KUNSHAN, CHINA---Marcia B. France, associate provost and John T. Herwick, M.D. Professor of Chemistry at Washington and Lee University, has been appointed as the dean of Undergraduate Studies at Duke Kunshan University, Denis Simon, executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan announced today. She will begin her role Aug. 1.
France will work closely with Haiyan Gao, vice chancellor for academic affairs, and have primary responsibility for ensuring the highest quality of students’ undergraduate educational experiences and academic standards. She will oversee all undergraduate academic programs at Duke Kunshan, including a new, highly distinctive liberal arts and sciences undergraduate degree program, non-degree and summer undergraduate programs.
France will lead the development and implementation of all undergraduate academic policies and procedures to ensure both the continuous advancement of the undergraduate academic program along with the highest academic integrity among Duke Kunshan students.
"The arrival of Dr. France to drive our new undergraduate degree program reflects Duke Kunshan University’s strong commitment to ensure that this program delivers the highest quality educational experience to our students," said Simon. "We hope to leverage Dr. France’s extensive experience in the field of liberal arts education to guarantee that this program remains at the cutting edge of pedagogical innovation and academic excellence."
"I am most delighted that Dr. France, a distinguished scholar, talented teacher and university administrator will join us with 20 plus years of experience from a top liberal arts university in the United States as the inaugural Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Duke Kunshan," said Gao. “This is another strong testimony of the great vision and opportunity Duke Kunshan presents to the world with its highly innovative, integrated and interdisciplinary liberal arts and sciences curriculum.”
Since 1994, France has been holding teaching, academic and administrative positions at W&L. She was Associate Dean of the College from 2012-2017. An advocate for international education, France helped co-found the W&L-St Andrews study abroad program. She oversees the academic advising program, runs the Summer Research Scholars program, and serves as co-chair of the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate.
“I am honored to be invited to serve as the inaugural Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Duke Kunshan University. It is amazing to have the opportunity to build a new undergraduate liberal arts program in China. The dedication and energy of the students, faculty, and staff I met during my visit was truly inspiring,” said France. “I very much look forward to joining this global community and playing a key role in implementing the innovative, interdisciplinary curriculum Duke Kunshan is about to launch.”
France earned her S.B. in chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she did undergraduate research under 2001 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry K. Barry Sharpless, and her M.S. in chemistry at Yale University.
She was a National Science Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow at California Institute of Technology, where she earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1995.
Her work on the development of ruthenium catalysts for olefin metathesis was cited in the 2005 Nobel Prize address by her research mentor, Robert H. Grubbs.
France has served as a visiting research scientist at Dupont, Stanford University, the University of St Andrews, and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique/AgroParisTech.
A member of the Washington and Lee University Wind Ensemble and principal flutist with the Rockbridge Symphony Orchestra, Dr. France is looking forward to fostering musical opportunities for the Duke Kunshan University community.