DKU, Westlake University leaders discuss research, teaching cooperation | Duke Kunshan University

DKU, Westlake University leaders discuss research, teaching cooperation

September 30, 2020

Chancellor Youmei Feng and DKU students welcome Westlake University President Yigong Shi during his delegation’s visit to the campus in September

By DKU staff

Duke Kunshan welcomed a high-level delegation from Westlake University, a private research-focused institution in eastern China, in September to discuss strategic cooperation opportunities in undergraduate education, faculty and student exchanges, research, and educational reforms.

The delegation, led by Westlake president Yigong Shi, was met by Chancellor Youmei Feng and received a tour of the campus before hearing presentations on Duke Kunshan’s academic and research programs from Scott MacEachern, vice chancellor for academic affairs; Marcia France, dean of undergraduate studies; and Xin Li, associate dean for research.

“DKU’s high-quality and innovative curriculum and education model, and its diverse yet close community assured me that our cooperation will open broader space for innovative universities to thrive in China,” said Shi, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Yigong Shi, president of Westlake, urged students to bring about positive change

Westlake, established in 2018, is a nonprofit university supported by public and private funding. Starting with Ph.D. programs, the university has three schools – life sciences, science, and engineering – and more than 100 world-leading research laboratories.

Tian Xu, vice president of Westlake, said his university and Duke Kunshan strongly complement each other, with DKU’s emphasis on an interdisciplinary liberal arts education and Westlake’s strength in natural science and cutting-edge technology. He said the institutions could together explore and develop talent-training models.

Duke Kunshan and Westlake’s many commonalities provide a sound foundation for collaboration, said Chancellor Feng, who pointed out that both are young research universities with small class settings that have adopted innovative education models and teach social responsibility.

Chancellor Youmei Feng said DKU and Westlake share many commonalities

“Duke Kunshan can invite Westlake professors to serve as mentors for our undergraduates’ signature works. Our students can conduct research training at Westlake. And we can jointly offer undergraduate and graduate courses,” she said.

Feng added that Westlake and Duke Kunshan also share a similar educational philosophy and are complementary in terms of positioning and vision. The two universities can work closely in research, teaching and talent cultivation to make a joint contribution to society, she said.

Senior leaders from both institutions agreed to work toward a strategic cooperation framework.

In addition to the high-level discussion, the visiting delegation also heard presentations from junior students Wanying He, Jingyi Qiu and Yuchen Cao on their experiences studying at Duke Kunshan.

The students described how exploring interdisciplinary fields had broadened their minds and skill sets, and how small-class settings provide opportunities to engage in deep discussions with professors.

After the presentations, an impressed Shi told the students, “The world needs such young people to solve global problems and bring about positive change.”