The University of New England’s provost, Joshua W. Hamilton, has stepped down and will be on sabbatical for the rest of the academic year, the university announced Saturday.

A UNE spokeswoman, Sarah Delage, shared the university president’s internal announcement of the top academic official’s departure, but said UNE couldn’t comment on why Hamilton was leaving.

Joshua Hamilton Photo courtesy of University of New England

“I am writing with the bittersweet announcement that Provost Josh Hamilton has informed me of his intention to step down as provost and take a sabbatical leave for the remainder of the academic year,” UNE President James Herbert said in an email to faculty and staff on Wednesday. “Josh’s notable achievements include laying the foundation for revision of the undergraduate curriculum and centralization of a number of student support services. I am grateful for his leadership of UNE’s academic programs during his tenure as provost, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. I wish him the very best going forward.”

Contacted Saturday afternoon, Hamilton issued a one-sentence statement by email. “I’m stepping down for personal reasons,” he said.

Hamilton was previously provost and vice president for academic affairs at Rhode Island College before joining UNE in April 2018. He has also held appointments at University of Minnesota Duluth and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he was the founding director of Dartmouth’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences, according to UNE’s 2018 news release announcing his appointment.

The now former UNE provost has a bachelor of science degree in biology from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, as well as a master’s degree in genetics and a doctorate in toxicology from Cornell University.

Dr. Karen Pardue, dean of the Westbrook College of Health Professions, will serve as interim provost while UNE conducts a nationwide search for a permanent replacement, according to Herbert’s email.

Delage said the university couldn’t comment on the reason for Hamilton’s departure because that constituted confidential personnel information. On Saturday afternoon, access to Hamilton’s online faculty page had been restricted.

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