DKU appoints new divisional chairs, director of signature works | Duke Kunshan University

DKU appoints new divisional chairs, director of signature works

August 18, 2020

Duke Kunshan has appointed three new divisional chairs in its undergraduate degree program: Kolleen Guy, arts and humanities; William Parsons, Jr., social science; and Kai Huang, natural and applied science.

Divisional chairs report directly to Scott MacEachern, vice chancellor for academic affairs, on matters relating to faculty recruitment, performance reviews and mentoring, as well as other issues. They also work closely with Marcia France, dean of undergraduate studies, and Noah Pickus, dean of undergraduate curricular affairs and faculty development.

Media and arts professor Benjamin Bacon has also become director of signature works, a new position in the undergraduate program. Signature works encourage students to seek creative alignments between curricular pathways and to engage in experiential learning that leads to the creation of knowledge or products.

“I’m so pleased that these talented professors have agreed to take on this significant responsibility. I’m sure that the ideas and leadership skills they contribute will be crucial to the continued development Duke Kunshan’s undergraduate program,” said MacEachern.


From Left: New divisional chairs Kolleen Guy, Kai Huang and William Parsons, Jr., and Benjamin Bacon, director of signature works

New appointments

Kolleen Guy, chair of the Arts and Humanities Division
Kolleen Guy is an associate professor of history and author of the award-winning book “When Champagne became French: Wine and the Making of a National Identity.” Her current research focus is the development of ideas about environment, identity and place through the production, consumption and regulation of “quality” foods in global markets. Before joining DKU in 2019, Guy gained a broad range of teaching and research experience while serving as associate professor of history and the Ricardo Romo Distinguished Professor in the Honors College at the University of Texas, San Antonio. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Indiana.

Kai Huang, chair of the Division of Natural Science
Kai Huang is an associate professor of physics whose research focus is in understanding, predicting and controlling the collective behavior of granular materials to shed light on such widespread applications as space exploration, 3D printing and landslides. He is also interested in the acoustical design of opera theatres. Before joining DKU in 2019, Huang was a privatdozent at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. He completed his postdoctoral training at the historic Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization.

William Parsons, Jr., chair of the Social Sciences Division
William Parsons, Jr. is an associate professor of political science whose research examines early modernity, Christianity and the thought of Niccolo Machiavelli. Since joining Duke Kunshan in 2019, Parsons has taught subjects including U.S. studies, ethics and leadership, institutions and governance, and political science. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

Benjamin Bacon, director of signature works
Benjamin Bacon, associate professor of media and arts, is an artist and musician who creates work at the intersection of sound art, computational design, networked systems, and mechanical life installation and sculpture. His artwork has gone on display in the U.S., Europe, Iran and China, including at the National Art Museum in Beijing. Before joining DKU, Bacon served as assistant professor of computation and media design at Parsons School of Design, and held professorships at New York University Shanghai and the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art.