Shining a Spotlight on FI Alumni, Siqi Tu

Siqi Tu is a former FI fellow, active from 2018-2020. Her formal discipline is Sociology. For more information, check out Siqi’s professional website here:

What field are you currently working in? What is your job title/role? 

I’m currently a postdoctoral fellow for Global Perspectives on Society GPS) at NYU Shanghai. As part of a teaching team, I teach GPS as an introductory humanities and social sciences course to freshmen to create a cohort experience for them as well as encourage and challenge students from all over the world to grapple with multiple perspectives and often conflicting points of views.

What research/projects (if any) are you working on? 

I’m working on the book project that emerged from my dissertation. It is tentatively titled “Destination Diploma: How Chinese Upper-Middle Class Families ‘Outsource’ Secondary Education to the United States” (under contract with Columbia University Press), which investigates why and how Chinese urban upper-middle- class families make educational decisions to send their only children as young as fourteen to the United States for private high schools, and the actual lived experiences of students who come alone to the United States, the so-called “parachute generation. The book illustrates the construction of a transnational elite narrative and the inherent uncertainties of transnationalism through the lens of urban upper-middle-class Chinese parents and their children. 

I am also working on several other collaborative projects on children and youths’ transnational mobility and grass-root and expert-involved civic participation in Shanghai.

How did your time at FI prepare you for your current job role/position?

During my time at FI, I have learned a lot about student-centered pedagogy, pondered about the future of higher education and many of its existing structural problems, and more importantly, refound the joy of true collaborative teamwork. I continue to apply all the pedagogical tool kits I learned and practiced at FI to all the other courses that I am currently teaching. My FI experience has also shown me how collaborative work can be joyous, caring, and creative at the same time. Such experience has encouraged me to engage in more collaborative work in both research and teaching.

 What was your favorite part of the FI experience? 

I am forever indebted to the beautiful souls that I met at FI. Many former colleagues have become an important part of my social support system and we have supported one another during the difficult times of the pandemic. The collegiality that was cultivated by Katina Rogers (the former director of FI) and the caring community FI represents are unfortunately still too rare in the Academe. Learning from the FI experience, I see both how hard it is to create such a community but also the possibility of such existence, and will try my best to cultivate more spaces like that at different institutions. 

What advice would you give current FI fellows/faculty/admin? (for example: advice navigating the professional sector/academia; advice with balancing course work; advice on networking; etc.)

FI is a unique “in-between” space: it is somewhere that intersects research, pedagogy, and higher education administration. With that in mind, it provides us with a new angle to look at the reality of higher educational institutions, not just as only a doctoral student or an adjunct professor, but also a daring role of a potential designer of an equitable system of higher education. I would encourage fellows to take this new angle into all aspects of your career (especially for those who decide to continue their path within the realm of higher education) and see the complexity and the intricated power dynamics within different higher education institution, and thus cultivate your own “in-between” spaces that is caring, supportive, and creative. 


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