pub Date: September 2010, 216 pages

Paperback: $34.95, ISBN: 0807751308
Cloth: $68.00, ISBN: 0807751316
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Asians in the Ivory Tower covers so much critical territory and shatters so many myths, prejudices, and misunderstandings that I simply cannot do justice to all it achieves. . . . [It] is a gift to all American citizens who struggle to understand their rapidly changing world.”
—From the Foreword by Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education, New York University

“This book makes a major contribution to the literature on higher education demographics and the educational importance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.”
Jamie P. Merisotis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lumina Foundation for Education

“Robert Teranishi's work does much more than challenge the model minority myth about Asian Americans. It breaks the blockage of stereotypes and reveals beneath it all the complexity of the Asian Pacific Islander American experience in higher education.”
Robert Underwood, President, University of Guam, Former U.S. Congressman

“For too long studies of racial and ethnic equity in higher education, my own included, have glossed over the experience of Asians and Pacific Islanders. Using data gathered from his many studies and supplemented with national databases, Rob Teranishi brings to light the many identities and educational experiences underneath the all-encompassing category of Asians that studies of equity must taken into account. This book has been long needed by the community of higher education scholars, leaders, and policymakers.”
Estela Mara Bensimon, Co-Director, Center for Urban Education, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

Highly respected scholar Robert Teranishi draws on his vast research to present this timely and compelling examination of the experience of Asian Americans in higher education. Asians in the Ivory Tower explores why and how Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are important to our nation’s higher education priorities and places the study of AAPI college participation within a broad set of conditions through which all students must navigate as they pursue higher education. Teranishi captures the intersections of individual agency, social conditions, and organizational structures as synergetic forces that result in a range of postsecondary outcomes for subpopulations within the larger body of AAPIs. Transcending narrow generalizations about this understudied population, this seminal book:

  • Debunks false stereotypes about AAPI students and their educational trajectories.
  • Offers a unique empirical perspective on racial stratification in higher education through case studies that mix quantitative data with narratives of lived stories.
  • Examines the educational experiences and routes to college for AAPIs, and examines broader issues around racial inequality and debates about affirmative action.
  • Captures the nuances and complexity of race, offering theoretical perspectives that can be applied to other populations.

Robert T. Teranishi is associate professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and principal investigator of the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education, both at New York University.

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