Developing. Scroll down for texts of two key documents. More documents expected in coming days.
Moving decisively at a meeting only designed for discussion, and even before a formal vote on June 20th, the faculty in the Fuqua Business School shot down the Brodhead Administration's plans for two graduate degrees that are the heart of the initial years in developing Kunshan.
Loyal Readers, this throws into doubt the entire strategy to start a new university in China, teaching Chinese students in English starting in 2012, which was to have been the signature achievement of President Brodhead. This campus was only the start; others would circle the globe, but the Administration muted discussion of this fact as opposition grew.
The existing proposal for a Masters in Management Science -- by far the largest program -- is on life support. A special committee was instructed to see if any alternative is feasible and report back in the fall. This seems more of a sop to a few faculty who favored the MMS degree, rather than a viable proposal. A source told FC, "Some of the faculty were unwilling to leave the administration high and dry, and there was a lot of talk of 'intangibles' (reputation, endowment) as justifying a money-losing program."
The current proposal for a smaller Executive MBA program is dead.
A senior professor told Fact Checker at 1 AM Thursday that he/she has never seen a faculty so united -- and so negative.
✔ The moves by tenured faculty, tenure track faculty and Professors of the Practice -- about 95 in all -- are a stunning rebuke to the leadership of Brodhead, Provost Lange and Fuqua Dean Blair Sheppard. For two years, they've been told they should be consulting faculty and incorporating their ideas, instead of moving forward on their own in secrecy.
The moves by the Fuqua faculty are also a victory for several senior professors with endowed chairs who took leadership roles in revealing hidden dimensions of the Kunshan Initiative, principally Prof. Thomas Pfau, Eads Professor of English and Professor of German.
A mole in the heart of Allen Building told a Deputy Fact Checker that Lange, particularly, was shaken when he learned of the depth of the faculty's opposition. Only Fuqua's operations area (one of eight major areas of study in Fuqua, including finance, economics, accounting, marketing, management, decision sciences, operations, strategy)supported Kunshan. This area has a concentration of professors of Chinese ancestry. Under Duke's by-laws, the faculty must approve any degree program, a grant of authority that is being taken seriously and viewed in an expansive way. Duke's partners in China -- the city of Kunshan and Wuhan University -- have known of this provision since the start of negotiations.
FC has learned that a Boston consultant's report that the Brodhead Administration steadfastly refused to release flatly contradicts many of its assertions on Kunshan. For example, we were told Kunshan is "right next" to Shanghai, but now it turns out to be a two hour drive, not a quick nine minute train ride described by Dean Sheppard. We were told about two and three bedroom apartments on campus for faculty, but we now learn faculty children can find English language instruction only in Shanghai.
And one of the special faculty committees studying the grandiose expansion plans has revealed that Fuqua already is bleeding big money, with enrollment seriously lagging for the fall semester.
As far as we can determine from initial reports, academic freedom did not play a role in the Fuqua faculty's discussion. Nor did the fact that the new campus -- so far as we can find out -- has no chapel or any other accommodation for religion, a rather interesting historical snub for Duke, a school with a Christian cross on its shield and a pledge to Jesus Christ in its Aims.
Some of the discussion focused on the fact that no one on the current faculty wants to go to Kunshan to work. Not even for six weeks. One proposal for three weeks even met opposition -- as did another that would have faculty shuttling to China twice over a three week period.
That this emerged as a major factor shows the disconnect between the Administration and faculty. If faculty had been involved from the start, this would have emerged on the night of June 1.
One of the big surprises was the revelation that Fuqua School has lost money for four years (I thought these guys knew how to run businesses!!!) and the number of students entering various programs in the fall will not meet projections. Fuqua will find it hard to meet its balanced budget forecast for next year. In the words of the faculty committee, "All this leaves the School with dwindling financial reserves. Consequently, the School has limited, or no, ability to absorb losses from (Kunshan)."
The losses projected for Kunshan seemed based on "overly optimistic' assumptions, to quote one committee member.
Moreover, the proposed programs were structured very thin, an effort to try to boost profits: tenured faculty would account for only 25 percent of the courses offered in Kunshan, versus about 80 percent at Fuqua in Durham. Cheaper adjuncts would carry much of the Kunshan teaching load, a move regular faculty in Durham found risky to education quality.
There was also discussion of the fact that no Chinese seems interested in either degree program. With respect to the MMS, Chinese want to study internationally. With respect to the executive MBA, the consultant calculated precisely 340 people might conceivably want to apply -- in a nation of 1.4 billion.