The Educational Studies Program at Trinity College is pleased to announce that Jia-Hui Stefanie Wong has been selected as our newest tenure-track Assistant Professor, effective September 2019. Currently in a two-year visiting contract position at Trinity, Professor Wong stood out in our urban and global education faculty search, which attracted a very talented pool of over one hundred applicants.
The search committee praised Professor Wong’s excellence as an innovative instructor and guide for undergraduate student researchers. Her teaching discussion on her Educ 320: Anthropology and Education course demonstrated her skill in scaffolding assignments for small teams to conduct ethnographic research on campus to enrich the course readings. Furthermore, she is preparing to teach a new course, Educ 305: Immigrants and Education, with community-learning research opportunities that will engage Trinity students with diverse Hartford organizations, to creatively connect urban and global elements. Professor Wong also has received high marks from many students, especially women and people of color, on her ability to listen and engage in reflection and dialogue.
The search committee also recognized Professor Wong’s “high promise as a scholar,” based on her dissertation research as well as current and future publications. Her dissertation, “White Dominance in Diverse Schools: The Possibilities and Limits of Multicultural and Social Justice Education,” was based on a 16-month ethnographic study of how students and teachers perceive and challenge inequalities at a racially and socioeconomically diverse high school. The study explored how commitments to equity created some opportunities for students and teachers to critically understand and challenge oppression, yet also perpetuated White supremacy and other structures of power. Drawing on critical race theory and critical Whiteness studies, she argues that “even in multicultural and social justice education, the interests and needs of students of color, immigrant students, and LGBTQ+ students continued to be sidelined.” Professor Wong also has co-authored an article on the racialization of Asian American immigrant students in the journal Educational Studies, authored a chapter for a book that will be published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2019, and has additional journal manuscripts and a book project in development.
Professor Wong’s interdisciplinary training and field-based experiences make her an ideal fit for Trinity College. Professor Wong completed her joint Ph.D. degree in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, she majored in Educational Studies and Political Science, minored in Chinese, and collaborated with faculty on an ethnographic study that she later presented at a research conference. This experience not only shaped her desire to pursue graduate school, but also her dedication to create similar fieldwork and research opportunities for undergraduate students. Professor Wong is also dedicated to advising and mentoring students, especially students of color and first-generation college students. She adds, “My commitment to equity and justice is central to my work. As an Asian American woman and second-generation immigrant, I have experienced firsthand what it means to be part of educational institutions that were not designed for people like me. In my teaching, research, and other parts of my life, I am deeply committed to working to transform institutional and societal structures in ways that challenge systems of oppression.”