Vice Provost for Education; Teaching Professor, Biological Sciences, Department of Biological Sciences
Amy L. Burkert is Vice Provost for Education at Carnegie Mellon University. She is responsible for university-wide education initiatives at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Dr. Burkert is a biologist, whose research focused on the molecular etiology of disease. As a postdoctoral fellow, she directed a multinational research project on occupational asthma that involved time as a visiting researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. This opportunity gave her direct experience with the power of collaborative science that crosses borders, disciplines, and bridges university research with companies and communities. Since then, her rich understanding of the broad context of the practice of science today has been reflected in her work at CMU as researcher, teacher, mentor, and faculty colleague.
Dr. Burkert has long been recognized as an innovator in higher education. Before becoming Vice Provost in 2010, she had been Assistant Dean for the Health Professions Program at the Mellon College of Science, where she was credited with strengthening and advancing the pre-medical education programs across the university. Dr. Burkert is also Teaching Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, where she won many awards for her teaching and mentoring of students.
She has been active in a wide variety of projects that focus on the undergraduate learning experience. This includes her work on the Shared Futures project funded by the Association of American Colleges and Universities to expand global education, a project that won national recognition when CMU received a Senator Paul Simon Award for international education in 2011. She played a major part in creating new opportunities for CMU undergraduates to conduct their own research projects through her work on a summer research project funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institution and through the NSF-funded Research Experiences for Students program. She collaborated in the creation of an introductory Biological Sciences course for CMU’s Open Learning Initiative, which is regarded as among the most effective technology-enhanced learning options currently available.
Dr. Burkert has spearheaded the development of new pathways for science students to grow intellectually and personally, especially during their undergraduate years. She helped to create new interdisciplinary options (the Bachelor of Science and Arts degree and the Science and Humanities Scholars Program); the unified major in biological sciences and psychology; the biomedical engineering minor for non-engineering students; and the minor in health care policy and management. She also helped to develop the intercollegiate bachelor's degree and master’s degree programs in computational biology.
Student advising has always been special focus for Dr. Burkert. She has participated in the CMU-wide Advising Task Force that has done much to professionalize the role of advisors on campus. She co-chaired a faculty committee on the Second Year Experience, and partnered with faculty and staff in the development of the Big Questions project for first-year students. She has been active in outreach and expanding diversity, participating as an instructor and advisor in the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for Science and the Summer Academy of Math and Science.
Dr. Burkert pioneered new courses in biological sciences, and collaborated with MCS colleagues to create EUREKA, a first-year seminar for MCS students that combines the disciplines of biological sciences, physics, chemistry, and mathematical sciences, and has championed the use of reflective writing for science students.
Dr. Burkert received her B.A. from Washington and Jefferson College and her Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.