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The Ave Herald

Serving the community of Ave Maria, Florida


AMU Economics Professor Rebuilding Admissions Department

Dr. Joseph Burke came to Ave Maria University four years ago to teach economics, but he's doing a lot more than that these days. Since June, Dr. Burke has also taken on the interim responsibility for running the school's admissions department.

In the last few months, he's hired five new admissions counselors to rebuild the department's staff after several departures earlier this year.

Dr. Burke said it was his first priority to hire the right people for the admissions department, and he thinks he's done that.

"They believe in the mission of the school," he said. "They believe in the Catholic identity and the academic program. They love the school and that love comes through to the prospective students."

Although enrollment year over year is flat, Dr. Burke said, the incoming freshman class "has higher average test scores and is more prepared academically than last year's."

"So far this year, we are continuing to attract very qualified and capable students."

burke1Dr. Burke had just returned to Ave Maria after what he described as a successful trip to his native Minnesota to recruit students at local high schools there. He felt he could make a difference helping out in the admissions department, and got the chance when the school's former VP of Enrollment Management resigned in June and the university asked him to step into the breach.

That meant putting his summer plans of academic study and more time with his wife and six children on hold, and cutting back the number of hours a week that he's teaching, which he says is still his first love. (Right, Dr. Burke with his youngest child, Edmund, aged six months)

AMU has undertaken a national search for a permanent head of its admissions effort, but Dr. Burke says he's working to ensure his successor "inherits a structure that prepares for long-term success," and not just for the university.

"The future of the university and the town of Ave Maria depends on finding the right students," he said.

"Mr. Monaghan has done a great work for the church in founding this university and we should do what we can to make the university a success and a worthy gift to Our Lady."


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