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An Interview with Liu Jingnan, the President of Duke Kunshan University
Author:Hu Sijia  Date:2013-02-21  Clicks:
Recently, the Phoenix Net Education Channel invited Liu Jingnan, the president of newly established Duke Kunshan University (DKU) and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), to discuss the goals and methodical approach of DKU.

DKU Aims to Train Top Students through International and Elite Schooling

Interviewer: Thank you for watching this program. Today we are lucky to have President Liu Jingnan here to share his views on education with us. Welcome! Could you brief us about the creation of DKU?


Liu Jingnan: Sure, thank you. The Ministry of Education approved the establishment of DKU last August. Duke University (Duke) discovered Chinese strong demand for international higher education after it developed some education programs in China.


Based on Duke’s global approach, they decided to establish an international university in Kunshan, a city with fast economic growth, convenient transportation and strong support from the government.


DKU is actually a joint venture between Duke University, Wuhan University (WHU) and Kunshan city. Its goal is to develop leading students through multi-cultural and elite education. DKU will prioritize academics and student qualifications.


Interviewer: How have you designed the curriculum and approach for faculty recruitment?


Liu Jinnan: We recruit faculty mainly through worldwide searches, while also utilizing teachers from Duke and WHU. Teachers recruited from diverse locations will have to stay for a short period of time at Duke to learn about the teaching modes and curriculum before they come to teach at DKU. Teachers from Duke and WHU will be short-term teachers in charge of one or more courses.


We will integrate the schooling philosophy, management mode, curriculum system and teaching method of Duke with Chinese characteristics and demand. The education programs at Kunshan University will begin with the master degrees and the university will develop undergraduate programs after several years of experience.


Interviewer: What about the source of students and how much will the tuition be?


Liu Jingnan: Duke Kunshan University will recruit students worldwide. It will admit Chinese postgraduate students according to the standards set up by Duke and award them with diplomas from Duke. After years of practice, it will accept students by referring to China’s postgraduate exam and college entrance exams. Students will be awarded diplomas by DKU and also Duke if they meet relevant standards.


The university will in principle set its tuition fee according to the cost of teaching resources, studying and student’s living environment. But DKU is determined to provide scholarships for deserving students. Of course, the tuition will be finally set after the approval of the local government.


Interviewer: When will DKU begin to recruit undergraduate students?


Liu Jinnan: Probably in 2017 or 2018. If we have enough experience and our faculty, facilities and campus are ready, we will offer undergraduate programs.


Interviewer: In 2014, how many students will Duke Kunshan University recruit in total?


Liu Jingnan: There will be two programs ready in 2014: one is a master’s degree program in management science, the other is in global health. WHU and Duke are also planning to create another master’s program in medical physics. There will be about 300 to 400 students recruited as the first group of students at DKU.

De-administrativization of DKU and the Transformation of Government Roles


Interviewer: You are already very successful. You are a member of CAE and had taken the office of presidency at WHU. What drove you to take the responsibility of establishing DKU?


Liu Jingnan: I hesitated at first. But some friends persuaded me and eventually I agreed. DKU is established on international modes of schooling, which I have been advocating as the president of WHU. In accepting this position, I will take on responsibilities to develop more and more global leaders.


Interviewer: What do you want to achieve as the president of DKU?


Liu Jingnan: in my opinion, universities are communities where the decision-making process of professors and students are of great importance; yet, administrativization of universities is very prevalent nowadays in China. It is very harmful because it combines academic staff with power and interests. To change the situation, we need to rely on the transformation of the government, namely, the way government manages universities.


That’s why when I take the office in DKU, I have decided to manage the university in line with Duke. That is managing the university by professors rather than politics.


Interviewer: Thank you very much for attending our program, president Liu.


Liu Jingnan: Thank you.

(source: edu. ifeng.com)

 

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