Officials Anticipate Fall 2014 DKU Launch

Undergraduate and graduate programs should begin at Duke Kunshan University (DKU) in fall 2014, Provost Peter Lange, Vice Provost for DKU and China Initiatives Nora Bynum, and DKU Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Bullock reported to several faculty planning committees on Thursday.

Lange, Bynum and Bullock explained the decision to begin classes in fall 2014 was made in order to make comprehensive use of the DKU campus, which may not be ready to fully support undergraduate and graduate programs earlier.

"Duke and our partners are unwavering in our commitment to offering academic programs of the highest quality at DKU.  Our vision is for DKU to become a living and learning community in which the residential experience and physical facilities play an important role in our students' education," they wrote.


In addition to academic program development, plans for DKU Global Health research activities are continuing in China and Durham.  Shenglan Tang, professor of medicine and global health, will serve as director of the Kunshan-based research center, and hiring for several faculty and postdoctoral positions is under way.

Two buildings that will support conferences, executive education and other training programs are expected to be ready earlier, and should begin operations in spring 2014.

Lange, Bynum and Bullock also outlined several aspects of DKU preparation work currently taking place in Durham and China.

A recent call for proposals for undergraduate courses to be taught at DKU received a strong response, with Duke faculty members submitting 20 proposals for courses from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. The course development process is being managed by a new Liberal Arts in China Committee, co-chaired by Bynum and Arts and Sciences Dean Laurie Patton.   The Liberal Arts in China Committee has recommended a selection of courses for further development and vetting through Duke's faculty governance processes.

In China, Bullock and DKU Chancellor Liu Jingnan recently convened a meeting of representatives from ten leading universities, including Fudan, Tsinghua, and Wuhan, to review plans for undergraduate semester programs at DKU.  Representatives of these Chinese universities were enthusiastic about the proposed programs and provided valuable feedback to enhance DKU course development activities.

The memo noted that the timing of all DKU campus operations remains dependent on receipt of appropriate permissions and licensing from the Chinese government. Bullock and Liu expect to spend several months compiling and finalizing an extensive application to the Chinese Ministry of Education for final Establishment approval.