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Burke to Take Over as FAS Registrar

By Stephanie B. Garlock, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard Kennedy School Registrar and Director of Admissions Michael P. Burke will take over as the new Registrar for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Dean of the College Evelyn M. Hammonds announced in an e-mail Monday afternoon.

Burke, who has been at the Kennedy School for 10 years, will replace Barry S. Kane, who left in July to head Wellesley’s Registrar’s Office and take up an assistant deanship. Burke will take office on January 31, 2011.

As Registrar, Burke will be in charge of student enrollment and records for both the College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

“The job of Registrar for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences is a big job because there’s a lot of constituencies,” Secretary of the Administrative Board John “Jay” L. Ellison said. “The FAS is a complicated beast.”

While Burke was chosen from an international pool of candidates, Dean of Undergraduate Education Jay M. Harris indicated Burke’s experience at Harvard will be important in easing his transition to his new position at FAS.

“He knows Harvard, and Harvard is a complicated place,” Harris said via Skype last night.

Burke will also serve on the Administrative Board, subject to final approval from Hammonds, Ellison said.

Burke received a bachelor’s in Political Science from Syracuse University and a Master’s of Education in Higher Education Administration from Harvard, according to Hammonds’ e-mail.

Burke’s experience with implementing new technology at the Kennedy School set him apart from others considered for the job, FAS Spokesperson Jeff Neal said. During his time as registrar, Burke oversaw the movement to online application and registrations and the creation of a new Student Information System.

“On the technological side he’s been instrumental in creating a streamlined, user-friendly system,” said Kennedy School Dean of Students Christopher M. Fortunato ’94, a former Crimson editor.

Burke’s experience with technological transitions parallels that of his predecessor Kane, who similarly oversaw the movement to online registration, grading, and course evaluations—known as the Q guide.

In an interview with The Crimson in July, Kane named the digitalization and transformation of the Q guide, formerly the Committee on Undergraduate Education guide, as the biggest accomplishment from his time as registrar. Before Kane’s tenure, course evaluations took place during the final class of the year, were filled out by hand, and were optional for professors. At the time of his departure, Kane indicated that the transition to digital records will continue to be a priority for his successor. He said his biggest regret was not creating an electronic system for the submission of midterm grades.

But, for Burke, the technological aspects of the job are merely tools to help achieve his larger goal.

“I am sure technology will be part of our road map,” Burke wrote in an e-mail, adding that “it should always be a goal of a registrar to facilitate the educational mission without becoming an obstacle.”

Fortunato said Burke’s work at the Kennedy School bridging the technological and personal aspects of the registrar’s job will serve him well in his new role.

“You know when someone’s first priority is supporting people and students and you know when it’s not,” said Fortunato. “He’s not blind-sided by all the technical and logistical aspects.”

—Staff writer Stephanie B. Garlock can be reached at sgarlock@college.harvard.edu.

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