KUNSHAN, CHINA -- Feng Youmei, the executive vice president of Wuhan University, has been appointed chancellor of Duke Kunshan University.
Feng, who is to be sworn in on Sept. 1, is one of a few female university chancellors in China. She succeeds Liu Jingnan, the university’s first chancellor and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Liu will return to teaching and research after serving as chancellor for six years.
Duke University President Vincent E. Price thanked Liu for his dedication to Duke Kunshan’s development. “We are so grateful to Chancellor Liu for his leadership, which was instrumental to making Duke Kunshan a reality. It is fitting that he finished his term as we prepared for the first undergraduates to arrive on campus, a moment that reflects his tireless work and marks the beginning of Duke Kunshan’s great future,” Price said.
“We are delighted that he will be handing the reins to Feng Youmei, who will be a visionary leader for this next stage in Duke Kunshan’s development,” Price added. “I look forward to working with Chancellor Feng to continue Duke Kunshan’s success.”
Duke Kunshan University, a partnership between Duke and Wuhan universities, was approved by China’s Ministry of Education in September 2013. After hosting graduate programs for four years, Duke Kunshan welcomed its first class of undergraduate students in August.
“Under the leadership of Chancellor Liu Jingnan, Duke Kunshan University has made many remarkable achievements, creating an admirable starting point for future development,” Feng said. “This year, Duke Kunshan welcomes its inaugural class of undergraduate students from all over the world, marking a new stage in the school’s development. At this important turning point, I feel deeply grateful and proud. I also feel great responsibility. ”
As executive vice president of Wuhan, Feng has been an active participant in Duke Kunshan’s development, and she is executive vice president of its Board of Trustees.
Duke University Provost Sally Kornbluth noted Feng’s deep involvement in Duke Kunshan’s achievements, adding, “With Chancellor Feng bringing her strong leadership skills and her deep thinking of and rich experience in higher education management and reform to Duke Kunshan, the university’s future is indeed bright.”
Feng has long been engaged in higher-education management. As Wuhan’s executive vice president since 2012, she advanced faculty recruitment and development, as well as education and teaching reform. She also enhanced the development of Wuhan in human resources management and medical education, and expanded the channels and standards for international exchanges, which has bolstered Wuhan’s international reputation.
As a scholar, Feng is mainly engaged in research into cardiovascular disease pathogenesis, focusing on geriatric diseases, cancer and health system reform. She presides over more than 20 national, provincial and ministerial projects, and has won many provincial and ministerial awards for her teaching and research. She has been a recipient of a special stipend granted by the State Council since 1997.
“Duke Kunshan is such a young and exceptional university,” Feng noted. “I look forward to working together with all parties to establish a modern university system with Chinese characteristics, to build a world-class research university, and to cultivate outstanding talents who will play a leading role on the world stage.”
Denis Simon, executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan, called his experience working with Liu “a true collaborative partnership. His pursuit of innovative breakthroughs and his rigorous and pragmatic work style are admirable. I believe Liu’s vision for building a true liberal arts university in China will be realized here at Duke Kunshan.
“Also, I look forward to working with my longtime friend, professor Feng Youmei, at Duke Kunshan. I believe that cooperating together we will write the next chapter in the development of this university.”
One distinguishing quality of Duke Kunshan is that it operates on a new model of interdisciplinary education, an innovative step for higher education in China and abroad.
“The establishment of Duke Kunshan University is a great way to explore the integration of Chinese and Western higher education,” said Wuhan President Dou Xiankang. “I believe professor Feng Youmei will live up to everyone’s expectations and, with the full support of all parties involved, lead Duke Kunshan to becoming one of the world’s leading research universities.”
Feng graduated from Tongji Medical University of HUST in 1987 with a master’s degree in biochemistry. From 1987 to 1989, she was a visiting scholar at Ohio State University. She then taught at Tongji Medical for many years. From 2000 to 2012, she assumed important leadership positions at Tongji Medical and Huazhong University of Science and Technology before being named executive vice president of Wuhan.
Feng has served in leadership positions for many organizations, including as vice chairwoman of the Medical Education Committee of the China Association of Higher Education; vice chairwoman of the Basic Medical Education Committee of the Ministry of Education; and editor-in-chief of Global Health Research and Policy.