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Wittenberg University Names Christopher M. Duncan As New Provost

March 4, 2011  
 Filed in Community, Headlines

Springfield, Ohio – Christopher M. Duncan, dean of the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pa., has been named the new provost at Wittenberg University. Duncan will begin his new responsibilities on July 1, 2011.

As Wittenberg’s second highest-ranking official and its new chief academic officer, Duncan will provide intellectual vision and leadership for the academic program and budget, educational policies, academic appointments, and the stimulation of teaching and research.

“The values, vision and sheer level of energy and ambition at Wittenberg struck me as a convergent moment — a time when deep change, fundamental growth, imagination and creativity along with truly mission-driven progress was possible,” Duncan said. “Beyond that, the depiction of the Wittenberg community as one where individual vocation is served while the common good and social justice are kept at the forefront in the context of shared governance and collaboration resonates in a profound way with my own personal orientation and value system.

“I felt a real personal and professional connection with President Erickson, and I am very excited about working with him and the faculty and staff of Wittenberg to continue to develop and implement a shared vision for the future of the university,” Duncan added. “The Wittenberg community was welcoming and open, and it is a true honor and privilege to be asked to join it in this capacity.”

“Chris’ commitment to Wittenberg’s mission, his outstanding people skills, strategic vision, and understanding of the liberal arts inspired all those who interviewed him,” said Wittenberg President Mark H. Erickson. “He is a wonderfully engaging person and will be a great partner in leading Wittenberg forward.  I am truly excited about welcoming Chris, his wife, and three children to the Wittenberg family, and confident that as our chief academic officer, he will successfully guide Wittenberg’s strategic vision and positively shape our collective future.”

In his current position at Duquesne, where he also is a professor of political science, Duncan is responsible for 170 tenured and tenure-track faculty members, about 200 contingent faculty, 1586 undergraduates and 700 graduate students in more than 33 majors and minors. As dean, Duncan spearheaded and negotiated a successful affiliation agreement between the National Institute for Newman Studies and Duquesne University, which resulted in a renewable five-year gift for $625,000, the creation of a professorship in the College of Liberal Arts, and a permanent designation of the Institute as part of Duquesne University. Additionally, Duncan partnered with the Spiritans to help establish a Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Program, actively recruited one of the leading Catholic bioethicists in the world for Duquesne’s healthcare ethics program, facilitated the establishment of several other programs in the curriculum, and served on numerous boards to advance Duquesne’s mission and vision.

Prior to his time at Duquesne, Duncan served as professor and chair of political science at the University of Dayton, where he helped lead the effort to create the first inter-disciplinary B.A. degree in human rights studies in the United States among other key partnerships and initiatives aligned with the university’s mission. Before joining the University of Dayton, Duncan taught political science at Mississippi State University.

Since starting his career in 1992, Duncan has published two books, 19 refereed articles in professional journals, 12 book reviews, three book chapters, and presented numerous conference papers at professional meetings. He has also published articles in Commonweal and is currently nearing completion of his third book tentatively titled Creative Fidelity: The Catholic Social Tradition and The American Liberal State.

“The responses from the campus were overwhelmingly positive toward Chris,” said Jerry Pankhurst, search committee chair and professor of sociology. “We believe that he will be a very good provost for Wittenberg, and we welcome his appointment by President Erickson and the Board of Directors.”

A 1987 graduate of the University of Michigan, with a B.A. in philosophy and political science, Duncan went on to earn his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science with a focus in political theory from Wayne State University. His selection received the unanimous endorsement of the Wittenberg Board of Directors.

One of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges, Wittenberg University challenges students to become responsible global citizens, to discover their callings, and to lead personal, professional, and civic lives of creativity, service, compassion, and integrity.  Founded in 1845 and affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Wittenberg offers more than 80 majors, minors and special programs. In addition, 95 percent of students leave Wittenberg with jobs or acceptances to some of the nation’s top graduate programs, including Harvard, Duke and Stanford. Among the university’s many celebrated alumni are the founder of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, a National Geographic photographer, an internationally known cancer researcher, the former CIA director and the former Lieutenant Governor of Ohio. For more on Wittenberg University, visit

Written By: Karen Gerboth


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