A Departure Note

Professor Jack Qiu (1999 graduate, M.Phil)

This is my sixteenth year working at CUHK. Adding the two years of M.Phil. study (1997-1999), I have been with the School of Journalism and Communication for nearly eighteen years. Enough time to grow a baby into a college student. Now, I’m trying to get ready to join the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. Getting ready for such a move is no easy task.

In part this is because I’ve only had one job since wrapping up my doctoral and post-doc studies in 2004, and that’s the job with CU. I have enjoyed this job tremendously: the teaching, the research, the services. Every aspect of it. Everyday. It is here that my career grew, from a small baby to a stage that I now feel, again, like a freshman.

The School has nurtured me, given me ample opportunities to learn through great examples (as set by Prof. Joseph Chan and Prof. Paul Lee, for instance) and through mistakes, all made by me, for which I only have myself to blame. 

Colleagues tolerated my errors (and my Cantonese!). Students appreciated my efforts, including the lame jokes :-). Despite my limited capacity, I cannot be more proud as a member of the School in helping to launch the MA in Global Communication program, Chinese Journal of Communication, and the C-Centre, to mention just a few fantastic projects that I have been lucky to join.

Director Francis Lee presented souvenirs to Prof. Jack Qiu

None of these would have been possible without the very strong leadership at the School, Faculty, and University levels; the collegial atmosphere that has become to define our workplace culture and scholarly community; and the truly world-class administrative support from our General Office, the events team, especially Dr. Daisy Cheng and Ms. Mandy Chan whose role in running the C-Centre has probably been more indispensable than mine.

Looking back, there are three memorable moments that I savor the most. They were not when I got tenure (i.e., so-called “substantiated”) or promotion. Nor were they about me winning any award or receiving any grant money. Nor the publication of any of my books, either.

Our staff said farewell to Jack

One of them is a gathering at the legendary “C-Kitchen”, when we had a culinary contest between Prof. Eric Ma and Prof. Donna Chu. Believe it or not, we even devised a rigorous peer-review procedure for assessment. Who won the contest? I frankly don’t remember, except that we had tons of fun.

Another memory that I cherish was when ICA Presidents Prof. Cynthia Stohl, Prof. Patrice Buzzanell, and Prof. François Heinderyckx visited our C-Centre. They were amazed by our “Wall of Fame” that showcases and celebrates our graduate students winning awards from major international conferences. “Never have I seen anything like this,” said Prof. Cynthia Stohl. “How wonderful!”

ICA Presidents visited C-Centre.

A third moment is at a turning point for Hong Kong’s history: September 28, 2014. I was in Hung Hom for dinner when receiving messages about police firing teargas in Admiralty. Inexperienced, I rushed to the scene with my wife carrying as much supplies as we could find on the way. As soon as we arrived, students recognized me, called me “Jack lo-see (Teacher Jack)”, and thanked me — both local Hongkongers and a student from the mainland. 

That was a long night, when I had to fly with Prof. Anthony Fung and colleagues to Brisbane, Australia.  There, we were greeted by Prof. Leonard Chu, former Head of our Department (before it became School). And he was carrying a cute yellow umbrella — as the movement had become named after.

Jack flied to Brisbane with colleagues and were greeted by Prof. Leonard Chu

Getting ready for the move is no easy task. It’s a very complicated feeling leaving Hong Kong my home city, and leaving CUHK my home, particularly at this difficult moment of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing sociopolitical struggle facing suppression. I wish the School all the best in its future endeavors. And to all members of the CUHK community – colleagues, students, and alumni – I wish you resilience and prosperity in the long run.

Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported and bore with me, who helped me grow professionally and mature socially, who disagreed with me and showed me wonderful things beyond my limits, who taught me principles of freedom, democratic values, and always remember to “inherit, innovate, and inspire”.

Stay in touch. Stay healthy. Come visit me on the other side of the South China Sea!

Photos at board meeting