DKU awards tenure to five faculty members | Duke Kunshan University

DKU awards tenure to five faculty members

December 22, 2021

By DKU Staff

Duke Kunshan awarded tenure to five faculty members across the undergraduate and graduate programs, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Scott MacEachern announced on Dec. 20th. They are professors Marcus Werner, Keping Wu, Kai Huang, Patrick Ward and Kaizhu Huang.

“Our faculty are the cornerstone of DKU’s mission to provide a cutting-edge, interdisciplinary education, one that prepares graduates for the opportunities and challenges facing them today and long into the future,” said MacEachern. “These newly tenured faculty members are accomplished and productive scholars, as well as being excellent teachers with an unswerving commitment to their students. I hope that their spirit and hard work will inspire junior and senior faculty alike to continue in their pursuit of academic excellence.”


From left, newly tenured faculty members Marcus Werner, Keping Wu, Kai Huang, Patrick Ward and Kaizhu Huang

Newly tenured faculty

Marcus Werner, associate professor of mathematics

Werner’s research lies in mathematical physics – at the intersection of geometry and astrophysics – and general relativity, its modifications and applications, such as mathematical properties of gravitational lensing. His work appears in leading academic journals, and he is a member of the American Mathematical Society, the U.K.’s Royal Astronomical Society, and the German Physical Society. Werner has an M.A., a master of national sciences and a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He previously taught and conducted research at Duke University, the University of Tokyo, and Kyoto University.

Keping Wu, associate professor of anthropology, chair of the undergraduate program’s Division of Social Sciences, and co-director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China

Wu’s research examines intersections among gender, urbanization, public good, ethnicity, and charisma, and she is especially interested in how people cross ethnic and rural-urban boundaries, and other boundaries. A member of the American Anthropological Association and the Association of Asian Studies, her work has appeared in Current Anthropology and the Journal of Asian Studies, among other leading publications. She is the co-editor of “It Happens Among People: Resonances and Extensions of the Work of Fredrik Barth” (2019). Wu has a B.A. from Peking University and a Ph.D. from Boston University. She previously taught at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Sun Yat-sen University, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Kai Huang, an associate professor of physics and chair of the undergraduate program’s Division of Natural and Applied Sciences

Huang’s research interest is in understanding, predicting and eventually controlling the collective behavior of sand grains (granular materials) through laboratory experiments and computer simulations, to shed light on widespread applications such as space exploration, landslide and earthquake triggering, and dune migration. He is also interested in the acoustical design of opera theaters. Huang has a B.Sc. in electronic engineering and a Ph.D. in physical acoustics from Nanjing University, and holds a Habilitation in physics, a scientific and pedagogic qualification for professors in Germany. He previously worked as a privatdozent at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, where he taught physics courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and built a research group. He completed postdoctoral training at the Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-organization.

Patrick Ward, assistant professor of environmental economics and policy, and director of graduate studies for the master of environmental policy program

Ward’s primary research interests are in sustainable development, with a particular emphasis on agriculture in developing countries. He has extensive research experience in South Asia, and has led or contributed to projects in China, Malawi and Kenya. His current research portfolio includes projects on agricultural risk management, soil fertility management and soil conservation, inclusive development of rural agricultural machinery markets, and water resource management. He is especially interested in how insights from behavioral economics and cognitive psychology can inform interventions to address environmental and natural resource management challenges. Ward has a Ph.D. in agricultural economics, with a specialization in international development, from Purdue University. He was previously a research fellow in the Environment and Production Technology Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Kaizhu Huang, professor of electrical and computer engineering

Huang joins Duke Kunshan in the spring and will teach courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. His research focus is machine learning, neural information processing, and pattern recognition. A multi-award-winning academic, he has published nine books and over 200 papers in leading journals, including IEEE T-Cybernetics and the Journal of Machine Learning Research, and at international conferences. He serves as associate editor or advisor on a number of journals and book series, and is a founder of the Suzhou Municipal Key Laboratory of Cognitive Computation and Applied Technology. Huang has a Ph.D. from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and a bachelor’s degree from Xi'an Jiaotong University. From 2004 to 2012, he held positions at the CUHK Fujitsu Research Centre, the University of Bristol, the National Laboratory of Pattern Recognition, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Most recently, he taught at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, where he was a professor and associate dean of research for the School of Advanced Technology.