“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle
Brian A. Burt, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Higher Education in the School of Education at Iowa State University and a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. He is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, and attended Grand Rapids Public Schools (Ottawa Hills High School, Iroquois Middle School, Sherwood and Alger Elementary Schools).
As a classical pianist interested in a degree in music education – and becoming a world-famous symphony conductor – Dr. Burt chose Indiana University (IU) for undergraduate studies because of their strong music program. Around the time he changed his major to secondary English education, he began getting involved on campus – at the suggestion of his campus mentors – and taking advantage of professional development opportunities (for example, orientation programs, admissions ambassador, resident life, Summer Research Opportunities Program). It was because of this growing involvement – and continued support from mentors (many of whom were graduate students) – that he learned about the field of Higher Education and Student Affairs.
After earning a Bachelor’s of Science in secondary English education from IU, Dr. Burt pursued a Master’s degree in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies (with a concentration in Higher Education Administration) from the University of Maryland-College Park. It was during this time that he participated in a pivotal research experience with his faculty mentor. Not only did that experience help to retain him, that formative experience planted early seeds to his evolving career interest in becoming a professor, as well as provided early exposure to his research interests.
After completing his Master’s degree, Dr. Burt remained at the University of Maryland-College Park, but in a professional capacity as the Coordinator for Scholarships and Special Programs in the Undergraduate Studies Office at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. In this hybrid – academic and student affairs – position, he helped with the design, admissions, and execution of co-curricular merit programs; this also included overseeing many of the undergraduate studies webpages. In addition, he was responsible for marketing and facilitating the undergraduate scholarship process.
Dr. Burt later attended the University of Michigan to pursue a doctorate in Higher Education. As a doctoral student, he continued to engage in independent and collaborative research with faculty members. It was during this time that he also became involved in service at the school and national level; for example, serving as the Graduate Student Representative for the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Board of Directors.
Currently, as Assistant Professor at Iowa State University, Dr. Burt is primarily engaged in research, writing, and teaching activities. Through his program of research, he studies the experiences of graduate students, and the institutional policies and practices that influence students’ educational and workforce pathways. His research, writing, and teaching and advising directly relate to his personal journey as a collegiate student leader, emerging researcher and scholar, and the decision to pursue a faculty career.
In his free time, Brian enjoys going on artistic outings (e.g., musicals, operas, art galleries), reading recreational books (fiction and financial planning), watching movies, and spending time with family and friends.