Per-capita, Utah has the largest number of Pacific Islanders in the continental United States. The community continues to grow at a rapid rate, with U.S. Census figures showing the population increasing by more than sixty percent between 2000 and 2010 alone. Utah also has the continental U.S.’s most historically significant Pacific Island community. Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint have been active in the Pacific Islands since 1844, and Pacific Islanders have lived in Utah continuously since the late 1870s. This Utah community, initially comprised primarily of Native Hawaiians, now includes Tongans, Samoans, Fijians, Tahitians, Maori, Cook Islanders, Guamanian/Chamorro peoples, and people of virtually every other Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian heritage. Part of a diaspora, members of the community travel frequently between the American West and the Pacific and are tightly linked to other Pacific Islanders through shared traditions, religions, family practices, and business connections.

The Pacific Island Student Association, the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, the Office of Equity and Diversity, and the University’s Pacific Island Faculty and Staff, along with their numerous allies, are very excited about the prospect of building a Pacific Island Studies program to support student recruitment, retention, and graduation efforts, as well as to serve the broader community. A network of Pacific Islanders who serve in key student support roles across campus including in the admissions office, the Diversity Scholars Program, the Communication Department, the Eccles School of Business, and Architecture are eager to help put in place a systematic Pacific Islander student success plan for every college in the University. We look forward to working with new Pacific Islander Studies faculty who are hired in the coming years to achieve these goals.

To learn more about Utah’s Pacific Island Community see:


Job Postings

Assistant/Associate/Professor of Pacific Islander History

The Department of History at the University of Utah seeks to appoint a tenure-line faculty member, rank open, in the history of the Pacific Islands, of Pacific Islanders in the U.S. West, or of colonialism/imperialism in the Pacific Islands. The successful candidate will be expected to demonstrate a strong commitment to research and teach at all levels of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. This position is part of a larger University-wide initiative in Pacific Islander Studies (http://diversity.utah.edu/pacific-islander-studies-initiative/) and includes the expectation of community engagement. Candidates with experience working in collaboration with Pacific Islander communities are especially encouraged to apply. Applications should include a letter of application, a c.v., and a writing sample and should be submitted online by October 24, 2016, attention Janet Theiss, search committee chair. Initial interviews will be conducted by Skype.

Assistant Professor/Associate Professor/Professor

The University of Utah School for Cultural and Social Transformation, home to the Divisions of Ethnic and Gender Studies, invites applications for an open rank position in Pacific Island Studies. Tenure will be held in the School in either or both Divisions in consultation with the successful candidate. Applicants are encouraged to apply who engage in interdisciplinary or discipline-based research, feminist and/or gender studies, historical, or contemporary dimensions of the Pacific Islands/ Oceania Studies and diaspora. The successful candidate will be expected to demonstrate a strong commitment to research and teaching. The University of Utah values candidates who will contribute to a vibrant scholarly climate.