Noah Pickus named Dean of Undergraduate curricular affairs and faculty development

Noah Pickus, who led the Liberal Arts in China Committee that designed the integrated, interdisciplinary 4-year undergraduate degree curriculum at Duke Kunshan University, has been named dean of undergraduate curricular affairs and faculty development at Duke Kunshan, Denis Simon, executive vice-chancellor (EVC) at Duke Kunshan announced this week. Pickus will work closely with Haiyan Gao, vice chancellor (VC) for academic affairs, and have primary responsibility for the oversight of the curriculum, and for faculty hiring and development. He will lead the search committees in the social sciences and in the arts and humanities, recruit Duke faculty to teach at Duke Kunshan, and ensure that all faculty and the courses they develop align with the substance and spirit of the new curriculum.

Pickus has visited Duke Kunshan many times to consult on the curriculum and he taught a popular course on ‘Citizenship and Globalization’ in the Global Learning Semester, a semester-long undergraduate program. ‘It’s an honor to be joining Duke Kunshan, a model of undergraduate education that is rooted in Western and Asian educational traditions, imbued with Duke’s signature strengths, and distinctively suited for a 21st century global campus in China,’ Pickus said.

‘The intimate residential setting at Duke Kunshan and the close connection between faculty and students reminds me of the what I’ve treasured most in my own educational experience. I love how class discussions at Duke Kunshan go beyond the merely analytic; the students talk about how the ideas they encounter in class matter to them personally. I’m grateful for the confidence of EVC Simon and VC Gao and look forward to collaborating with the outstanding team of educators they have assembled at Duke Kunshan.’

‘I am delighted to welcome Noah Pickus to Duke Kunshan,’ Simon said. ‘He is a creative thinker and proven leader whose wide-ranging experience in higher education will further position the university as a platform for innovation in China and in the world.’ Pickus was for ten years the Nannerl O. Keohane Director of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, which he transformed from a successful start-up into a signature university-wide interdisciplinary program. Prior to joining the Kenan Institute, he was the founding director of the Institute for Emerging Issues, a university-based think tank under former Governor James B. Hunt Jr. at NC State University, and a faculty member at Duke.

In the U.S., he has taught at Middlebury and Williams Colleges, served as an American Council on Education Fellow at Franklin & Marshall College, and is currently a lead curriculum designer for the Arizona State University-Georgetown University Academy for Innovation in Higher Education Leadership.

‘I have worked closely with Noah Pickus for several years,’ said Gao. ‘He brings an open and engaging leadership style that will draw in Duke Kunshan and Duke faculty and further knit them together. As one of the main architects of our curriculum, he’s the ideal match for our needs as we turn dreams into realities.’

Pickus will also serve as a liaison for critical tasks at the interface of Duke and Duke Kunshan. Based at Duke, where he serves as Associate Provost and Senior Advisor to the Provost, he focuses on cross-university priorities and is vice-chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

An expert on immigration and citizenship, Dr. Pickus is an associate research professor of public policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy. He is the author of articles, books and policy reports including True Faith and Allegiance: Immigration and American Civic Nationalism (Princeton University Press) and Breaking the Immigration Stalemate: From Deep Disagreement to Productive Solutions (Brookings/Duke).

Dr. Pickus has held fellowships from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the A.W. Mellon Foundation, and the H.B. Earhart Foundation and received grants from the Luce Foundation, the Smith-Richardson Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation. A native Californian and triathlete, he earned a bachelor’s degree in the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University and a doctorate in politics from Princeton University. His wife, Trudi Abel, is a Research Services Archivist at Duke where she directs the Archives Alive Initiative. They have a son in college and a daughter in middle school.

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