March 1, 2024

University administrators remain reluctant to divulge details regarding Provost Chris Duncan’s sudden disappearance from campus this semester.
 
Information regarding the nature of his sabbatical or a timeline for his return have not yet been issued.
 
“At this point, I am not in a position to share any details about the timing or duration of Provost Duncan’s sabbatical,” President Joyner said. “I am not at liberty to discuss the timing or precipitating factors associated with or leading up to this sabbatical.”
 
Joyner’s office made the announcement on the first day of classes for the fall semester that Duncan would be taking a “sabbatical” and would not be returning to campus in the foreseeable future.
 
Duncan, who has served as Provost since 2011, was seen on campus during new student days and spoke at the new student assembly at the Pam Evans Smith Arena just days before his sabbatical was announced.
 
Mary Jo Zembar, associate professor of psychology, has meanwhile been selected to serve as interim provost for the duration of Duncan’s absence from campus. She will assume all of his duties as chief academic officer for the foreseeable future.
 
“Though I do not know the reason for Provost Duncan’s sudden sabbatical, I am very certain that Dr. Mary Jo Zembar will serve the community of Wittenberg very well as our Interim Provost,” Student Senate President Zach Lough said.
 
“I am quite pleased that we have over 50 years of Wittenberg experience leading our academic area and advising me on critical issues,” Joyner said. “I am deeply grateful to both Drs. Ankrom and Zembar for their continued capable work on our collective behalf.”
 
Duncan himself could not be reached for comment on his absence.

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