Chancellors' letter to the DKU community | Duke Kunshan University

Chancellors' letter to the DKU community

Dear DKU students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and friends,  

Today we are writing to welcome our students, faculty and staff back to DKU’s virtual campus and update our alumni and friends as to how we at Duke Kunshan, with great help from Duke and our other partners, are adapting amidst these extraordinary circumstances.

Even though the Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted the original plan for on-campus classes to resume immediately after the Spring Festival holiday, we are proceeding with our semester through online courses. Several graduate programs already have been running their instruction virtually and today the online undergraduate program has gotten underway.

This was not a simple task – we have more than 700 students and more than 100 faculty located across the globe, in many different time zones and with varying levels of internet access and technological resources. Thanks to the expertise and infrastructure at and the tireless efforts of many colleagues at Duke and DKU, we have built a global architecture and a highly dynamic online university within just three weeks. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has worked hard to make this happen, and to students and faculty at Duke, DKU and Wuhan University who will be embracing this new method.

While moving our academic offerings online is not easy, it has given us a unique opportunity to create a close-knit, highly engaged community across the two campuses and many time zones. We already see DKU faculty corresponding with their students throughout the day, students exchanging notes with each other across borders, and colleagues sending caring and thoughtful messages to their counterparts living in affected areas. Even though we may be geographically apart, the DKU community still stands united as one.

We are proud of our ability to continue our academic experience. At the same time, we are humbled by the support our community has given to those affected by the outbreak. Working as a seamless team, Duke and DKU communities have rallied and joined forces with Wuhan University’s alumni to supply goggles, gloves and other protective gears to front-line medics at Wuhan University hospitals and other hospitals in Hubei through multiple relief efforts. In addition, our students have launched programs to offer free English lessons online for children of front-line medics. These are true demonstrations of service-learning in action.

This is a difficult moment for all of us, and we thank you for your support and cooperation. Please be assured that the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and community unquestionably remains our highest priority. A task force of DKU and Duke leadership is closely following all developments surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak and government response, and is taking every measure possible to ensure the safety and vibrancy of our community. If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to reach us or the task force at information@dukekunshan.edu.cn.

We look forward to the day when the DKU campus once again returns to normal operations. We know you miss the vibrant learning environment for which so many of us hold such great affection. Until then, we remain dedicated to staying safe, healthy and united, while making the most of the unique learning opportunities offered through DKU’s online campus.

Thank you for your care and support.

Chancellor Youmei Feng
Executive Vice Chancellor Denis Simon