Greetings from a New Member of the FI team
Hope all of you are surviving the usually hectic first week of a new semester and are gradually settling into a new schedule of work-life balance. My name is Siqi Tu, a new graduate fellow of the Futures Initiative, and the web developer/research analyst of the team. I am also a PhD candidate in sociology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. I started to get involved with FI team upon accepting the fellowship over this spring and feel extremely honored and lucky for the opportunity to work with this amazing group of people. FI advocates greater equity and innovation in higher education at every level of the university and I am thrilled to see that in our daily practices of “the revolutionary office meeting”, the past Thursday Dialogues, the University Worth Fighting For series, and the Undergraduate Leadership and Peer Mentoring program. As a participant in the past, I feel empowered to see that changes are possible, and I am now ready to be an organizer, leader, and collaborator with my colleagues to advance that mission.
My scholarly work focuses on the intersection of (im)migrants, education, urban spaces, and social stratification. My dissertation work is on Chinese upper-middle-class families sending their only children to the United States for private high school education, or as the New York Times called them, the “parachute generation”. Through my work, I examine the intersection of elite education in a transnational context, class reproduction in urban China, and the internationalization of education. My work provides me a special (and somewhat ironic) angle for the advancement of equity and innovation in higher education. What I observe from my work is the extreme end of seeking private education in global market in order to gain a competitive edge for an already privileged population. During my research, I examined a particular population’s understanding of the ideal form of education (e.g. student-centered, well-rounded education on humanities, arts, science, and technology) and its advantages. I would love to see that ideal form of education as a public good, not only reserved for a small number of well-resourced students, but for a much more diverse student body. Also, I believe part of the mission can be fulfilled via innovative pedagogy in higher education, which surely requires collaboration and support from all scholars and administrators.
During my three years of work as a teaching fellow at Brooklyn College and a year of work as a WAC fellow as Kingsborough Community College, I gradually start to understand both the challenges and the possibilities of public education provided at a large public institution like CUNY. Structuring equality in the classroom has increasingly become a priority for me when designing a syllabus. I learned a lot from reading the handbook The Graduate Center Learning Collective created, and my colleague, Christina Katopodis’s blog on teaching. I have incorporated most of the pedagogical tools from these sources into my syllabus. For example, students collaboratively design mid-term in class, participate in Think-Pair-Share class activities, and get all their index cards in an envelope at the end of class to observe their own progress over the course.
All of the above is my way of saying that I am excited to join the team and looking forward to many more collaborative learning experiences and work challenges ahead together with the team. FI site readers, please join our incoming public events on re-imagining the future of higher education!