Duke Kunshan University continues to progress on a changing timetable.
Both construction and pending Chinese Ministry of Education approval have pushed the opening of DKU to Fall 2013, Provost Peter Lange said. Approval from the Ministry of Education is required to open a foreign university in China—and administrators noted that there is no predictable time frame for the completion of this process.
The most recent rescheduling decision was made two or three months ago, Lange said. He added that there is no sense of urgency to open the campus, noting that he does not expect the opening date to be changed again.
Still, he said that “anything’s possible.”
It is possible that the next step in the Ministry of Education approval process will take place in the next couple of weeks, said Nora Bynum, associate vice provost for the Office of Global Strategy and Programs and managing director for DKU and China initiatives. Bynum originally scheduled a trip to China this week to meet with an expert panel from the Ministry of Education, but delayed her trip after receiving word Monday that the panel would be rescheduled, Bynum noted in a Tuesday email. The panel is expected to visit Kunshan and review the DKU campus and Duke’s proposal—though it is uncertain whether or not they will actually visit the university in that time frame.
After the panel visits DKU and discusses the proposal further, they will inform Duke whether or not its application was approved or requires revision, Bynum noted.
As of September, DKU was expected to open to students Spring 2013, but now the campus will not be ready for students until Fall 2013. Additionally, new details regarding construction have led administrators to believe that five of the complex’s six buildings will not be finished until late summer 2013. When asked, administrators did not elaborate on the cause behind the construction delay.
“It’s a big project,” Lange said. “There are lots of pieces to be put in place, and there are lots of decisions to be made, and that has slowed it down.”
Administrators do not need the campus to be open until Fall 2013, Executive Vice President Tallman Trask wrote in an email Monday.
The changing timetable may be beneficial for DKU’s academic development. Lange said the extended time period for preparing the campus is not a hindrance but rather provides more time for faculty and administrators to create programs.
The first academic program to begin at DKU is a Master of Management Studies program through the Fuqua School of Business, where students will spend their first two semesters in Durham and the third in Kunshan. The first group of students in this program will arrive in Kunshan Spring 2014.
Other academic programs for the Kunshan campus—including a Master of Science and undergraduate semester abroad programs through the Duke Global Health Institute—are currently being discussed. They will not be able to be approved unless Academic Council approves a resolution to consider additional academic programming for DKU.
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