Progress Claimed for Duke Kunshan University

Duke still sounds upbeat about its China campus.

The Chronicle’s Duke section has a report on what sounds like some modest progress with the development of the new Duke Kunshan University in China:

Considerable progress is being made on the campus of Duke Kunshan University, Provost Peter Lange said at Wednesday evening’s Duke Student Government meeting.

Lange updated the Senate on DKU as that campus comes closer to finishing construction and opening to students. Next week, he will be submitting an establishment proposal to the city of Kunshan that will outline the plans that Duke intends to take after construction is completed. He said there has been some feedback from students concerned that DKU construction is depleting funds that could be allocated to the arts and sciences at Duke.U154P5029T2D540617F24DT20121221174344

“Undergraduate financial aid is costing us a lot of money and causing a squeeze in the arts and sciences funding, not DKU,” Lange said. “DKU is just a drop in the bucket.”

He estimated that Duke will be required to pay about $5.5 million each year to keep DKU running. This small fraction of Duke’s total expected expenditures in the next five years, he noted. To date, the University has raised between $6 and 7 million dollars for DKU.

“No top quality university pays for itself with tuition,” Lange said, adding that Duke will pay 50 percent of the operational costs of DKU, and the city of Kunshan will contribute the other 50 percent.

Whilst it is, of course, interesting that the $5m plus running cost is “just a drop in the bucket” for Duke, what is more significant is that it does appear that the new institution has suffered from significant delays in construction and formal approval for its establishment is yet to be granted. More recent reports don’t add a lot in the way of positive news for the new university.

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