In late May, I had the privilege of visiting Duke Kunshan University, or DKU, with Pericles Lewis, the Yale-NUS College President. At our meeting we met with the DKU Chancellor, Lui Jingnan, and his Executive Vice Chancellor, Mary Brown Bullock, along with Patrick S. Moreton, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Luke Li, director of the Chancellor’s office and Keith Dear, who is working on studying health effects from global climate change. The DKU campus was remarkable (photos are below), with very advanced facilities for global classrooms – with video cameras that can track the speaker and provide real time interactive classrooms with partner institutions such as Duke, and any other institutions with high-speed internet. The campus has been used as a conference center and home to the DKY Global Learning Semester, which with its partner from Wuhan University, has been offering innovative courses for a mix of Chinese and American students. These courses are often offered by visiting Duke professors, such as my friend and fellow ACE fellow, Noah Pickus who described his experience teaching at DKU in his blog piece entitled a “Kushan Diary.” In the piece he describes a classroom dynamic reminiscent of Yale-NSU College in Singapore, where students are coming from very different backgrounds from the US, and both student and faculty are gaining deep insights from the sharing of their cultures.
We discussed some aspects of the curriculum that DKU hopes to offer when it begins its work as an undergraduate and graduate university in about 2018. The curriculum is being developed by a group at Duke University, and our team at Yale-NUS College met with them in North Carolina back in 2013, when both Yale-NUS and DKU were just drawings on blueprints. It is remarkable to see DKU come together, and our team at Yale-NUS looks forward to working with them as they design their curriculum. A very nice tour of the campus and delicious 8 course Chinese lunch concluded our visit. We wish DKU the best and look forward to hosting them as Yale-NUS formally opens it campus on October 11-12, 2015.