College of Mount Saint Vincent appoints Dr. Susan R. Burns to school presidency

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Dr. Susan R. Burns
Courtesy of Mount St. Vincent

Riverdale’s College of Mount Saint Vincent will have new executive leadership come Jan. 1, 2021.

The school announced that current vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Susan R. Burns will become the school’s sixth president,  succeeding the retiring Charles L. Flynn.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the next president of the College of Mount Saint Vincent and I am delighted to join a community committed to providing transformational student-centered learning opportunities in and beyond the classroom,” said Dr. Burns in accepting the appointment.

Burns is what the college described as a “highly regarded and admired member of the higher education community,” as well as a figure who “has commanded respect for her skills as an academic leader, educator and scholar.”

She also has held a role as Dean of Faculty at Clarke University in Iowa since 2014, where she began “working to shape key initiatives of the institution” by helping to restructure the university’s budget, reclaiming nearly a quarter million dollars to be reinvested in other academic programs.

“Leveraging her gift for inspiring cross-disciplinary teams with vision and enthusiasm, she helped reorganize the university’s 19 academic departments and expanded its portfolio of undergraduate and graduate offerings,” Mount Saint Vincent said in an announcement.

Burns received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in experimental psychology from Emporia State University and her Ph.D. in social and personality psychology with an emphasis in child development from Kansas State University.

Prior to her tenure at Clarke, Dr. Burns was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Morningside College, where she held the rank of full professor with tenure.

She is the recipient of several awards for faculty excellence from Morningside College and received the Distinguished Faculty Award from the American Association of University Women.

The to-be president is also widely published, authoring numerous articles and research papers for peer reviewed journals as well as several books and book chapters.

The appointment of Burns follows “an intensive search” that had been launched in November of 2019, shortly after President Flynn announced his retirement after leading the College of Mount Saint Vincent for twenty years.

In a letter to the Mount Saint Vincent community in the fall of 2019, Dr. Flynn was praised for “leading the College through a period of extraordinary growth in the face of an increasingly challenging environment,” while also securing its financial foundation, increasing enrollment, completing key construction projects and earning national recognition for the school’s commitment to educational opportunity for talented students, whatever their background.