The academic leader for Duke Kunshan University brings to the table experience in higher education and Chinese relations, Duke administrators said.
Mary Bullock was named executive vice chancellor of DKU at Thursday’s Academic Council meeting. She will be in charge of academics and operations of the University, said Nora Bynum, vice provost for DKU and China initiatives. Bullock was one of four finalists—including both Duke and non-Duke candidates—chosen by a search committee in May. She was ultimately selected by President Richard Brodhead and Provost Peter Lange.
Jeffrey Vincent, Clarence F. Korstian professor of forest economics, who led the vice chancellor search committee, said Bullock’s extensive knowledge of China makes her well-suited for the position.
“She’s really passionately committed to achieving greater connections between the U.S. and China in terms of higher education,” Vincent said.
Bullock, who could not be reached for comment in time for publication, has worked extensively on Sino-American educational relations and led academic exchanges between the two countries during the 1970s, Vincent added. She currently chairs the China Medical Board and is on the board of directors for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. She is also on the board of trustees for the Harvard-Yenching Institute at Harvard University, which seeks to advance higher education in Asian studies. She has published numerous works on Asian-American educational exchange.
Bullock will oversee the development of DKU’s undergraduate liberal arts programs, so her experience as president of Agnes Scott College—a small, women’s liberal arts college—should prove useful, Vincent said. Bullock led the Atlanta-area college from 1995 to 2006.
Bynum also noted the importance of a leader for DKU who has deep knowledge of the American educational system.
“The reason Duke was asked to come into China—into higher education—in the first place was in hopes that we’d be able to demonstrate the Duke model and U.S. model of higher education,” Bynum said. “We definitely thought that somebody for executive vice chancellor needed to have very in-depth knowledge of the U.S. system of higher education.”
Lange said Bullock’s leadership experience in China makes her a good fit for the job.
“She’s a scholar who knows China, so she brings a lot of knowledge and she also brings a lot of good administrative leadership experience,” he said.
Vincent said he believes priorities for Bullock will include familiarizing herself with Duke—getting to know students, faculty and administrators and developing undergraduate and graduate programs at DKU.
DKU is expected to officially launch in Fall 2014, Bynum said.
The construction process is progressing on schedule, Lange added.
“It’s coming along, we have bids out for materials [needed] to complete construction,” he said. “As soon as bids get completed we expect a rapid ramp-up in the pace of construction.”
He noted that the bids should be completed in a month to six weeks from now and that the completion of five buildings is still expected for summer 2013.
The schedule for DKU has gone through several revisions. As of Fall 2011, the campus was supposed to open to students Spring 2013. But Lange confirmed in March that it would open Fall 2013, citing delays in construction and the Chinese Ministry of Education approval process.
DKU, however, cannot offer degree programs until it receives final approval from the Ministry of Education, so it may not be possible to enroll students until 2014.
In the interim, Duke’s global team is discussing the possibility of launching cooperative programs with the DKU’s Chinese partner, Wuhan University, that would serve as “bridge programs” until DKU launches. Bynum noted that New York University is developing a similar program until their Chinese campus—NYU Shanghai—opens.