Criminologist Velmer Burton Named UM Dean of Applied Sciences

OXFORD, Miss. – Velmer S. Burton Jr., a noted expert and author on criminology, has been named the new dean of the University of Mississippi’s School of Applied Sciences. Burton is special assistant to the senior vice president for system academic administration and professor of social work at the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities. He officially joins the UM faculty Aug. 1, pending approval from the Board of Trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

Burton said he is looking forward to “the wonderful opportunity to work with members of the school and learn more about Ole Miss’ third-largest school.” “During the interview process I was able to meet with faculty, staff, and students from the various departments in the School of Applied Sciences,” he said. “They are such a talented group, and I am grateful to be able to join these folks who not only enjoy what they do, but love working with students. Their genuine excitement and affection for Ole Miss made me want to be here too.” Burton added that he is equally impressed with the university, which he said is “uniquely positioned to touch the lives of everyone in the state. “Everyone from the staff to the provost to the chancellor is committed to providing a high-quality education at Ole Miss, and that is impressive and powerful. I feel rather fortunate to have this opportunity to help build on the existing quality here at Ole Miss. The programs and faculty research in the School of Applied Sciences improve the lives of people from birth and throughout the life-course. … I am pleased to add my research and higher education experiences to this wonderful mix.” Besides serving as dean, Burton will hold a joint appointment in the departments of Social Work and Legal Studies. Carol Boyd, interim dean of applied sciences and professor of social work, said she is grateful to have someone of Burton’s background join the team. “We are very excited to have Dr. Burton as the dean of the School of Applied Sciences,” she said. “He brings many years of administrative experience and I look forward to working with him. I am also very excited about his research on collateral impact of prisons.” Provost Morris Stocks said he is pleased that Burton is joining the faculty.. “Dr. Velmer Burton’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research and service is matched only by his dedication to student success,” Stocks said. “His academic qualifications and professional experience will serve him well as he leads the School of Applied Sciences into the future. We look forward to his leadership.” Before joining the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities, Burton was chancellor of the University of Minnesota at Crookston campus and a tenured professor in the Department of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. He also was dean of the graduate school at North Dakota State University, associate provost for research and graduate studies and dean of the graduate school at Southeast Missouri State University and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Ferris State University. Burton is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice in 1985 and 1986, respectively. He also earned a Ph.D. in sociology from UC in 1991, and in 2003 earned a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2004, Burton earned a certificate of completion for new presidents from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. He is co-author of the book “Contemporary Criminology Theory” (New York University Press, 1994) and has also written many research and scholarly articles for various publications, including the journals Criminology, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Journal of Criminal Justice and Women in Higher Education. His primary research involves testing theories of crime with adults, social work with offenders and criminal justice agency program evaluation. Established in 2001, the School of Applied Sciences offers professional preparation programs that integrate academic study, clinical training, creative research, service-learning and community outreach. For more information, go to