Mike Burnett has been named the new executive associate dean of the LSU College of Agriculture. (Photo by Olivia McClure)
News Release Distributed 02/20/14
BATON ROUGE, La. – Mike Burnett has been named executive associate dean of the LSU College of Agriculture. In this new role, Burnett hopes to help the college's 10 departments and schools meet needs that will allow improved funding and recruitment, particularly in graduate programs.
“This is a new position we have created to strengthen the administration of the college,” said Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture, who also serves as dean. “One of our primary goals is to expand our enrollment – especially in our graduate programs. Dr. Burnett brings the experience and leadership skills we need to grow our college.”
Burnett arrived at LSU in 1980 as a newly-minted Ph.D. in agricultural education from Ohio State University. His master’s and bachelor’s degrees, also in agricultural education, are both from Clemson University.
After 15 years as a professor at LSU, he became director of the School of Vocational Education — now called the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development (SHREWD) — and held that position until becoming executive associate dean.
He has served as committee chair for more than 160 master’s and doctoral students and graduated more than 80 doctoral students.
As its director, Burnett led SHREWD in broadening its mission to prepare students for a variety of careers. For example, the ag education program that originally trained students to be teachers was updated to reflect that degree's value in other disciplines. Burnett also helped expand the school's undergraduate curriculum to include more practical experience, such as internships in LSU AgCenter extension offices.
Students should always come first, Burnett believes, and he wants to help the College of Agriculture honor that commitment by ensuring departments' funding needs are satisfied. Burnett said the college's graduates are successful and in demand because they are both technically competent and have social skills. However, faculty must have sufficient resources to provide that kind of well-rounded education and stay on the cutting edge, he said.
Burnett will also concentrate on improving recruitment to graduate programs, which is a familiar task — the number of SHREWD graduate students doubled in the past 10 years. "Students make the programs good," Burnett said.
"LSU is my home," Burnett said — and it's not just because he's been here for 33 years.
"The thing that's special about LSU is the people," Burnett said. "They have dedication to the program and dedication to the students that is unmatched anywhere."