The once-full shelves in the vice president’s Rutherford Hall office are now almost bare. Over a month ago, Dr. Lee Duncan, current Executive Vice President of The Master’s University, announced he would be stepping down from his role to re-enter the world of accreditation. Since that announcement, he has been wrapping up projects and slowly packing up his office, book by book.
Dr. John MacArthur, president of Master’s U, brought Duncan in about four years ago to help facilitate communication and the administration of various departments on campus.
It was Duncan’s responsibility to get the four major “silos” on campus—athletics, academics, administration and student life—on the same page, operating in cohesion rather than as completely separate entities, a common occurrence in higher education.
Before coming to the university, Duncan had spent 30 years in the field of education and worked closely with schools to help them achieve accreditation. His first interaction with accreditation began with Santa Clarita Christian School, where he served as principal for 16 years. As an administrator, he became the driving force behind their achievement of academic credibility.
“This culture of schools cannot operate without being accredited. Nobody would come and other schools would not recognize the education,” Duncan explained.
Working with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), Duncan has been given the opportunity to visit a spectrum of academic institutions worldwide: public, private, religious, vocational, homeschool, charter, etc.
When ASCI recently contacted him, expressing their need for someone to oversee accreditation of schools in Hawaii and California, Duncan felt called to accept. “I have learned in my life that God always has a plan for each of us. God has brought me here to fill a certain role for a reason, and now He is moving me on to a new role with ACSI,” Duncan wrote in his Friday Update email sent to TMU faculty and staff.
In discussing Duncan’s impact on our campus, Dr. Joe Francis, chair of the Biological and Physical Sciences Department said, “Whenever you have leadership who stresses communication it pulls us all together. Even a board member who works closely with the Science Department responded to an email from Duncan saying, ‘I heard this in the Friday Update and will congratulate or encourage us,” Francis continued. “It pulls everyone who loves this place together and our institution benefits greatly from that.”
Dr. John Hughes, Vice President for Institutional Planning and Research, who worked closely with Duncan said, “He has done an extremely good job in providing leadership. He engages a range of individuals in different forms and gleans the best approach on how to move forward. He provides a clear line of communication on what is happening and people feel very up-to-date. Often in universities there is the discussion of the ‘silo-ing’ effect and the separation of a campus… that separation disappeared under his leadership.”
Francis, Hughes and many individuals in Rutherford Hall have used the word “communicative” to describe Duncan. Everyone knows what is going on and where the school is headed; because of that, each department is better able to work towards a common goal, making The Master’s University an institution that produces excellent and capable Christians ready for every avenue of life.
In appreciation of Dr. Duncan’s time at TMU, university president, Dr. John MacArthur said, “Lee has been a gift from the Lord to provide experience and direction for a crucial season in the history of TMU. He has faithfully and diligently served the Lord, the staff, faculty, students and board (of directors). I will always be grateful for his friendship and leadership.”
Tomorrow, May 5 will be his last academic day at the university before he takes on his role as Associate Director of the California-Hawaii Region of the Association of Christian Schools International. We are grateful for his leadership during his four years at Master’s U and look forward to seeing the Lord continue to use him and our university as we invest in the lives of future Christian leaders.