Dr. Kathleen Burke of the Economics Department has been appointed to the rank of Distinguished Faculty by the SUNY Board of Trustees.
Burke has been named a Distinguished Teaching Professor, a title given to those who have demonstrated consistent superior mastery of teaching, service to students and commitment to ongoing intellectual growth and scholarship.
The appointment to a Distinguished Professorship represents a rank promotion over that of professor.
Burke received a B.A. in economics and mathematics from William Smith College in 1992. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D., both in economics, from Stony Brook University in 1994 and 1998, respectively. After serving as a visiting assistant professor in the Economics Department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1998 and 1999, Burke joined the SUNY Cortland faculty in the fall of 1999. She was promoted to associate professor in 2005 and earned a full professorship in 2012. Burke chaired the Economics Department from 2013 to 2019 and was interim chair during the 2021-22 academic year.
Through a commitment both to traditional lecture courses and innovative experiential learning opportunities, Burke has consistently motivated students to excel. She engages students in material through individual student-driven conversation and groups and uses techniques such as immediate feedback, reading logs, readiness assurance tests and online components to inspire progress and success.
Burke has created three courses – Research Experience in Economics, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Course and Community Innovation Lab – that lead students to put classroom theories into practice. In addition to helping local residents as certified tax preparers, Burke’s students work directly with local small businesses and non-profits to solve problems and come up with creative solutions.
“Her ability to move economics from a theoretical field to a real-world application makes her teaching more purposeful and meaningful to the students,” said Raimona Rowe, Cortland site coordinator of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. “As a result, they are not only learning concepts, but are able to immediately identify situations in which the concepts can be applied.”
The author or co-author of 27 peer-reviewed articles, Burke is an accomplished scholar who has also received $379,299 in funding for five external grants. As a member and through her service as president (2010-11) of the Academy of Process Educators, Burke has worked with college professors around the world on how teachers and learners can work together to continuously improve. Burke has served as the chief editor of the International Journal of Process Education since 2011.
“Kathy has a long and robust record of scholarly publications with her students that describe major achievements produced for her clients and that outline best practices for others to follow in service learning,” said Steve Beyerlein, a retired professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Idaho. “Beyond the scholarly impact of these publications, Kathy is to be complimented for the way she has synergized undergraduate research with teaching, leadership and service activities which often end up siloed from one another.”
Since 2016, Burke has advised or mentored more than 20 students on research projects, including several honors theses and Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships. Students routinely cite Burke’s availability outside of the classroom for one-on-one attention. Burke has served students as the Economics Club faculty advisor from 2000 to 2012 and as the Entrepreneurship Club faculty advisor since 2011. She co-coordinated the COR 101 Mentor Program for economics and business economics majors from 2007 to 2018 and has served as faculty advisor to the men’s club lacrosse and women’s club soccer teams.
“It is rare to find her in her office without a student present who is working on research, classwork or speaking with her about their future goals,” said Associate Professor Wendy Miller of Cortland’s Geography Department. “If a student is not visible, there is a guarantee that they are emailing, texting, messaging or otherwise reaching out.”
Burke has previously been recognized with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2018 and was awarded SUNY Cortland’s Excellence in the Incorporation of Technology in Teaching award in 2004. She received the Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Outreach award in 2007, 2012 and 2016. Burke was awarded the Stephen J. Barnes Outstanding Faculty Member Award from the Student Government Association in 2011 and 2023 and received Cortland’s Excellence in Academic Advising Award in 2014.
She is the 17th Cortland faculty member to receive a Distinguished Teaching Professor appointment.