Cornell announced Wednesday that Jonathan Burdick, the current vice provost for enrollment initiatives at the University of Rochester, will serve as the vice provost of enrollment starting August 19.
The position, created in April 2018, is currently held by Jason Locke as the interim vice provost until Burdick’s arrival. In this role, Burdick will oversee admissions, financial aid and the registrar. He said he hopes to improve communication between colleges by integrating meetings among administration and management.
“I hope to have people solving similar problems [in their respective colleges] share best practices more so than maybe it has been true in recent years,” Burdick told The Sun.
Provost Michael Kotlikoff welcomed Burdick’s appointment, saying in a University press release that “he is a creative thinker and an institutional strategist with the ability to inspire and implement change.”
Burdick comes to Cornell with more than 30 years of experience in the field, having served as the vice provost and dean of admissions and financial aid for 16 years at the University of Rochester. Before that, Burdick was an associate dean at the University of Southern California.
Burdick said that his prior experience prepared him for Cornell’s multi-college and professional school environment. He said the structure of the University of Southern California — with 17 individual colleges — is comparable to Cornell, while the research focus of the University of Rochester mirrors Cornell’s emphasis on research.
“I’m blending more than 30 years of experience into two places that are different from each other, but both have their echoes in Cornell,” Burdick said.
The biggest challenge, according to Burdick, will be getting to know Cornell in his first year. He hopes to understand the “vantage point” of students by spending time with each of the colleges, engaging with student-run organizations and attending campus-wide events. By interacting with students, Burdick hopes to shape Cornell’s legacy by guiding for the future.
“The students who are there at Cornell right now are the ones who will be the stewards of Cornell 20, 25, and 30 years from now,” he said.
One course of action Burdick plans on taking is to develop more of a professional development track within Cornell.
“For some of the smaller colleges especially, there is no obvious career path for growth,” Burdick said. “I think we need to create a network that makes that more possible.”
Burdick has also been tasked by the administration with building a more coherent Cornell identity for prospective students. When students apply to Cornell, they feel that they have to pursue a degree among the whole “suite of academic opportunities,” he said, when there “ought to be something that students feel good about just coming to Cornell across all of its colleges, operations, activities.”
Along with other administrators, Burdick hopes to propel Cornell in the right direction while staying true to the motto set forth by founder Ezra Cornell in 1865.
“I want to take all the great success Cornell already has and turn it into a more inclusive 21st-century version of ‘any person, any study,’” Burdick said.