Brett Burns, ASUCD Business Manager and UC Davis alumnus, has recently accepted the position of Senior Assistant Dean for Administration with the UC Davis School of Law and will be leaving his position as ASUCD Business Manager.
Burns is expected to take on his new role part-time in March and be fully immersed in his new position by April 1.
According to Burns, his new position at King Hall will involve serving as a key advisor to the dean and other leaders of the School of Law, with responsibility for strategic planning and administrative services. In addition, he will provide financial planning, forecasting, policy setting, organizational development and human resource management. The position serves as the school’s primary liaison with the UC Davis central administration on all financial and human resource issues.
“The UC Davis School of Law has a tremendous reputation nationally and internationally for research, scholarship and service to the community,” Burns said. “After doing my research I found that the Law School has an outstanding student body, faculty and staff, with a passion for advancing the field of law and commitment to public service, and I want to be part of this forward-thinking team and leadership group.”
Rebecca Sterling, ASUCD President, praises Burns as a valuable asset to the campus community.
“Brett is a true student advocate — [he] thoroughly understands the student experience and what it means to be an Aggie. He is a role model to many students, and offers great mentorship to students,” she said in an email interview. “Further, Brett has thorough knowledge of the university, and a wealth of experience which he draws upon to contribute to the university’s advancement.”
Burns, who graduated from UC Davis in 1995 with a bachelor’s in sociology and economics with an emphasis in organizational management, has been ASUCD Business Manager for just over a year, and has worked within the Division of Student Affairs for almost 15 years, serving in different capacities. Burns’ current job as ASUCD Business Manager includes serving as both an advisor to student leaders and overseeing and managing all operations and business practices for the Association.
According to Sterling, some of Burns’ most important work for ASUCD has included easing the transition from its previous business manager, who served for 32 years, recruiting new directors for ASUCD’s two largest units — the Coffee House and Unitrans — and helping ASUCD avoid taxes and budget cuts.
Darin Schluep, Director of Associated Students Dining Services, was hired for his position by Burns nine months ago.
“In the short time I’ve worked with [Burns], he has shown an ability to motivate people around him and generate a lot of excitement for projects. He seems to have really enjoyed the student interaction, and has impressed me with his vision for what ASUCD could and should be,” Schluep said.
According to Schluep, Burns led AS Dining Services through a transitory phase created by the retirement of Sharon Coulson, their director for 28 years. Schluep also said that Burns has motivated the AS Dining Services staff to think big when it comes to their status and position on the UC Davis campus.
Anthony Palmere, General Manager of Unitrans, said that Burns has had a positive impact on Unitrans as well.
“[Burns] was able to help Unitrans articulate the impacts of administrative and funding proposals that could have resulted in higher costs and reduced service. He also helped to advance our highest priority capital project — the modernization of the MU Terminal — to keep it moving forward for projected completion in 2014,” he said in an email interview.
According to Palmere, Burns has a detailed understanding of UC Davis administrative processes and is able to communicate effectively and provide a bridge between ASUCD units and the campus administration.
“[Burns] recognizes the special nature of ASUCD and the fact that so many important campus functions are provided by units which are led by students,” Palmere said. “By celebrating that aspect of our university, [he] helped others become more aware of the importance of the student government and student staff in both the quality of life on our campus and the full educational experience that [UC Davis] offers.”
Burns has served many roles on campus, including working as the Director of Memorial Union Auxiliary Services, at which he worked with student unions, retail food service and event facilities in the Division of Student Affairs, and becoming the Executive Director of Auxiliary Services, with the responsibility of managing the UC Davis Stores, the Center for Student Involvement, retail food service, trademark licensing, student unions and event facilities.
In addition, Burns worked on the development and construction of the Activities and Recreation Center (ARC).
“The ARC is one of the first facilities in the country that blended recreation centers with student unions, to truly create a student-focused facility,” he said. “Today, almost all of the new recreational centers in collegiate settings have developed into hybrid facilities with lounge space, meeting rooms, food service, pro shops and of course recreational activities. I would like to believe we were trend setters at UC Davis in this ‘fusion model’ for recreation centers.”
While discussing his history at UC Davis, Burns said that he has gained valuable experience from his encounters with members of the campus community.
“I am most proud of the relationships I have established on campus with students, faculty and staff,” he said. “UC Davis is a wonderful institution with rich tradition of achievement and I am proud to play my small part in advancing the mission of the campus through the programs and services I have been involved with over the last 15 years, none more rewarding than my experience with the Associated Students.”
In a Feb. 19 email to members of the Association, Sterling said that she and Burns are currently developing a process to find an interim manager and permanent replacement.
JESSICA GRILLI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.