By Tiffany Miller
Dr. Randy Burd officially started his position as Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Long Island University on Jan. 1. He replaces Jeff Kane, who was the vice president of academic affairs from 2002 until Aug. 31, 2017. Lori Knapp, LIU Post’s vice president for academic affairs, and Gayle Haynes, LIU Brooklyn’s vice president for academic affairs, Duleep Deosthale, the dean of Global Academic Programs & Initiatives, and John Pezzuto, Vice President of LIU Health & Research Dean-Pharmacy, report to him. In his new position, Burd oversees all academic units and research goals for all LIU campuses.
The biggest challenge – or opportunity as he states – he is faced with is establishing and elevating a research enterprise at the university. In his first month in office, he was focused on doing just that. “Establishing a foundation to build a comprehensive, globally engaged, research institution that is interconnected with academic programs [is] something I’m actively doing and will spend most of my time on,” he said.
Michael Soupios, professor of political science, agrees that building the research programs is a worthy goal. However, “the financial realities at LIU are such that prospects for attaining such a goal are not realistic,” he stated.
Burd was hired by President Kimberly R. Cline and a search committee made up of faculty and administrators, including Alexander Henderson, Larry Banks, Lorraine Cicero, Denise Dick, Kathleen Feeley, Christopher Fevola, Gale Haynes, Michael Kavic, John Lutz, Barbara Parisi, Andy Person John Pezzuto, Edward Summers, and Robert Valli. “I saw tremendous opportunity at LIU and I felt it was a great t at launching many things here that I’ve built before,” he said about his decision to join the university. “LIU is on a great trajectory and I’m honored to work with the fantastic students and faculty here and continue to elevate the university.”
Alexander Henderson, a professor in the department of health care and public administration, served on the search committee and evaluated candidates for the Senior Vice President position. “Dr. Burd emerged during the search process as an outstanding fit for LIU. He has a strong track record of building research partnerships, creating infrastructure that supports and encourages faculty research, and an intense focus on student academic success,” Henderson said.
Burd, was a native of Buffalo, N.Y., is interested in cancer research. He received a B.A. in biological sciences from SUNY Buffalo in 1994, a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biophysics from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute at the University at Buffalo, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in cancer biology at Thomas Jefferson University, where he performed research in the area of biology and cancer therapeutics, in 2001.
Burd served most recently as the associate vice president for research for almost two years at the University of Arizona, where he was a tenured professor in the department of nutritional sciences. Before that, he spent four years as an assistant vice president for program innovation and an assistant director of distance and global initiatives at the University of Arizona, where he developed workshops and training for faculty in technology advancement in STEM education. He also led a team focused on the development of international research.
He taught at Thomas Jefferson University from 2002-2005 as an assistant professor in the department of radiation oncology and also served as the director of preclinical therapeutics in the department of radiology. He founded and directed a pharmaceutical program that focused on drug development with pharmaceutical companies at Thomas Jefferson University.
Burd’s current position differs from his prior position at the University of Arizona, where he was more heavily focused on global research. Now he is more focused on building a strong foundation from the ground up for academics and research at LIU.
“I hope he brings a fresh outlook of change and diversity to our academic community that will provide the students of our campus the tools necessary to be successful off and on the campus, so that students can be proud to say they’ve attended a remarkable school,” Casey Ann Collins, a graduate nursing student, said.
“I hope he can make LIU stand out as the premier institution for higher education on Long Island that it has the potential to be,” Thomas Pallini, a junior political science major and class of 2019 president, said.
Burd believes that listening to students and collaborating with faculty will be key to his success. “We have a lot of great faculty and we want to support them and maximize the student experience,” he said. He plans to interact with students, including attending student events, town hall meetings to hear and address student concerns, and making himself available during new student orientation and graduation events. “I’m a very approachable person; if I’m having lunch in Hillwood and a student approaches me, I am always willing to speak with them,” he said.
Burd recently moved to Locust Valley, N.Y. with his wife and two young boys. He spends his free time with his family and at the beach. His office is located at University Center in Bush-Brown Hall. If students or faculty have concerns or questions, he is willing to make an appointment to address them directly.