Ethnic Studies Dean Amy Sueyoshi to become next SF State provost, VP of Academic Affairs
After 20 years at SF State, Amy Sueyoshi steps into the role as provost and the VP of academic affairs
April 21, 2022
Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies Amy Sueyoshi was shocked when they were chosen to be the next provost and vice president of Academic Affairs atSF State. They are set to begin the role on July 1.
The news came to Sueyoshi from SF State President Lynn Mahoney while they were having breakfast together before the announcement. Since it was still during the interview process at the time, Sueyoshi was surprised Mahoney offered them the job.
Mahoney announced the news April 1 via email. Mahoney highlighted Sueyoshi’s achievements, such as increasing enrollment in the College of Ethnic Studies while the university’s overall enrollment has decreased.
“At SF State, Dr. Sueyoshi has a successful record of increasing student enrollment, enhancing student success, supporting shared governance, promoting equity and implementing new programs,” Mahoney said in the email.
Sueyoshi was urged to apply for the provost position by many of their colleagues whom they did not name out of confidentiality. According to Mahoney, Sueyoshi was the only candidate from SF State to be in the final four candidates for the position.
Sueyoshi has worked at SF State since 2002, starting as an assistant professor in Sexuality Studies and Race and Resistance Studies, then eventually becoming the dean of the College of Ethnic Studies in 2018.
As the dean, they accomplished many goals such as helping implement a 12-unit certificate program for incarcerated youth and adding a new Pacific Islander and Oceana Studies minor.
“San Francisco State means so much to me; it’s given me so much opportunity, both as a faculty member and as a higher ed. administrator,” Sueyoshi said. “And for that, I’ve come to both love this institution, and feel deeply indebted to it.”
The current provost, Jennifer Summit, worked with Sueyoshi for eight years. Summit said that one of the biggest shifts from a dean going into a provost role is that they will be working with not just one college, but every college.
“It’s an intense job, there are so many divisions in academic affairs, and each of them plays an incredibly important role,” Summit said. “So the challenge is keeping them all in focus, as well as supporting them all to be working together collaboratively and moving in the same direction.”
Sueyoshi grew up mainly in San Mateo, but their family was among the first Japanese families to integrate into San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood during the late 1960s. Their conservative father was the only one in the family who voted in elections since their mother was not a citizen until her 60s.
They said that instead of receiving toys as a child, their mother gave them books regarding the United States’ Japanese internment camps during World War II.
“I grew up very much aware of power and influence and the dangers of colonialism and racism,” Sueyoshi said. “These are all things that were very much embedded in me as a child.”
Sueyoshi credited their mother for raising them to believe in building and maintaining their community. They said that their family had mixed reactions to them coming out as queer.
“Most women of color don’t have a classic story of only being with women,” Sueyoshi said. “They have an existence where they’re straight for a little bit before coming out. So, I think that was difficult for my mom to kind of wrap her head around.”
During the nine months that she’s been on campus, VP of Student Affairs Jamilliah Moore hasn’t spent a lot of time with Sueyoshi. Regardless, she is confident Sueyoshi will quickly become accustomed to their new role.
“I have a feeling that Dr. Sueyoshi will be able to come in and hit the ground running on issues of accreditation,” Moore said. “Obviously, the work we’re doing around [graduation initiative] 2025. And all the support and assistance we’re working through on strategic plan and on enrollment.”
Sueyoshi said they haven’t thought about their legacy, but their main goal is to serve the campus community to the best of their ability.
“I really just want to be known as a compassionate and kind person. That’s really my primary sort of what I consider most valuable thing for me as a person,” Sueyoshi said.