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New Dean Focuses on Student Experience: Burgwell Howard

Dance Marathon and fall football Saturdays at Ryan Field are some of Burgwell Howard's favorite Northwestern moments. But when he first came to Northwestern in 2005, Howard was surprised by the lack of University-wide traditions. One of his many missions as Northwestern's new dean of students is to create a common platform for rites and rituals. 

Named dean in February, Howard had served on an interim basis since last July, when former dean Mary Desler retired.

"It's like drinking from a fire hose," Howard said of his new duties. "It is my hope to work with students to emphasize the good things happening on campus and create learning experiences that connect them to Northwestern well beyond their four years."

In his time at Northwestern Howard has served as chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. planning committee. He is also co-chair of one of the planning subgroups for Northwestern's strategic plan and helped establish the Sustainability Working Group. As a member of the First-Year Experience Committee, Howard initiated the March Through the Arch event that symbolically welcomed new students to the University during Wildcat Welcome.

In addition to creating new Northwestern traditions, Howard also hopes to offer increased support for students who live off campus and are thrust into the real world of landlords, leases and city ordinances.

"They're still our students, and they're still learning," he said. "We're working to support them so they can have four complete years of the student experience, and we're also helping them to be better citizens of Evanston."

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Burgie Howard
Northwestern's new dean of students, Burgwell HowardPhoto by Jim Ziv