AAS Member Spotlight: Teresa Chi-Ching Sun

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Dr. Teresa Chi-Ching Sun, retired from California State University at Los Angeles and Long Beach, Whittier College, and University of California, Irvine. Now and teaching at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at California State University Long Beach campus.

Chinese cultural history and higher education.

How long have you been a member of AAS?

I have been a member of AAS since 1969 or 1970.

Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues?

I joined the AAS, because of my academic interest. As a long established organization in the U.S., AAS has been the best platform for scholars to share their research,  ideas, and perspective in the future. Its annual conference attracted participation of the country's most knowledgeable scholars and respected academia. Young scholars are provided opportunities to communicate and discuss research interests with leading scholars. 

How did you first become involved in Asian Studies?

I became involved in Asian Studies because of my urge to meet and communicate with teachers of other institutions. The small number of faculty and limited research materials in Asian Studies at most American higher educational institutions foster a need for faculty to seek opportunities and exchange opinions with scholars in the same field.   

What do you enjoy most or what have been your most rewarding experiences involving your work in Asian Studies?

I enjoyed attending panels and learned from research papers.  The genuine insights on Asian affairs by the many presenters are profoundly inspiring. The AAS program organizers have always arranged an "Individual Paper Panel" for those lacking research contact with others. It not only took care of "lone" researchers, but also encouraged endeavors of scholars whose topics might not fit into the then popular interest, but proved to be worthy projects carried through at a later time. I was benefited by this policy.          

Tell us about your current or past research.

My teaching career has been built on and enriched by studies of two fields: Chinese literature in Taiwan and education in the U.S.. The combination of the two fields is uniquely harmonized in my teaching and research projects. My life experience, growing up and lived in many cities in China, Taiwan, and the U.S. sharpened my awareness and broadened my vision on issues related to Asian Studies. 

What advice or recommendation do you have for students interested in a career in Asian Studies?

My recommendation to young scholars is to be "visionary". Scholars in Asia are far advanced in research about their own countries' past and current situation.  It would be more realistic to explore and research with a comparative studies approach.  The Eastern and Western worlds are getting closer and communication more frequent.  Comparative studies in literature, social sciences, and historical development would be welcomed by most people.

Outside of Asian Studies, tell us some interesting facts about yourself.

I have consistently contributed time and effort serving on Chinese cultural societies and my local community, such as local performing arts center, library, and multicultural committee. I have made use of my participation to introduce Asian and Chinese cultures to community people, such as help performance of Chinese music and instruments with Western orchestra, producing Music and Dance along the Silk Road and A Taste of Chinese Opera.

"The small number of faculty and limited research materials in Asian Studies at most American higher educational institutions foster a need for faculty to seek opportunities and exchange opinions with scholars in the same field."

— Teresa Sun