DURHAM, N.C., AND KUNSHAN, CHINA -- Denis Simon has been appointed executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University (DKU) in Kunshan, China, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead and Provost Sally Kornbluth announced today.
Simon succeeds DKU founding Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Brown Bullock, who announced in February that she would retire this summer.
Simon joins DKU from Arizona State University, where he has served as senior adviser to the president for China-related strategic initiatives, executive director of the University Design Institute, and Foundation Professor of Contemporary Chinese Affairs in the School of Politics and Global Studies.
“Denis Simon has a lifetime of experience and expertise in China, where he has shown success both in visualizing ambitious projects and in working out their operational details,” Brodhead said. “He has a clear sense of Duke Kunshan University as an innovation hub for global higher education. I look forward to his leadership in this important venture."
“Mary Brown Bullock has done extraordinary work overseeing the opening and first year of operations at DKU, and I feel confident that Denis Simon will build upon that foundation and continue the development of DKU as a truly international joint- venture university,” Kornbluth said.
Simon previously held international affairs leadership positions and faculty appointments at several universities in the United States and China. An expert on the role of science and technology in international relations, he also has extensive private sector experience, having held China-based leadership roles at both Monitor Consulting Group and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). He has published extensively in the areas of innovation and technology transfer in China, and has taught courses on international relations, technology, management and strategy.
A member of the editorial boards of Chinese Management Studies and the Journal of Science and Technology Policy in China, Simon also has served as a senior adviser to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on technology and innovation matters related to China. He is a member of the American Experts Group within the US-China Innovation Dialogue organized by China's Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.
In 2006 Simon received the China National Friendship Award from former Premier Wen Jiabao, China’s highest form of recognition for foreign experts.
"I could not be more thrilled to join the amazing teams at Duke and DKU who have been working closely with Wuhan University and the city of Kunshan to build out this highly innovative academic joint venture," Simon said. "I continue to be thoroughly impressed by DKU’s transformational potential in the Chinese higher education system."
He added: "I am excited about the opportunity to bring excellent students to DKU, and also by the chance to establish a strong and vibrant research platform at DKU that will complement ongoing efforts to reform and strengthen innovation in China."
As executive vice chancellor, Simon will be DKU’s senior administrative officer, working closely with DKU Chancellor Liu Jingnan to oversee campus operations. His appointment begins Aug. 1.
“Denis Simon understands both the importance of global education in developing future leaders, and the role of education, science and technology in international relations,” Liu said. “He is ideally suited to the work of leading our operations as DKU moves forward.”
Simon’s appointment follows an international search chaired by Randall Kramer, professor of environmental economics and global health in Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and was confirmed by DKU’s Board of Trustees.
“Denis Simon has impressive experience building substantive higher education partnerships between U.S. and Chinese universities,” Kramer said. “During the interview process, he demonstrated a keen appreciation of DKU’s focus on undergraduate and graduate education, coupled with strong research and transdisciplinary approaches.”
Simon received both his master's degree in Asian studies and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. He speaks and reads Mandarin Chinese.
About Duke Kunshan University
Duke Kunshan University (DKU) is a Sino-American joint venture university founded by Duke University and Wuhan University in Kunshan, China. DKU was granted final establishment approval in September 2013, and is governed by an independent board of trustees. The university offers master’s degree programs in medical physics, global health and management studies, and an undergraduate global learning semester program for students enrolled at other universities around the world.
For more information visit www.dukekunshan.edu.cn.