Vice President and University Dean of Students Paul Burgett is on the move to the president?s suite on the second floor of Wallis Hall. But it won?t be just his office that changes places ? he will also receive a promotion.
In changes approved last Friday by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees, Burgett will become General Secretary and Senior Advisor to the President. He will also retain the titles of Vice President and Dean, becoming ceremonially known as University Dean.
“I am going to bring life and noise to the second floor of Wallis Hall,” Burgett said. “I am looking forward to making new contributions to support the president, the faculty and the students in ways that coincide perfectly with my skills and expertise.”
Most of Burgett?s current responsibilities will shift to current River Campus Dean of Students Mary-Beth Cooper, who will assume the position of Associate Provost for Student Services and Dean of Students for The College.
Burgett?s responsibilities will include communicating with the Board of Trustees on a regular basis, coordinating community relations for UR and being a liaison for the President?s Office to students, faculty and staff.
“Given his physical proximity to me and the range of his responsibilities, I expect he will aid me in innumerable ways in carrying out the responsibilities of being president,” President Thomas Jackson said.
Burgett will also serve as a general advisor to the president and the senior university representative, along with the president and other academic leaders, at regional alumni events.
“This is the right job at the right time,” Jackson said. “As occurs from time-to-time with student affairs officers, the enormous reservoir of students he has known over 20 years of being involved in student affairs now makes him uniquely valuable on the alumni circuit as a representative of the institution.
“In addition, since Dick Miller?s departure, we have not had a focused presence on community relations in the Rochester community,” Jackson continued. “Dean Burgett, like [Miller], knows virtually everyone, and so here, too, he is a natural.”
Dick Miller, who served as UR?s senior vice president and chief operating officer, left the university in April 2000 to become the vice chancellor and chief operating officer for the SUNY system.
Burgett agreed with Jackson, saying he believes his 37 years in the Rochester community and his membership on a plethora of social, cultural and educational boards uniquely suits him to be UR?s liaison to the Rochester area.
“I believe this is the perfect opportunity at absolutely the right time in my life,” Burgett said.
Burgett said he couldn?t be leaving the Dean of Students? Office in better hands.
“I recommended [Cooper] to the president with complete enthusiasm,” he said.
Cooper said she was “psyched” at her promotion to Associate Provost and Dean of Students for The College.
She said the new title would give her a wider array of powers to improve and expand services for students at the university.
Cooper also said that the new structure in the Dean of Students Office should make more sense. The roles of University Dean of Students and River Campus Dean of Students will be combined into one.
“At times, it may have been confusing for students who they needed to go [to with problems] between myself and Dean Burgett,” she said. “I think [the new structure] should make a lot more sense.”
As for Burgett, don?t expect him to disappear forever into Wallis Hall. He said he still plans to teach classes, take freshman advisees, advise the Music Interest Floor and, yes ? he still plans to give the “Fiery Furnace” speech every year to the incoming freshman class.
“I absolutely cherish the relationships I have been able to build with students,” he said. “I plan to nourish and continue to build those relationships.”