Grace Yoo named dean of SF State’s College of Ethnic Studies

Author: Strategic Marketing and Communications
May 25, 2023
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Photo Credit: Pamela Palma

Yoo has served in various SF State roles for nearly three decades

Following a formal search, Grace Yoo has been selected to serve as the next dean of San Francisco State University’s College of Ethnic Studies effective July 1, 2023. She currently serves as a professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State.

Yoo has worked in higher education for over 30 years, 27 of which have been at SF State. She began as an Asian American Studies lecturer faculty member in 1996 and 18 years later became chair of the same department, serving in that role until 2018.

“Dr. Yoo is an excellent community organizer in addition to being an award-winning sociologist who is also exceptional at securing grant funding,” said Amy Sueyoshi, SF State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The skills and passion that she has are much needed not only in the classroom and in higher education but also here at SF State. We are so grateful to Dr. Yoo for continuing to make our University a place of learning and love.”

Yoo also held a number of positions at SF State, such as the inaugural director for both the Race, Empowerment and Justice Project in the College of Ethnic Studies and the First-Year Experience Initiative. In the latter role, she facilitated the implementation of First-Year Seminar, led faculty development efforts on the First-Year Experience, created the First-Year Experience Peer Mentorship program and produced several University reports examining first-year retention during COVID-19. 

Yoo has also served as a project director for a number of extramural grants. Most notably, the U.S. Department of Education awarded her SF State’s first Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) grant. This grant and subsequent ones have totaled over $5 million for culturally responsive outreach, student support and faculty development to decrease equity gaps and increase college access, retention and graduation rates.

“The College of Ethnic Studies — which is the ‘beating heart’ of SF State — has been my home and purpose for nearly 27 years,” Yoo said. “I am so excited to support our students, staff, faculty and communities with the high-impact practices of ethnic studies teaching, service, research, scholarship and creative activities. Centering care, equity and social justice in our work is my joy and commitment.”

Yoo earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from University of California, Irvine, her master’s degree in Public Health from Loma Linda University and her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, San Francisco. Her research expertise is in social support and health among immigrants, women of color and Asian Americans. Yoo’s book “Caring Across Generations: The Linked Lives of Korean American Families,” co-authored with Barbara Kim, won the Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association Asian/Asian American section.

Yoo replaces Amy Sueyoshi, who became SF State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs in July 2022. Catrióna Rueda Esquibel, associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, has served as interim dean.

Learn more about SF State’s College of Ethnic Studies.