Dr. Gail D. Burd Biography

Dr. Gail Burd is the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Teaching, and Learning at the University of Arizona. Dr. Burd works closely with the Provost, other campus leaders, faculty, and members of her reporting units to advance the academic mission of the University. Her 35 years of distinguished service receives compliments for her innovative and inclusive leadership, scholarly research, and dedicated mentorship to students and colleagues alike. Dr. Burd’s work and achievements are framed by her commitment to the UArizona’s mission as a land-grant, research university and her support for students, faculty, and staff; teaching and learning; research and scholarship; and university, community, and national service.

In late 2020, the Provost asked Dr. Burd to bring together traditional academic and student affairs units and approaches to enhance the undergraduate experience and to increase retention and college completion. To accomplish these goals, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the Vice Provost for Students Success and Retention Innovations and their units now report to Dr. Burd. They, along with members of their teams that include the Associate Vice Provost for Instruction and Assessment, Assistant Vice Provost for Student Success and Retention Innovation, the Registrar, the Executive Director for General Education, and the Director for the Advising Resource Center, will collaborate on undergraduate success initiatives. This innovative organization is strategic in that it will facilitate close collaboration and a whole campus approach to and responsibility for undergraduate success. Other units and personnel under this umbrella include Curricular Affairs, University Fees, Transfer Curriculum and Articulation, Transfer Student Center, Think Tank, SALT Center, C.A.T.S. Academics, Thrive Center, and TRIO Arizona’s Science Mathematics and Engineering Scholars Program.

Within her portfolio, other activities include assessment, academic program reviews, instructional support via faculty learning communities, development of collaborative learning spaces and academic resources, Higher Learning Commission Accreditation, and oversight of the Center for University Education Scholarship and the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning. In addition, in 2020 President Robbins appointed Dr. Burd to serve on the Board of Directors for the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC), an independent, online university affiliated with the University of Arizona.

Dr. Burd is a University Distinguished Professor in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a joint appointment in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and with research interests focused on development and neural plasticity in the vertebrate olfactory system and the scholarship of teaching and learning. She has published peer-reviewed articles, monograph chapters, and a book on Immunocytochemical Techniques and given numerous scholarly presentations. In prior administrative roles at the University of Arizona, Dr. Burd served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Science, the Interim Department Head of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and the Associate Department Head of Molecular and Cellular Biology. In addition, she served as an elected member-at-large senator in the Faculty Senate for eight years.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she has chaired numerous committees for national professional organizations and served on government panels for the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, including the Advisory Council for the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders. She has received several awards for innovative teaching and advising, including the UA Mortar Board Citation Award, College of Science Innovation in Teaching Award, and the Sarlo Family Foundation Outstanding Faculty Award. Dr. Burd also keeps current in teaching practices by co-teaching an undergraduate Honors College seminar on Biomedical Ethics and Health Policy with her husband, Dr. John Hildebrand.

Dr. Burd earned her B.A. in Biology at Trenton State College (now College of New Jersey), her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, performed postdoctoral research at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology and at the Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School, served as an assistant professor at Rockefeller University, and began her faculty position at the University of Arizona in 1985.

Among the accomplishments for which Dr. Burd is most proud are 1) her leadership in merging units to form the Office of Instruction and Assessment with 33 professionals in 2009, 2) leading a team of innovative faculty to advance evidence-based teaching practices using active and collaborative learning with a 2013-2016 grant from the Association of American Universities, 3) leading and supporting the implementation of 35 collaborative/flexible learning classrooms along with support for over 400 instructors in faculty learning communities from 2014 to present, and 4) leading a large, multidisciplinary team to prepare for the Higher Learning Commission Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2021.