Dr. Rands came to APSU in 2012 after teaching for five years at Frostburg State University
in western Maryland. He received his PhD in History in 2011 from the University of Southern California, where his dissertation was titled “The Development of Korean Communities in Japan:
Migrant Interactions with Urban Environments.” This was developed into his monograph Function-Based Spatiality and the Development of Korean Communities in Japan: A Complex
Adaptive Systems Theory Approach published in 2014 by Lexington Books. Dr. Rands currently has wide-ranging research
interests including continued study of function-based spatiality, historical theory,
and comparative history. He has presented his research at conferences for the Association for Asian Studies, the Social Science History Association, and the conference of the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research, amongst other venues.
In addition to his doctorate, Dr. Rands holds a BA from Brigham Young University, where he majored in History and Asian Studies, and MA in International Relations
from Ritsumeikan University, located in Kyoto, Japan. He has also spent several years at Kyoto University as a research student, and most recently, has completed the Postdoctoral Bridge Program at the University of Florida’s Hough Graduate School of Business where he specialized
in international business and entrepreneurship.
Dr. Rands is an expert on Japan, and has a deep understanding of many facets of the
nation’s history, culture, and people. His experiences of living in Japan began when
he took a two-year break from his undergraduate studies to serve a religious mission
in the central part of the country. After returning and graduation, he began working
for a Japanese company in his hometown of Los Angeles, and then partook of the opportunity
to work in the city of Himeji as part of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. Life in Himeji allowed Dr. Rands to see aspects that were unavailable as a missionary,
and after three years, he and his wife moved to Kyoto, where they resided for the
next six years. It was in Kyoto that his eldest of two daughters was born, and Dr.
Rands considers Kyoto his home when he is in Japan.
Dr. Rands has utilized his familiarity with Japan since moving to Clarksville, where
he lives with his wife and two daughters. Often he takes students to Japan where they spend up to three weeks traveling across the country, and since 2015 he
has spent time as a visiting scholar at Doshisha University where he teaches students
from the University of New Orleans while they are in Japan. He also works with the Japan-America Society of Tennessee and mobilizes volunteers for the Memphis Japan Festival and the annual Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. Dr. Rands is the immediate facilitator of a Japan Outreach Initiative Coordinator, who works to highlight Japanese culture at the university and in the
community. He has also facilitated a partnership between the Clarksville-Montgomery
County School System and Austin Peay State University to incorporate Japanese and
Korean languages into their offerings. This foreign language partnership enabled Clarksville to have the only secondary schools in the state to offer Korean
and Japanese. Likewise, the partnership provided resources for the university’s Asian
On campus, Dr. Rands serves as the Coordinator of the Asian Studies Program and the faculty adviser for the Asian Studies Club. He has organized a Japanese business customs seminar for students and helped students successfully apply for the JET Program so they can go work in Japan after graduation. Additionally, Dr. Rands has brought
traditional performers such as Katsura Sunshine and Global Culture Nasu, as well as scholars and dignitaries from the Walk in the US, Talk on Japan and New Voices from Japan programs. He has been instrumental, as the university has hosted delegations from
both the Consulate General of Japan in Nashville and the Consulate General of Korea in Atlanta. Dr. Rands sees these interactions as vital opportunities for students to expand
their worldviews and experience cultures far removed from middle Tennessee. He says
that one of his greatest pleasures is seeing how students can really come to appreciate
Asian cultures and want to understand it beyond the stereotypes.
Dr. Rands teaches a number of courses beyond the survey courses in world history.
They include national histories of China, Korea, and Japan, as well as thematic courses
such as Japan through anime and manga, transpacific film, and samurai traditions.
He has even taught beginning Japanese language and courses in international business.
Dr. Rands’ classes are discussion-based and he is frequently posing questions to encourage
students to think about the material and its implications. His emphasis on critical
thinking skills can be understood through his often-declared motto, “If you leave
class without a trickle of blood coming from your ear because you’ve been thinking
so hard, we haven’t done enough.”