Burrows to do double-duty at Lawrence -bkm -dlh

Emily Gonzalez (Associate News Editor)

This coming summer, Lawrence University will welcome a new member of the administrative and academic staff. On March 29, 2005, it was formally announced by President Jill Beck that David Burrows will take the position of new provost and dean of the faculty. Burrows, currently dean of the college and vice president of academic affairs at Beloit College, replaces Dean of the Faculty Kathleen Murray.
The decision to search for a new dean and provost was made after it was announced that Murray would not be continuing on in the position. Murray, a member of the Lawrence faculty since the late ’80s as a professor of piano, was dean of the Conservatory of Music and served as dean of the faculty since June 2003. According to a recent online notice, Murray will be returning to full-time teaching after this summer.
Burrows’ appointment comes after a rather lengthy search process, which began in December 2004. Serving on the search committee were seven faculty members, including chair of the committee Professor Paul Cohen, as well as five students who were recommended by professors and asked to give feedback to the faculty committee. About fifty applications were received, then narrowed down to nine phone interviews and from there to the final four applicants, who came to campus for a decision.
As part of the process, the student committee met with each candidate over the course of about a month, having informal interviews over breakfast. “We talked about student related issues a new provost would have to deal with,” said Pete Snyder, one of the students on the committee. Issues discussed included how to increase diversity among the faculty and increase the amount of faculty-led student research. In addition, the candidates were required to give a presentation on “exactly how he or she would teach a class,” said Snyder.
According to Cohen, Burrows was ultimately chosen because he had the most experience within a liberal arts college ******– he “knows us.” For someone like Burrows, who comes from a fellow ACM college, “the learning curve would be shorter.”
Burrows’ background is somewhat extensive: originally from New York City, Burrows holds a Ph.D. in psychology and first taught at the State University of New York’s Brockport campus for eight years. After this, he taught for 17 years at Skidmore College in upstate New York, where he was also dean of the faculty for three years. He has been at Beloit for eight years, teaching and holding the position of dean of the college *******– similar to dean of the faculty ********– and vice president of academic affairs.
According to Burrows, his interest in cognitive psychology led him to become interested in teaching and being involved in a college setting. “I have always been excited about ideas,” said Burrows, “including doing cognitive research on how the mind works and talking with students and colleagues about how the mind works.”
According to Cohen, by combining the titles of provost and dean of the faculty, Lawrence wanted to “re-enhance” the position. Though the two positions are very large and include the requirements as chief academic officer of the university and principal administrative officer concerned with shaping and directing the educational mission of the university, Burrows’ experience indeed seems to qualify him for the job.
“[Burrows] is an academic himself,” said Cohen, adding that “[you] cannot be effectively in charge of the faculty and not be a scholar.”
As provost and dean of the faculty, Burrows will be working very closely with President Beck, as part of her administrative staff. With President Beck beginning her term as the first new president in 25 years, this will be a time of transition and change for the Lawrence community. “When I visited the campus, I was impressed with the students, and faculty and staff,” said Burrows. “I was also very impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and ideas of President Beck, and I very much look forward to working with her.”
As Burrows prepares to make the transition to Lawrence, he expressed excitement in working with students and faculty during the upcoming year *******– particularly within certain programs that he said he was eager to become part of, such as tutorial opportunities and making a stronger capstone program. “I would like to see Lawrence continue its growth as an excellent liberal institution with a *******– deserved *******– national reputation,” said Burrows. “There are many ways that this will happen and I look forward to getting ideas from faculty and students about Lawrence”.
Burrows will begin the institutional transition at Lawrence in July 2005.