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K-State Today

March 16, 2015



Thurston, Burden given new responsibilities

By Patrice Scott

A shift in responsibilities for two College of Education administrators means new synergies for faculty and graduate students.

Linda P. Thurston, associate dean for research and graduate studies and the Lydia E. Skeen endowed professor, assumed responsibility of the graduate studies program earlier this month. Paul Burden, assistant dean, was asked to focus on the college's reaccreditation effort.

Debbie Mercer, dean of the College of Education, appreciates the flexibility both of these administrators have demonstrated.

"We are fortunate to have administrators with such varied backgrounds and areas of expertise that when a structural change such as this one is needed, they have the ability to shift seamlessly into their new roles," Mercer said.

Thurston looks forward to her new duties, as she believes it will create many synergies.

"This structural change combines some of the goals of our graduate programs with some of our research goals," she said. "Building the capacity to do research for faculty aligns with providing resources and experiences for graduate student research."

Thurston thinks the inaugural Graduate Student Appreciation Week April 6-10 will be the ideal time to begin bringing faculty and student researchers together from the college's 14 graduate programs.

"I plan to explore all options that build a sense of community among researchers," she said.

Burden thinks the ability to fully concentrate on accreditation will advance the college today and for future site visits.

"By serving as the accreditation coordinator, I now can interact with others in the college to prepare the report for our upcoming national accreditation visit," he said. "This new role also gives me the opportunity to provide guidance to the college as we move to new professional standards and a different national accrediting agency. This will be an exciting time to build on our successes and further strengthen our programs."