named dean of USU grad school
April 26, 2006 | Byron Burnham has
been appointed vice provost and dean of the graduate
school at Utah State University. Burnham will assume
his duties July 1.
Prior to his appointment as vice provost and dean,
Burnham served as department head and professor for
the department of instructional technology and research
professor for the department of psychology in the College
of Education and Human Services.
USU president Stan Albrecht said he is pleased with
Burnham’s appointment to this vital position.
“His leadership is important as the Utah State University
system continues to grow, not only in Logan, but throughout
the state,” Albrecht said. “Graduate education has always
had an important place on our Logan campus. In the future,
it will become even more important and vital. Dr. Burnham
is experienced and well-qualified to lead this future
The announcement was made by USU’s Executive Vice
President and Provost Raymond T. Coward following a
telephone conference call with President Stan Albrecht
and USU’s board of trustees.
Burnham replaces Tom Kent, who left USU Aug. 1, 2004,
to become dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at
Western Michigan University.
“I am grateful and excited about the opportunities
before us,” Burnham said. “I welcome advice and perspectives
from USU’s colleges and departments.”
The School of Graduate Studies is the central administrative
body that promotes, supports and reviews graduate education
at Utah State University, ensuring consistency and excellence
in all graduate degree programs.
A search committee, headed by professor Jim Dorward,
coordinated the efforts that culminated in Burnham’s
“Following the application and interview process,
the search committee recommended candidates to the provost
and the president,” Dorward said.
He characterized the pool of candiates as individuals
of exceptional backgrounds and skills.
“Dr. Burnham had strengths in previous administrative
positions at USU,” he said. “He also had a strong background
in graduate student mentoring and in his position as
department head of a department that exclusively grants
master’s degrees and Ph.D’s.”
Coward acknowledged the committee for its efforts.
“President Albrecht and I thank the search committee
for its dedication to finding the ideal candidates for
this position,” Coward said. “The graduate dean plays
an important role on campus, and we are very pleased
that Byron Burnham has accepted this position. I look
forward to working closely with him to build strong,
vital and world-renowned graduate programs at USU.”
Burnham said the demand for graduate degrees is increasing,
and while USU has excellent graduate programs in a number
of areas, expansion in other areas is possible.
“The affordability of graduate education is an issue
at the national level,” he said. “At USU costs are relative
low, but we still need to help students see how they
can support themselves while studying with some of the
best faculty in the nation. As an institution we need
to help them secure financial support.”
Burnham joined Utah State University in 1972, where
he was program coordinator in the Conference and Institute
Division and executive secretary of the Quality of Rural
Life Programs until 1979. He spent several years at
the University of British Columbia, before returning
to USU in 1980 as director of the Management Institute
and assistant director of the Conference and Institute
Division. He has served as associate dean for Extension,
Learning Resources Program, and as interim dean of Information
and Learning Resources. He participated in the National
Leadership Development Project, sponsored by the W.K.
Kellogg Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.
The project focused on improving higher education across
the United States. As part of the project, Burnham undertook
a two year study of leadership in higher education.
Burnham earned bachelor’s and master’s degress from
USU and his doctorate from the University of British
Columbia in adult education.