Photo of Su, Karen

Karen Su, PhD

Clinical Assistant Professor

GLAS Director of Undergraduate Studies

Global Asian Studies


Building & Room:

1024 UH


601 S Morgan St.

Office Phone:

(312) 996-8530


Karen Su teaches GLAS 120 (Introduction to Asian American Studies), GLAS 263 (Asian American Gender and Sexual Diversity), and GLAS 250 (Critical Issues in Community Engagement.) She also coordinates and teaches the practicum for off-campus GLAS internships. She helped to create GLAS 105 seminars for the Asian American Mentor Program and for the on-campus internships, and has taught seminars on Asian American children's literature, graphic novels, and life stories. She started teaching ASAM 125, the Introduction to Asian American Studies, in 2006 before the Asian American Studies program was formally established. She also co-taught a Study Abroad course to Japan in summer of 2014, Crosscurrents of American and Japanese Cultures, with Visiting Prof. Laura Fugikawa.

Prof. Su serves as the Principal Investigator and Project Director of the UIC AANAPISI Initiative. The Initiative encompasses a total of four grants spanning from 2010-2026, providing $7.1 million to support the enhancement of programs and activities that improve the educational outcomes and experiences of Asian American, Pacific Islander, English language learner, and low-income undergraduate students at UIC. The UIC AANAPISI Initiative is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions Minority Serving Institutions grant program.

In her creative work, Prof. Su focuses on children’s picture books featuring Asian American life stories. She was chosen to participate in a mentorship program with Maya Gonzalez at Reflection Press in 2017 and was a We Need Diverse Books mentee in 2018. One of her current works-in-progress focuses on the story of Yuki Llewellyn who was incarcerated as a child at Manzanar during WWII.

Prof. Su has been at UIC since 2004 and was the founding director of the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center (AARCC). She established many of the first Asian American Studies initiatives through AARCC before ASAM became an official program in 2010, such as the ASAM Advisory Board, ASAM Lecture Series, ASAM Knowledge Bowl, ASAM Expo. Prof. Su has been recognized for her service to UIC with the Chancellor’s Academic Professional Excellence (CAPE) Award in 2010 and the Award of Merit in 2008.


BA in English literature and Chinese studies – Mount Holyoke College

MA in Chinese literature – Stanford University

PhD in English literature – UC Berkeley