Southwestern University, a United Methodist-affiliated college in Georgetown, Texas, has chosen Edward R. Burger as its next president.
He’s the Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, and also is known for creating more than 3,000 instructional videos on math.
“Ed is an eloquent spokesperson for the liberal arts. He is a once-in-twenty-years person who is poised to be a visionary leader for Southwestern,” said Morton Schapiro, president of Northwestern University and former president of Williams College.
Based on a two-day visit to campus in January, Dr. Burger said he was “excited by the energy and creativity that seems to permeate throughout the Southwestern community.”
“Everyone—faculty, staff, students and alumni—is devoted to the basic mission of the university: engaging minds and transforming lives. In the classroom and beyond, through curricular and co-curricular activities, through formal and informal interactions, through every office and program, members of the community see themselves as committed educators, mentors, guides, friends and colleagues. Southwestern captures the true spirit and delivers the true promise of a liberal arts education,” he said.
Dr. Burger will succeed as president Jake B. Schrum, who announced last fall that he would retire from Southwestern July 1.
A graduate of Connecticut College and the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his Ph.D. in math, Dr. Burger has been on the faculty and served in leadership roles at Williams since 1990.
In 1997, he became one of the first makers of instructional mathematics videos accessible to a broader audience through mediums such as CD-ROMs and the Internet. He went on to create math instruction videos, targeting groups from kindergarten age to college level.
Three years ago, Dr. Burger spent a year at Baylor serving as the Robert Foster Cherry Professor for Great Teaching, and was invited by Baylor stay an additional year as vice provost for strategic educational initiatives.
“Ed brings his national stature, acclaim and recognition to Southwestern,” said Baylor University President Ken Starr. “I always felt that I was a better person after meeting with him, a little smarter than I was before.”
Dr. Burger has written or co-written more than 35 research articles as well as 12 books including The Heart of Mathematics: An invitation to effective thinking. That book, whose co-author is Michael Starbird from The University of Texas at Austin, which is now in its fourth edition.