AARCC Director Transition


AARCC Director Transition Announcement from Karen Su

I am writing to inform you about an important director transition at the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center. I recently accepted a clinical faculty position in UIC’s Asian American Studies Program, where my new role will be to serve as the Principal Investigator and Project Director of the
UIC Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions(AANAPISI) Initiative. I am very pleased to announce that Liz Thomson, former Assistant Director at the Gender and Sexuality Center, has been appointed interim director of AARCC and will provide key transitional
leadership for the center.

It has been a great honor to serve as founding director and lead AARCC toward realizing the vision of the student activists who lobbied to establish the center. It’s been gratifying to work with so many passionate AARCC staff and student leaders over the past eight years to institutionalize the hallmark programs and resources that the center is known for. I am very happy that I am not going far and that in my new role, I will still be working very closely with AARCC to continue enhancing the
resources and support that UIC provides for Asian American students. AARCC is in good hands with a strong staff on board: assistant director Elvin Chan, associate director Jeffrey Alton, and interim director Liz Thomson. Most of all, so many of you are the ones who contribute actively to AARCC’s
vitality through your dedicated involvement and participation in the center’s activities. You will always be the driving force of the AARCC community.

Liz Thomson is a friendly and familiar face to many in the Asian American community at UIC as she has been an active AARCC Advisory Board member for numerous years. She is also the advisor for Asian American Students in Alliance (AASIA); she taught ASAM 263: Asian American Genders and
Sexualities in 2011-2012; and co-created the Asian American Safe Zone 101. Off campus, Liz is a beloved community activist known throughout Chicagoland as a skilled and passionate educator and advocate. She has connected UIC with the Chicago Dyke March; National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum; National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance; Invisible 2 Invincible: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago; and the Transformative Justice Law Project. Liz is also the co-chair of the OUT for Work National LGBTA Career College Conference, which will take place at UIC for the second time this fall.

Liz earned her Master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies at Roosevelt University. She has held several key positions at UIC’s Gender and Sexuality Center, including interim director from 2008-10. Her commitment to intersectional programming and identities at GSC will be a strong asset to
AARCC. AARCC is one of UIC's Centers for Cultural Understanding and Social Change, which reports to the Office of Diversity. Liz will join the other center directors in their continued collaborations across UIC.

Reflecting on the transition, Liz said, “I'm really looking forward to providing stability and support for AARCC during this transitional time period and making sure that the students’ needs are still high priority. I have always felt like part of the AARCC family. I look forward to the opportunity and continuing the education and community that Karen Su, Cori Kodama (former Associate Director), Elvin Chan, and Jeff Alton have built so far.”  

Please join me in welcoming Liz to AARCC!

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to note that the former PI and Project Director of the AANAPISI Initiative, Kevin Kumashiro, accepted a new position as Dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco. I want to extend our deepest and most heartfelt thank you to him for all of the contributions he has made to UIC in his time here. The Asian American Studies Program and the AANAPISI Initiative were only a small part of his legacy. His undaunting leadership and advocacy on behalf of students, staff, and faculty throughout many sectors of UIC has made a tremendous impact on UIC. He will be profoundly missed.

Karen Su

*Please update your contact information for Liz Thomson and Karen Su. Email addresses are the same, but other information has changed:

Liz Thomson, Interim AARCC Director

Asian American Resource and Cultural Center (MC 203)

101 Taft Hall



Karen Su, Director of UIC AANAPISI Initiative

Asian American Studies Program (MC 231)

1024 University Hall