Jin Feng (2001). Professor of Chinese. B.A., Fudan University (China); M.A., University of Illinois; Ph.D., University of Michigan.
Since being tenured in 2006, Jin Feng has not only continued to teach in the core curriculum of the Department of Chinese and Japanese (including taking over courses during her colleagues’ leaves), and supervised MAPs and independent study, but she has also expanded into interdisciplinary team-teaching, with three interdisciplinary courses developed and taught with colleagues in other departments. She continues to revise and refine her regular courses and to innovate in her teaching techniques, including the use of technology, such as assignments that emphasize communication skills not only through writing and speaking but through creating media clips. She is particularly renowned for her deft handling of the challenging second-year Chinese-language courses, in which a great deal of vocabulary and grammar must be covered. This is the point where many students of Chinese lose heart and drop out; her students, notably, do not, and while admitting that the workload is challenging, they commend her skill at helping them manage the difficult work and achieve the progress needed to move to higher-level courses. Professor Feng has begun to publish in the area of pedagogy of Chinese language and culture.
Beyond the intensive preparation and revision devoted to her teaching duties, Professor Feng’s record of scholarship is adventuresome and highly productive. Since receiving tenure she has published a second book in English, The Making of A Family Saga: Ginling College (2009), and published a scholarly translation (also her second) of the English-language autobiography of an early pioneer of women’s education in China into Chinese, in addition to nine articles or book chapters in English and Chinese. She presents an average of three papers annually to scholarly conferences. Her current research project, exploring women’s literature Web sites in Chinese—their literary features, their significance to contemporary Chinese culture and society, and the virtual communities they engender—has resulted in several peer-reviewed articles and conference presentations, important early contributions to the investigation of Web-based literature and popular romance literature, both emerging fields in literary studies. These will form the basis of her next book, for which prospectuses are under submission to major presses.
With the establishment of the Expanding Knowledge Initiative (EKI) Advisory Board, Jin Feng served as one of the first set of interdisciplinary fellows. She has also chaired her department three times, beginning as an untenured professor. In fact, she has been chair for half of her total years on the faculty at Grinnell. She has also chaired the Faculty Organization Committee and has actively contributed to the East Asian Studies concentration, the Rosenfield Program Committee, the Cultural Films Committee, and the Wellness Committee. In less formal roles, she has been a much-valued mentor to her colleagues both in and out of her department.