California State University, Fullerton

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Community Input Sought for Vietnamese Program

Vietnamese American Education Advisory Council Will Help Shape Planned Degree

Feb. 8, 2012

Cal State Fullerton is moving one step closer to a bachelor’s degree program in Vietnamese, thanks to the joint efforts of the University’s College of Education and College of Humanities and Social Sciences, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

As part of the grant ($238,000 awarded in 2009, under the sponsorship of U.S. Rep. Ed Royce who graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 1977 with a B.A. in business administration-accounting), humanities and education faculty members and administrators have been working to establish Vietnamese as a degree program, complete with a major, a minor and an international business concentration in Vietnamese, as well as Vietnamese teaching credentials.

This week, they announced the formation of a Vietnamese American Education Advisory Council as a critical step in the development of the Vietnamese teaching programs.

Natalie A. Tran, assistant professor of secondary education and co-chair of the council, expects council members to provide input in shaping the new credential programs for Vietnamese language teachers in K-12 schools. A Vietnamese teaching credential and a bilingual authorization would provide formal training of future teachers teaching Vietnamese language classes and dual-language programs, she said.

“Each member brings a diverse perspective and that is the strength of the advisory council,” Tran said. “We want to be very inclusive and we want to hear all the different voices.”

The newly appointed members of the Vietnamese American Education Advisory Council include:

  • Natalie A. Tran, CSUF assistant professor of secondary education and council co-chair
  • Tam T. Nguyen, CSUF Class of 2005 MBA graduate, owner of Advance Beauty College and council co-chair
  • Dzung Bach, La Quinta High School teacher
  • Grace Cho, CSUF chair of secondary education
  • Huy Chung, UC Irvine doctoral student
  • Andrew Hoang, CSUF computer science major and Vietnamese Student Association president
  • Kristine Huynh, La Quinta High School student
  • Billy Le, president of the Union of the Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California
  • Gia Ly, CSUF Class of 2002 graduate, B.A. business administration, Westminster Community Service and Recreation commissioner
  • Bao Nguyen, Garden Grove Unified School District trustee
  • Lan Nguyen, Garden Grove Unified School District trustee
  • Leon Nguyen, La Quinta High School teacher
  • Ngoc-Lan Nguyen, La Quinta High School parent and Nguoi Viet Daily News reporter
  • Jamison Power, Westminster School District trustee
  • Cindy Tran, La Quinta High School student
  • Dat Tran, CSUF math major and Vietnamese Student Association member
  • Dawn Tran, Ralston Intermediate School teacher

As a parent of a kindergartner in the Fountain Valley Unified School District, Tam T. Nguyen said he and many other parents of Vietnamese heritage are looking forward to the university’s Vietnamese programs.

“There definitely is a need for Vietnamese language teachers and other professionals who speak Vietnamese in Little Saigon,” he said. “All the research I've been reading shows that kids with multiple language skills are able to develop their brains and equip themselves with the tools to be more successful later in life. Who wouldn't want that for their children?”

Over the last four years, CSUF has added five Vietnamese language courses to the curriculum, and about 100 students currently are enrolled. Faculty members and administrators are drafting other courses on Vietnamese culture and area studies in English and Vietnamese, with consultation from leaders in the Vietnamese community as part of the development of a bachelor's degree program.

Additional information about the council and the credential programs is available from Tran at 657-278-5481 or natran@fullerton.edu, and information about the bachelor’s degree is available from Mitch Avila, associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at 657-278-2272 or mavila@fullerton.edu.

By: Mimi Ko Cruz, 657-278-7586

Tags:  Campus UpdatesCommunity