Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Davis Announces One-Year Appointment of Dr. Edward Burger As Vice Provost for Strategic Educational Initiatives

News Photo 5060
Dr. Edward Burger
Feb. 24, 2011

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Dr. Elizabeth Davis, executive vice president and provost at Baylor University, has announced the one-year appointment of Dr. Edward B. Burger to the position of vice provost for strategic educational initiatives. Burger, the 2010 recipient of Baylor's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, had been a visiting professor at Baylor during the fall semester.

Burger is professor of mathematics and The Lissack Professor of Social Responsibility and Personal Ethics at Williams College. During his one-year appointment, which begins in July, he also will hold the title of visiting professor of math.

"I am very pleased that Dr. Burger will return to Baylor to assume this important leadership role," Davis said. "As the Cherry Award winner, Ed Burger came to our campus as one of our nation's most outstanding, passionate and creative professors and immediately made a tremendous impact on faculty and students, both inside and outside the classroom. I am delighted that Ed will return to our campus to help spearhead our efforts to increase our effectiveness educating our students for leadership and service in the 21st century."

"I am delighted and honored to be invited to return to Baylor and serve in this new role," Burger said. "I look forward to collaborating with faculty, students and administrators on imaginative projects that have the promise of inspiring us all collectively to consider the true transformative potential of the modern academy."

Burger earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Connecticut College in 1985 and received his doctorate in 1990 from The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to Baylor, he has taught or been a visiting scholar at the University of Waterloo in Canada, The University of Texas at Austin, Westminster College, Texas Christian University, University of Colorado at Boulder and Macquarie University in Australia.

A math professor at Williams College since 1990, Burger has been honored with numerous teaching and writing awards, including the 2007 Award of Excellence from Technology & Learning magazine, the 2006 Reader's Digest "100 Best of America" as Best Math Teacher, and the 2006 Lester R. Ford Award, the 2004 Chauvenet Prize and the 2001 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award for Distinguished College Teaching of Mathematics, all from the Mathematical Association of America. He was named the recipient of Baylor's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching in January 2010.

Burger is the author or co-author of more than 30 research articles and 21 books and CD-ROM texts, including The Heart of Mathematics: An Invitation to Effective Thinking, which was honored with a 2001 Robert W. Hamilton Book Award; Coincidences, Chaos and All That Math Jazz: Making Light of Weighty Ideas (each co-authored with Michael Starbird from The University of Texas at Austin); and Extending the Frontiers of Mathematics: Inquiries into Proof and Argumentation. He is an associate editor for The American Mathematical Monthly and a member of the editorial board for Math Horizons.

Burger also has written and appeared in hundreds of educational videos, including the 24-lecture video series, "Zero to Infinity: A History of Numbers" and "An Introduction to Number Theory" in "The Great Courses" series through The Teaching Company. Some of his college-level videos can be found at youtube.com.

As the recipient of Baylor's Cherry Award - the only national teaching award presented by a college or university to an individual for exceptional teaching - Burger taught two popular classes during the fall 2010 semester at Baylor, "Ideas in Mathematics" and "Foundations of Combinatorics and Algebra." He also launched the Cherry Faculty Forum, a weekly program well-received by faculty across the disciplines who met regularly to discuss defining and fostering creativity both in the classroom and in their own scholarly pursuits.

"From the moment he arrived, Dr. Burger was warmly received by students and faculty, as he effectively engaged representatives from across the Baylor campus in important dialogue about innovative teaching and learning in the academy," Davis said. "That experience suggested that Ed could provide valuable assistance and perspective as we consider thoughtfully, and on behalf of our students, during the next year, the kinds of educational innovation we want to invest in and focus on in the future."

The Cherry Award program at Baylor is designed to honor great teachers, to stimulate discussion in the academy about the value of teaching and to encourage departments and institutions to value their own great teachers. Individuals nominated for the award have a proven record as an extraordinary teacher with a positive, inspiring and long-lasting effect on students, along with a record of distinguished scholarship.

The Cherry Award was created by Robert Foster Cherry, who earned his A.B. from Baylor in 1929. He enrolled in the Baylor Law School in 1932 and passed the Texas State Bar Examination the following year. With a deep appreciation for how his life had been changed by significant teachers, he made an exceptional estate bequest to establish the Cherry Award program to recognize excellent teachers and bring them in contact with Baylor students. The inaugural Robert Foster Cherry Award was presented in 1991 and is now awarded biennially. The winner of the Cherry Award receives a $200,000, including $25,000 for the recipient's home department.

For additional information on Baylor's Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching, including past recipients and the 2012 Cherry Award nomination process, visit www.baylor.edu/cherry_awards.

For more information on Baylor's strategic planning process, visit www.baylor.edu/strategicplan.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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