Ferris Magazine: Spring 2013 - page 6

Dan Burcham, vice president for Student Affairs, retired on March
31, 2013. Burcham’s distinguished career of more than 40 years at
Ferris has included service as Developmental Education department
head, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, dean of
Enrollment Services and acting vice president for Academic Affairs.
He is married to Carma Burcham, who also served the university
for many years before her retirement as coordinator of records and
NCAA eligibility.
“Over his more than 40 years at Ferris, starting as a faculty member,
Dan Burcham has served the university in an extraordinary way at
every step of his career,” said Ferris President David Eisler. “His
legacy is one of great dedication to generations of Ferris students,
whose interests he has always taken to heart.”
Burcham holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Michigan
State University, and began at Ferris as a professor of English in
1969, achieving tenure. As an administrator, he was deeply involved
in a wide range of academic life and development areas, including
student retention and social norming. Over the past several years,
Burcham has helped spearhead initiatives at Ferris that have resulted
in the university’s support for degrees in critical skills areas, increased
graduation rates and total degrees conferred. 
“These have been wonderful years at Ferris, and I appreciate all
of the friendships I have formed over the past 43 years,” Burcham
said. “Carma and I were blessed to work at a university that shared
and espoused our values. Big Rapids became our home, and Ferris
became our family.” Burcham cites his involvement in fostering
positive “town and gown” relations as among his most gratifying
During his time at Ferris, the university established the Michigan
College of Optometry and the Honors program, and completed a
merger with the Kendall College of Art and Design. “Ferris is a very
different place than when I began here,” he says. “The university’s
Grand Rapids campus and statewide presence are developments that
no one could have foreseen 40 years ago.”
Burcham has written and presented extensively on student development
and enrollment management, including co-authoring a chapter in the
American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’
Basic Guide to Enrollment Management
. His other notable work was
often grant-generated, such as “Farming with Nature,” sponsored by
the Michigan Council for the Humanities, and “Support Services for
Women,” supported by the Michigan Department of Social Services.
His present interests include student debt reduction and out-of-class
learning. Additionally, he teaches courses in Ferris’ Community College
Leadership doctoral program.
Long-Serving Vice President Burcham Retires
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