COVID-19 Safety Information

Anne Burns Thomas to Address Top Students

Anne Burns Thomas to Address Top Students


Anne Burns Thomas has guided generations of educators to successful careers in urban schools, preparing future teachers to help children learn and thrive despite the many challenges facing them. So she knows a thing or two about what it takes to excel.

Burns Thomas, who coordinates the Cortland Urban Recruitment of Educators (C.U.R.E.) program, will share her perspective with students who have excelled academically during SUNY Cortland’s President’s List Reception.

Anne Burns Thomas

She will deliver her lecture to the 150 honorees who plan to attend the March 4 event with their families and invited guests in the Corey Union Function Room.

The President’s List is the College’s highest honor for students who excel academically. It acknowledges students enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours who achieve grades of A- or better in each of their courses. In Fall 2018, 8.5 percent of the full-time student body reached this level of excellence.

SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum will open the reception, which recognizes 528 students.

Since joining the College in 2006, Burns Thomas, an associate professor in the School of Education’s Foundations and Social Advocacy Department, has led the C.U.R.E. program, which aims to prepare successful urban classroom teachers and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

Students both in and outside the C.U.R.E. Program are drawn to her undergraduate courses: Introduction to Urban Education, Exploring Education with an Urban Focus, Contemporary Issues in Education, Foundations of American Education and Teaching the Inner-City Child.

Burns Thomas has earned a reputation for supporting students both inside and out of the classroom. In 2016, SUNY Cortland students singled her out from among all full-time teaching faculty members for a Student Affairs Connection Award. She also was honored by students with the 2008 SUNY Cortland Outstanding Woman of Color Award.

As a partner with the Syracuse City School District through its 13-year-old Building Men Program Inc., she organizes campus visits for approximately 300 disadvantaged urban middle and high school students per year. This project has introduced generations of at-risk youth to the idea of a college education while offering C.U.R.E. students, Cortland athletes and student leaders of color a rewarding mentoring opportunity.

Since 2012, Burns Thomas has captured $860,000 in external grants to support the C.U.R.E. program through the Park Foundation and the Teacher Opportunity Corps Grant from New York State Department of Education.

Her scholarly work includes 16 published articles in professional journals on topics mainly related to improving diversity in education. Burns Thomas has delivered 32 presentations on her research at meetings and conferences in her field.

At SUNY Cortland, she currently co-chairs the President’s Council for Inclusive Excellence and serves on the advisory board of the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies.                 

Beyond the College, Burns Thomas serves as an external reviewer for the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary commissioner. As such, she has been asked to review the proposed Masters of Arts in Teaching Program in Urban Teacher Residency being proposed by Rhode Island School for Progressive Education. Burns Thomas also serves as a reviewer for the American Educational Research Association as well as for the group Social Advocacy and Systems Change.

Burns Thomas earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from the University of Scranton, a Master of Science in Elementary Education from St. Joseph’s University and Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from University of Pennsylvania.

Before joining SUNY Cortland, she taught graduate level courses at University of Pennsylvania, for which she was honored in 2004 for her outstanding contributions to a doctoral program.

Burns Thomas also served as a research assistant in the Formal and Informal Support for New Teachers in Philadelphia, Pa. Additionally, she was a research assistant with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education from 1998 to 2000. She taught middle-level language arts for the Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia from 2000 to 2006.

Next fall, a President’s List Reception ceremony will be held to recognize Spring 2019 honorees.