Duke University’s project to build a campus in Kunshan, China, is facing more setbacks.
The campus was supposed to open in early 2014, but has been postponed until further construction is completed. Faculty have previously raised questions about the feasibility of the proposal.
Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations at Duke, said in an email that the setbacks are part of a few unavoidable difficulties in building a campus overseas.
UNC-CH and UNC-system leaders say they have no intention of exploring an offshore campus like Duke Kunshan University, preferring instead to focus on partnerships with established universities abroad.
Branch campuses are not cheap or easy tasks to accomplish, and many even shut down due to the pitfalls universities face while creating them, according to an opinion piece co-written by Ron Strauss, UNC-CH’s executive vice provost and chief international officer, published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Offshore campuses might offer a university more control and better course quality, but the opportunity cost is high when considering an international venture like Duke Kunshan University, he said.
“What must be forsaken on the home campus to establish a credible and viable branch campus abroad?” he said.
Partnerships are no less bold than building offshore campuses, he said.
Leslie Boney, vice president for international, community and economic engagement for the UNC system, said the system has not considered building campuses overseas.