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Search for the dean of students: Burgin emphasizes connection with campus community

Jeffery Burgin, who has a doctorate in education, talked with Belmont students Friday during an open session for the associate provost and dean of students search.

Burgin serves as the vice president for student affairs at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, but is one of three candidates being considered for the position at Belmont.

“I wanted to apply for this because Belmont is growing,” Burgin said. “The infrastructure growth is amazing.”

Keeping in touch with the student population is one of the things he strives for, and he uses social media at his university to connect students with the administration and vice versa.

“That form of communication is what a lot of universities are utilizing,” Burgin said.

He also spoke about the importance of finishing something once it’s started. For example, his university is currently considering the construction of a student center, which will be further discussed in an October board meeting.

“One thing I always say is focus and follow through,” Burgin said. “Let’s not talk about it, let’s be it.”

During his talk, Burgin repeatedly mentioned that establishing and maintaining relationships with students is his priority. At Alabama A&M Universiy, he regularly speaks with their Student Government Association president, as well as other students to hear their thoughts firsthand.

“It’s about going to the people to find out what’s going on,” he said

Burgin believes it is the responsibility of everyone on campus to recruit students, retain them and fundraise for a larger endowment.

“When we talk about diversity all we talk about is numbers. All we do is have numbers on a campus, not create avenues for them to be successful,” Burgin said. “It’s like having an iPhone and all you do is make phone calls.

One of Burgin’s main talking points was working with students and helping them prepare for the future in four years.

He aims to make sure students understand their roles when it comes to difficult situations

“We can’t make the institution better by tearing it down,” Burgin said.

– Rebecca Arnold

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