Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia has appointed Timothy Burg, an engineer whose work bridges academia and industry, to direct its Office of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education.
Burg, previously a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Kansas State University, will lead efforts to enhance instruction and learning outcomes in the STEM fields at UGA as well as throughout the state, with partners in K-12 education and at other universities.
“Student interest in STEM has been on an upward trajectory for the past several years, and these fields play a critical role in the economic competitiveness of our state and nation,” said Pamela Whitten, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “Dr. Burg brings an extraordinary set of qualifications to UGA, and he will play a significant leadership role in advancing STEM education across the university and across Georgia.”
The Office of STEM Education was founded in 2007 and represents UGA in the University System of Georgia Board of Regents STEM Initiative, the goals of which are to increase the number of K-12 students who are prepared for and interested in majoring in STEM disciplines in college; the success and completion rates of college students majoring in STEM disciplines; and the number of qualified K-12 STEM teachers. UGA’s Office of STEM Education awards grants that fund faculty research projects to improve instruction and also supports learning communities consisting of UGA faculty and K-12 teachers who meet regularly to develop and share professional knowledge.
The percentage of undergraduate students receiving degrees in STEM majors has increased dramatically at UGA, rising from 15 percent to 21 percent over the past decade. At the doctoral level, 29 percent of the degrees UGA awarded last year were in the STEM fields.
“Dr. Burg brings a unique set of experiences and insight from both industry and education, and will serve to increase UGA’s efforts to prepare the next generation of professionals who can make a global impact in STEM areas,” said UGA Vice President for Instruction Rahul Shrivastav, to whom Burg will report. “We are looking forward to working with Dr. Burg and further improving research and student success in these critical areas.”
Burg began his career as an engineer focused on applying robotics to manufacturing and other industrial uses before joining the faculty at Clemson University and, later, at Kansas State University. Burg was recognized by Clemson University’s chapter of Women in Science and Engineering and by the Clemson University President’s Commission on the Status of Women for his involvement in engineering outreach programs. He has hosted many recruitment events for middle and high school students and participated in events designed to interest freshman college students in engineering. He served as an investigator in a National Science Foundation-funded program to train graduate students in mentoring undergraduates at risk of dropping out and recently completed the summerlong NSF I-Corps-L program, which teaches participants how to disseminate effective and evidence-based instructional approaches into widespread use.
Burg has published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, abstracts and other scholarly works, and his recent research is focused on designing and testing a robotic system that stacks living cells to make tissues and ultimately build new organs. He is a professor of veterinary biosciences and diagnostic imaging in UGA’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
“It is an exciting time to be involved in STEM education at UGA,” Burg said. “Research over the past decade has revealed so much about learning styles, teaching techniques, and motivation. UGA and the University System of Georgia have created an environment where this knowledge can be used to enhance our teaching, mentoring and outreach programs. I am honored to join the faculty and staff in these efforts.”