University of Minnesota-Crookston, Chancellor Velmer Burton Jr.
...University of Minnesota-Crookston, Chancellor Velmer Burton Jr.CROOKSTON - New programs will sprout from the University of Minnesota-Crookston's agricultural roots under the guidance of new chancellor Velmer Burton Jr.Burton, the third chancellor in UMC's 38-year history, plans to add degree programs to the agricultural and natural resources division that include emergency management, environmental conservation science and food safety.
The latter two have a direct connection to agriculture and the former is related to natural resources, Burton
Emergency management, though a natural resources program, has a connection to agriculture because it has implications for farmers in flood-prone northwest Minnesota and northeast North Dakota, Burton
said."How do you deal with floods?How do you get to the farmer four miles down the road?"
Meanwhile, the new food safety and environmental conservation science programs that UMC plans to offer are a reflection of the increasingly sophisticated agricultural world, Burton
"In the old days of agriculture, it was plants, animals and soils.Now, it's more complex," he
said."It's how do we manage our resources?It's how do we protect our environment?How do we conserve it?"
Meanwhile, food safety, an important issue with U.S. consumers, has a direct tie to agriculture, Burton
"You have the opportunity for contamination from the time it leaves the field," he
, formerly head of the graduate school at North Dakota State University
in Fargo, said food safety and environmental conservation science were two of the 17 doctoral programs he
implemented at that land-grant university during a three-year span.UMC
is the third land-grant university at which Burton
has worked.He taught criminal justice at Washington State University in Pullman before heading to NDSU.Originally from Middletown, Ohio, Burton grew up on a corn, soybean and hog farm, then graduated from the University of Cincinnati and the University of Pennsylvania.
Recruiting students to UMC
is part of Burton's new job as UMC
chancellor, but it's old hat to him.
"In all my previous positions, I've been heavily involved in recruitment," he
said.Though at the helm of UMC for only a few months, Burton already has teamed up with former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Bob Bergland of Roseau, Minn., to talk to high school students about what degree programs the university can offer them after they graduate.
can offer students training in marketing, international marketing and applied science, Burton
tells the students.
"It's all agriculture-related.It may not directly be on the farm," Burton
Besides offering new agricultural degree programs to area residents, UMC
also hopes to add programs in academic disciplines such as psychology and criminal justice.
"In terms of being chancellor, I want to be known for building the institution, moving it to the next level.Our institution really is in a state of transformation," Burton
"We want to be a more comprehensive institution."
offers its students half of a pie because it doesn't have degree programs in disciplines such as English or history, Burton
"What we're now filling is the other half of the pie," he
Besides offering area students another choice for degrees in fields such as psychology, communications and criminal justice, adding new programs also will benefit them because it will make available more professionals who are trained in those disciplines, he
"You have to develop programs that help the same part of the state you're in," he
Meanwhile, the arrival of the University of Minnesota Extension Service personnel on the campus in January also will play a role in UMC's transformation, Burton
says.Several new Extension Service employees will be relocated from cities across Minnesota to the Crookston campus as part of the Extension Service's reorganization plan announced this fall.
Burton looks forward to the job of helping the new Extension Service personnel integrate into the university community.
"I think it will grow our institution and add vibrancy to our community," Burton