A new academic leader will soon bring the University of Arkansas at Little Rock closer to its goal of preparing students for success in the 21st century workforce. Dr. Velmer Burton Jr. is set to become UA Little Rock’s executive vice chancellor and provost on July 1.
“We’re thrilled to have Dr. Burton join our leadership team,” said UA Little Rock Chancellor Andrew Rogerson. “He is extremely well qualified to help UA Little Rock grow into a transformative university that drives economic development in central Arkansas.”
Burton, most recently the dean of the University of Mississippi School of Applied Sciences and a tenured professor, has nearly 30 years of faculty and administrative experience in higher education.
Previously, he was a special assistant to the senior vice president for system academic administration at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Burton also has a wide-ranging leadership background that includes stints as department head, graduate dean, and small campus chancellor at a variety of universities.
His experience leading student retention and graduation initiatives is a strong fit for UA Little Rock’s goal of bolstering the regional economy by making higher education more affordable and accessible to central Arkansas students, Rogerson said.
“Dr. Burton’s talents and decades of academic experience have him well positioned to serve our students and faculty who are critical to our success and mission,” Rogerson said.
Burton is ready for the opportunity.
“I’m delighted to accept the role of executive vice chancellor and provost at UA Little Rock and to join the faculty as a professor of criminal justice,” Burton said. “Chancellor Rogerson’s leadership and vision for the university convinced me of the bright future that awaits the institution.
“I look forward to teaming-up with the talented faculty, academic administration and staff to equip students with the vital skills and knowledge necessary to make them successful.”
Burton sees great things on the horizon for UA Little Rock and the region.
“During my campus visit, it became clear that the university has enormous potential and is poised to advance as a premier metropolitan and research university for the city of Little Rock and the state of Arkansas,” he said.
As a teacher-scholar, Burton taught courses in the areas of crime and justice, criminology, and research methods.
His scholarship involves testing theories of crime and community corrections and assessing the collateral consequences and legal restrictions placed on the rights of former offenders. Burton’s findings have been published in peer-reviewed journals, including “Criminology,” “Justice Quarterly,” “Journal of Quantitative Criminology,” “Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency,” “Journal of Criminal Justice,” and “Forensic Social Work.”
Burton has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Cincinnati and an Ed.D. in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. He also earned a 2004 certificate for new presidents from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati.
Dr. Deborah Baldwin, UA Little Rock associate provost of collections and archives and director of the Center for Arkansas History and Culture, agreed to serve as the interim provost and executive vice chancellor during the spring semester until the candidate search was complete.
“We appreciate Dr. Baldwin’s willingness to graciously lend her time and skills to serve a dual role during the spring semester, and we look forward to her continued excellent work with collections and archives and the Center for Arkansas History and Culture,” Rogerson said.