Advising and Mentoring

Academic advising is salient to undergraduate education at Duke Kunshan University. The goal of all academic advising is to provide a network of support across the university that is student-centered and responsive to the needs of students.   Advisors teach students about the undergraduate curriculum and co-curriculum by providing insight on how to navigate their college experience.   This process includes teaching students how each course contributes to their knowledge and innovative thinking.  Additionally, advisors teach students practical skills related to decision-making and how to take responsibility for developing meaningful educational plans compatible with their academic potential, career, and life goals.  

Advising is more than the imparting of specialized information; it includes helping students explore and discover the role of education in society and teaching students the skills for active learning and perseverance to reach long-term goals.  Moreover, students will learn how to formulate important questions about the nature and direction of their education through effective questioning.   Advisors will confer with students about course schedules and educational experiences, but students themselves are responsible for their academic program, social activities, and for making progress toward an academic degree. As students progress through their academic programs, their advising needs change requiring an advising partnership that provides guidance from campus faculty and administrators. 

Such a partnership is particularly important during the period of transition and adjustment that typically takes place during the first-year in college. To ensure continuity of connection and progress toward graduation, if appropriate, the primary advisor will be with the student for the entire duration of their studies at Duke Kunshan. Once a student selects an interdisciplinary community or disciplinary area of study, a second advisor (i.e. mentor) will be assigned to guide the student through his/her disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies and signature project.

The Associate Dean for Academic Advising oversees the academic advisor/mentor team, whom understand the terrain of broad areas such as arts and humanities, global and civic opportunities, and natural and quantitative sciences, and pre-professional advisors with expertise in areas such as health, entrepreneurship, law and business. This network of advisors/mentors ensures that students have varied sources of information and build close relationships with campus faculty and staff who provide guidance about future plans and act as references. 

At Duke Kunshan, advisors are key to understanding the nature of the academic programs and how it can address student interests, goals and purposes, advise on navigating academic and social life, determining appropriate learning strategy, tutoring, and aid in the selection of courses, majors, signature pathways, and experiential activities. Professional advisors and peer mentors work in concert with Faculty Advisors to maintain up-to-date information on university requirements, academic policies, procedures, and deadlines; they also provide guidance for students whom need tutoring and demonstrate academic difficulty.  

Support offices such as the Counseling Center, Learning Support, Language and Culture, Campus Health Services, and the Office of Career Services can help students identify academic strategies and refine their interests and goals. Students should refer to selected majors for specific curriculum requirements required for degree completion.  

Seven Principles of DKU Curriculum and Academic Advising 

  • Rooted Globalism: Academic Advising cultivates academic citizens who are knowledgeable about how their curricular and career interests influence their local, national, and international communities.
  • Collaborative Problem Solving: Academic Advising is a collaborative experience between Advisor and Advisee that teaches problem solving skills to successfully navigate college and life circumstances.
  • Research and Practice: Academic advising leverages curricular teachings with practical experience to assist with critical thinking and career readiness. 
  • Lucid Communication: Academic Advising promotes effective discourse between Advisee and Advisor that nurtures good decision-making practices. 
  • Independence and Creativity: Academic Advising is an environment where Advisees are responsible for charting their academic, social, and career pathways through inquiry, reflection, personal choice and consultation with Advisors.
  • Wise Leadership: Academic Advising teaches ethical principles that promote holistic student development, authentic academic workmanship, innovative thinking, and research.
  • A Purposeful Life: Academic Advising teaches and encourages Advisees to grow, discover, and enhance academic grit to persevere through academic and life challenges.