New associate deans, divisional chair to strengthen DKU’s undergraduate mission | Duke Kunshan University

New associate deans, divisional chair to strengthen DKU’s undergraduate mission

August 25, 2021

DKU professors Keping Wu, William Parsons and Jason Gainous
From left, professors Keping Wu, William Parsons and Jason Gainous

By DKU Staff

Duke Kunshan has appointed professor William Parsons as associate dean of undergraduate curricular affairs. He will guide development of the university’s distinct liberal arts curriculum, including its interdisciplinary majors and common core courses, and oversee faculty recruitment for the undergraduate degree program.

Parsons joined Duke Kunshan in 2019 as associate professor of political science, teaching U.S. studies, ethics and leadership, and institutions and governance, among other topics. He has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto, and is a respected scholar of early modernity, Christianity, and the thought of political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli.

His appointment follows the departure of Noah Pickus, who as dean of undergraduate curricular affairs and faculty development at Duke Kunshan, and associate provost and senior advisor to the provost at Duke University, led the design of Duke Kunshan’s innovative, problem-based curriculum and the recruitment of world-class faculty from around the globe.

Since the summer of 2020, Parsons has served as chair of the Division of Social Sciences. As his replacement, the university has appointed Keping Wu, associate professor of anthropology.

Wu, who joined the undergraduate faculty in 2020, graduated from Peking University before receiving a Ph.D. from Boston University. She teaches subjects including the ethnography of China, ethnicity and diversity, and urbanization and changing religious landscapes.

Duke Kunshan has also appointed Jason Gainous as associate dean of undergraduate studies. He will assist Marcia France, inaugural dean of undergraduate studies, in day-to-day management, and will provide leadership in such areas as academic integrity, summer research and experiential learning programs, and the Pathways to Success initiative, which aims to ensure senior students think specifically and intentionally about their postgraduate plans by providing tailored counseling and follow-up actions.

Gainous is a professor of political science and award-winning researcher. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Florida and is the author of two books, “Tweeting to Power: The Social Media Revolution in American Politics” and “Rebooting American Politics: The Internet Revolution.”

“I’m so pleased that these exceptional scholars and leaders have agreed to take on these responsibilities,” said Scott MacEachern, vice chancellor for academic affairs. “I am sure that the ideas and knowledge they will bring to these essential roles will be invaluable to Duke Kunshan’s continued mission to create a new global model in liberal arts education.”


Read more about Duke Kunshan’s undergraduate degree program.