Second Cohort of New DKU Faculty to Visit Duke

March 18, 2019
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DKU professors Zhe Liu, Peter Pickl and Ming Li working on course development during the 2018 Learning Innovation Fellowship. Photo by Duke Photography

Nineteen faculty members from a number of countries, backgrounds and disciplines make up the second cohort of faculty hired to teach in Duke Kunshan University’s undergraduate degree program. The recently hired faculty will travel to Duke in March to meet with Duke and DKU colleagues and participate in a unique program lead by Duke Learning Innovation which centers on curriculum development and pedagogically innovative teaching.

“We’re delighted to welcome our new DKU colleagues and to partner with the first cohort of DKU faculty and staff in creating a bridge between Duke and DKU that is focused on pedagogical innovation and research collaborations,” said Noah Pickus, associate provost at Duke and dean of undergraduate curricular affairs and faculty development at Duke Kunshan University.

From campus construction to a growing number of students, faculty, and academic programs, Duke Kunshan continues to evolve. The Learning Innovation Fellowship (LIF) was developed as a way for DKU faculty members to prepare for the unconventional teaching and learning environment at Duke Kunshan. After a successful program in 2018, the LIF returns this spring.

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DKU professor Mengqi Wang asking a question during the 2018 LIF program. Photo by Duke Photography

The Learning Innovation Fellowship is a two-month program which includes two in-person “design institutes” (one at Duke in March and one at DKU in May), as well as an eight week online component. The program seeks to connect the new faculty members to each other and to Duke colleagues, including those who have visited and taught at DKU. In addition, the new faculty will design syllabi for DKU’s unique interdisciplinary courses and 7-week session structure. The syllabi will reflect DKU’s core principles and will incorporate active and innovative learning strategies, per DKU’s commitment to pedagogical innovation.

While at Duke from March 21 to March 23, the new faculty will also have the chance to hear from current DKU faculty who will relay their experience teaching in the inaugural year of the program. Conversation will likely touch on a number of topics including the challenges of the 7-week course structure, the cultural environment at DKU, or what it’s like working a university without traditional academic departments.

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A group of newly hired DKU professors participating in the 2018 Learning Innovation Fellowship. Photo by Duke Photography

“From my perspective, this year’s LIF is less about Duke faculty and staff providing training and support for new DKU faculty and more about fully partnering with DKU’s own faculty and staff to support this new wave of faculty,” said Shawn Miller, director of Duke Learning Innovation, and one of the main architects of the LIF. “We now have the benefit of the experience and insight from seasoned DKU faculty, and collectively, we know more about navigating the challenges and opportunities of the DKU curriculum.”

In addition to the value the Learning Innovation Fellowship provides to the rigorous undergraduate program at DKU, the opportunity for Duke Kunshan faculty and Duke faculty to interact is expected to spark increased collaboration and research connections between the two universities.