School of Leadership & Human Resource Development Director, Mike Burnett, Named Executive Associate Dean of LSU College of Agriculture


LSU College of Human Sciences & Education congratulates and gratefully bids farewell to Dr. Mike Burnett, recently named executive associate dean of the LSU College of Agriculture. Prior to this new position, Dr. Burnett was a valued colleague of the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development (SLHRD). During his 33 years with the school, Dr. Burnett served in various capacities including J.C. Floyd Endowed Professor of Agriculture, Interim Director and Director.

“We congratulate Dr. Burnett on this new professional development opportunity and are pleased that he intends to continue supporting the educational mission of his tenure home in SLHRD through graduate course instruction and service on doctoral dissertation committees,” CHSE Dean Damon Andrew said. 

Dr. Burnett began his new position with the College of Agriculture in January 2014. During his time with SLHRD, Dr. Burnett has managed a feat that is the endeavor of many educators: he has inspired the love of his students.

“Both through his teaching and his coaching and mentoring, Dr. Burnett has touched every student that has come through our programs in the 20 years I have been associated with the department. He is a compassionate and dedicated teacher who is always willing to help and whose door is ever open to students,” his former colleague and SLHRD professor Reid Bates said. “To our benefit, Dr. Burnett has demonstrated the same compassion and commitment to the faculty.  Not only was he a master of the administrivia that comes with leading a School (very thankfully reducing the burden on faculty) but he has been an untiring advocate for and supporter of faculty needs and interests.”

Dr. Burnett is a prime example of this dedication to his students. He continues to teach SLHRD’s research and statistics courses.

Interim Associate Dean for Distance Learning and Leadership and endowed professor, Dr. Ed Holton, will take on the additional role of Interim Director of SLHRD while permanent leadership options are explored. Dr. Holton brings 30 years of experience in HRD/OD as a practitioner, professor, author, speaker and consultant. The author of 17 books that have been translated into 12 different languages, he has received numerous top awards in the profession for his research and practice. He is widely acknowledged as a global expert on the transfer of learning.


Below is a news release by Olivia McClure at the LSU AgCenter.


BATON ROUGE—Mike Burnett has been named executive associate dean of the LSU College of Agriculture. In this new role, Burnett hopes to help the college's 10 departments and schools meet needs that will allow improved funding and recruitment, particularly in graduate programs.

“This is a new position we have created to strengthen the administration of the college,” said Bill Richardson, LSU vice president for agriculture, who also serves as dean. “One of our primary goals is to expand our enrollment – especially in our graduate programs. Dr. Burnett brings the experience and leadership skills we need to grow our college.”

Burnett arrived at LSU in 1980 as a newly-minted Ph.D. in agricultural education from Ohio State University. His master’s and bachelor’s degrees, also in agricultural education, are both from Clemson University.

After 15 years as a professor at LSU, he became director of the School of Vocational Education — now called the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development (SLHRD) — and held that position until becoming executive associate dean.

He has served as committee chair for more than 160 master’s and doctoral students and graduated more than 80 doctoral students.

As its director, Burnett led SLHRD in broadening its mission to prepare students for a variety of careers. For example, the ag education program that originally trained students to be teachers was updated to reflect that degree's value in other disciplines. Burnett also helped expand the school's undergraduate curriculum to include more practical experience, such as internships in LSU AgCenter extension offices.

Students should always come first, Burnett believes, and he wants to help the College of Agriculture honor that commitment by ensuring departments' funding needs are satisfied. Burnett said the college's graduates are successful and in demand because they are both technically competent and have social skills. However, faculty must have sufficient resources to provide that kind of well-rounded education and stay on the cutting edge, he said.

Burnett will also concentrate on improving recruitment to graduate programs, which is a familiar task — the number of SLHRD graduate students doubled in the past 10 years. "Students make the programs good," Burnett said.

"LSU is my home," Burnett said — and it's not just because he's been here for 33 years.

"The thing that's special about LSU is the people," Burnett said. "They have dedication to the program and dedication to the students that is unmatched anywhere."

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