Duke’s Chinese Campus

The notion that Duke expands its global horizons is nothing new. As a university, it continually strives to better diversify its student body by nationality. Similarly Duke students are encouraged to visit foreign lands for a semester or year to become more knowledgeable both academically and culturally. As globalization has become more imminent, Duke’s focus on becoming a more worldly institution has only grown.  In fact, the university has partnered with Chinese University Wuhan to open its first campus outside of the U.S.  According to administrators, the Kushan, China campus will “create new opportunities for education, research and public service.”

As was first reported in January of 2010, Duke initially planned on collaborating with Shanghai Jiau Tong University to establish the new campus, however the partnership fell through last summer after the idea of supporting an institution in province outside of their own was far too much for Shanghai Jiau Tong to bear. Due to Chinese Ministry of Education laws, a Chinese University must agree to support any foreign education institutions located within the country. Once Shanghai Jiau Tong dropped out of the picture, Duke needed to find a partner and fast. Fortunately, Wuhan University stepped in and will co-sponsor the entity.

In all, costs could rise as high as $11 million over the next five years. Around half, $5.5 million or so, will be for construction oversight. To date, the building of the campus has made progress, however at a slower than hoped rate. The completion date has been bumped back from sometime in 2011 to 2012.

Although many universities offer programs to study abroad for their students, such as Duke in Berlin, or Duke in Madrid, the concept of creating an entirely new campus takes the notion to a whole new level. Details as to whether or not current students will be able to study at the new campus have not been discussed, however the fact that facilities are actually being created with the Duke name on them is incredible. I would not be surprised if more and more universities looked to try a concept like this. It certainly gives Duke a leg up in global education landscape. The curriculum will be centered on interdisciplinary studies as well as programs created by the Fuqua School of Business. It will provide a unique learning experience for those who attend.

As I read learn more about the concept there are a few thoughts that come to mind. How will Chinese laws regarding free information acquisition affect Duke’s philosophy on education? Clearly, Duke will adhere to the policies of its host nation, but I wonder if it will change the university’s nature that promotes constant curiosity and need to dig for more information. Secondly, I can’t stop thinking how innovative this concept is. I really believe this is the first of many projects like this to come, and I am extremely impressed with Duke’s ambition to become more global.

I plan on following this story and will post updates on my blog as they come!

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