Southwestern President uses unique ways to engage students

Innovative leader engaging students

At Southwestern University in Georgetown, it’s not uncommon for students to know the university’s president, Edward Burger.

"He always asks how my folks are doing, which I appreciate," said Senior Mac Light.

It's part of Burger’s belief to engage students in their learning.

Southwestern University is one of the oldest in the state, with more than 175 years of higher education.

But some say President Burger is innovative and hip.

"This might be the first time in history, I'm glad we recorded on film, where someone wearing a sweater vest is called hip and cool -- so thank you for that,” said Burger.

The math professor of more than 30 years is passionate about engaging students

Light was in Burger's Calculus class.

"Engage in your community, engage in Southwestern, he loves that word,” said Light.

"He wants to know the students, wants to be helpful to them, he has a great sense of humor, so listening to his lectures is always entertaining,” said Sophomore Tristin Evans.

But it's more than lively lectures that Burger uses to engage students, he's also active on Twitter.

"As I follow them, I get to learn about them, then when I see them on campus for the first time, I’ll say wait a minute, you're so and so, I know you,” said Burger.

"Every now and then he likes my tweets and I feel really important,” said Evans.

He's involved on campus, has a podcast, and invites all students to a group dinner at his home before they graduate.

He also has a big presence on YouTube, with more than 4,000 math videos.

The video lessons range in level from kindergarten to Calculus 2 ---many of them with more than a million views.

"If education is something we don't like, then we won’t' do it,” said Burger.

He has letters from students around the country who have watched his video lessons.

"I am so hopeful about higher education in this country and it needs to be fixed, and I want to be one of the voices that fixes it,” said Burger.

He’s a voice, you can easily find, even if you're not on the historic campus.

Find a link to one of Burger’s instructional videos here.

(© 2016 KVUE)


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