Inaugural Faculty Hired for Duke Kunshan Undergraduate Program
Inaugural Faculty Hired for Duke Kunshan Undergraduate Program

Duke Kunshan University has hired its founding faculty for its undergraduate degree program set to launch in 2018.

Twenty-three candidates from an initial pool of 1,300 applicants from around the world were presented with offers after a search process that began in spring 2017. Twenty-two of those candidates – in natural sciences and engineering, social sciences, and humanities – will join Duke Kunshan University beginning in January 2018.

The newly hired Duke Kunshan University faculty will teach alongside professors from Duke University. These Duke faculty members include leading scholars and teachers in philosophy, political science, math, physics, data science, economics, public policy, and global health.

Additional faculty are also being hired by the Language and Culture Center at Duke Kunshan University to teach courses in English for Academic Purposes and Chinese as a Second Language.

Duke Kunshan will eventually hire approximately 120 full-time tenured, tenure track and non-tenured faculty for its undergraduate program, said Noah Pickus, Dean of Undergraduate Curricular Affairs and Faculty Development at Duke Kunshan University and Associate Provost and Senior Advisor to the Provost at Duke University.

“The remarkable success of our global faculty recruitment underscores that Duke Kunshan University is operating at the highest level of quality,” said Denis Simon, Executive Vice Chancellor at Duke Kunshan University. “Our innovative curriculum and interdisciplinary culture are drawing the best faculty from around the world. Students can see the incredible professors with whom they will study closely in small, interactive courses.”

Pickus recruited these faculty in partnership with Haiyan Gao, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Duke Kunshan University, Jennifer Francis, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Duke, and Liguo Zhang, Director of Global Academic Program Development in the Duke Office of Duke Kunshan University Programs.

“We are delighted by the stature of Duke faculty who are committed to ongoing teaching and research at Duke Kunshan University,” Gao said. “These faculty are among Duke’s most respected scholars and teachers in fields ranging from comparative philosophy to compressive holography. They are the perfect complement to the stellar group of full-time faculty we have hired at Duke Kunshan University.”

The search process for the new Duke Kunshan University undergraduate faculty was led by Pickus,in collaboration with Francis and the Duke Office of Duke Kunshan University Programs.Three search committees – made up of Duke faculty from across disciplines and faculty members from outside Duke – selected 150 candidates for individual interviews, and subsequently invited 60 faculty to Duke for two days each. Candidates gave scholarly presentations during their first day at Duke. Day two divided the candidates into working groups tasked with proposing hybrid majors that would link Duke Kunshan University’s three divisional areas of knowledge – natural sciences and engineering, social sciences, and humanities.

Following interviews at Duke, 25 candidates were invited to visit Duke Kunshan to continue discussions with the recruitment team and to experience what it would be like to live and work there. The visit included meeting with Duke Kunshan University faculty, staff and senior leadership, as well as touring Kunshan, Shanghai and Suzhou. Small groups of candidates presented their initial ideas for the three Common Core courses that all students in the undergraduate program will take: China in the World (Year One), Global Challenges in Science, Technology, and Health (Year Two), and Ethics, Citizenship, and the Examined Life (Year Three).

The 22 faculty hires come from eight different countries – in North America, Asia and Europe. The 14 men and eight women bring considerable teaching experience at top liberal arts colleges and research universities, Pickus said. “The search committees identified significant opportunities in hiring these candidates as they will simultaneously establish Duke Kunshan University as a site of teaching strength as well as research in key areas in arts and humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences,” Pickus added.

“From January to June 2018, the Duke Kunshan University undergraduate faculty will work with Duke Learning Innovation to incorporate all we know about engaging students, working in groups, using educational technologies, and connecting student learning and research,” Pickus said. “These faculty will define a new standard of teaching excellence in liberal arts education.”

The next round of searches for Duke Kunshan faculty is now underway for positions that are flexible with regard to rank, including tenured, tenure track and non-tenured faculty. Duke Kunshan University is especially interested in considering advanced assistant professors to full professors. Position descriptions along with contact information can be found on the Duke Kunshan University website. Applications will be accepted after the formal deadline of December 1, 2017.