Animating Principles and Curricular Design | Duke Kunshan University

Animating Principles and Curricular Design

Rooted Globalism

To cultivate informed and engaged citizens who are knowledgeable about each other’s histories, traditions of thought and affiliations; and skilled in navigating among local, national and global identities and commitments. This principle is reflected in the required levels of proficiency in English and Mandarin, the core courses and comparative study of cultural traditions throughout the curriculum, and in co-curricular programming that brings students together to learn from each other outside the classroom.

Collaborative Problem-Solving

To instill the habits of collaboration and the ability to synthesize disparate insights in solving complex challenges. This principle is reflected in an interdisciplinary structure that emphasizes the integration of knowledge, in pedagogies that include team-based assignments, and in co-curricular programming that emphasize teamwork.

Research and Practice

To enhance the ability to forge links between theory and practice in the many-sided and rapidly changing world of human need. This principle is reflected in the divisional foundations, which impart the basic skills necessary for critical inquiry across many fields and problems, and in advanced research in the disciplinary studies, capstone and signature products. Experiential opportunities that align the formal curriculum with practica, internships and other hands-on offerings further link theory and practice.

Lucid Communication

To develop the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, and to listen attentively to different viewpoints in coming to mature judgments. The common core, divisional foundation and capstone courses provide multiple opportunities for sustained, guided practice in writing, speaking and listening.  These are supported by stand-alone and co-courses linked to the core, by required language proficiencies, by the focus on a summative project that melds research and practical experience and by the seminar-style size of most classes.

Independence and Creativity

To nurture free inquiry, deep reflection and a drive to ask interesting questions and find compelling answers. These principles are embodied in the liberal arts design of the curriculum—placing a premium on exploring ideas and seeking new experiences; encountering different ways of thinking and living in history, text, image, culture and methodology, and in the variety of choices among paths of study and electives.

Wise Leadership

To shape thinkers and doers who possess the moral compass to guide communities and institutions toward a common good and who have the wisdom and technical competence to deal effectively with complexity. This principle is present in core courses that examine the relationship between individuals and different levels of community and to leading an examined life, in the many interdisciplinary studies that require knowledge of problems that span national boundaries and cultures, in the required practicum, and in the capstone seminars where students integrate specialized knowledge with broader knowledge and questions.

A Purposeful Life

To form reflective scholars who test their core beliefs, connect their course of study to big questions of meaning, and who build the capacity for lifelong learning and exploration. This principle is reflected in the distinctive capacity of a liberal arts college to form intentional communities of meaning. It is brought to life in core courses, in self-designed capstone work and in an e-portfolio system that captures the larger inquiry informing a student’s pathway.