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Nonnie Burnes Supports Faculty Learning Community

Nonnie S. Burnes, LAW '77, has pledged $250,000 to Northeastern's Faculty Learning Community, part of the practice-oriented education (POE) initiative that links Northeastern's historic strength in cooperative education with academic excellence.

"I want Northeastern graduates to be seen as more qualified not just because they have work experience, but because they can think critically, analyze, and talk about that experience — skills they gain in the classroom."

Launched this fall, the Faculty Learning Community aims to spur faculty research in the design and implementation of integrated learning models that combine the practical with the academic. The community will comprise individual and small interdisciplinary groups of faculty who commit to a yearlong program of professional development to renew and revitalize their skills.

Burnes' investment will provide stipends and remuneration to participants, giving them the time and support they need to enhance their work as teachers, researchers, and scholars.

The Faculty Learning Community is a key component of POE, an educational model conceived at Northeastern that blends co-op and coursework into a seamless learning experience. Burnes is a staunch advocate of practice-oriented education.

"By rolling co-op back into the classroom in a conscious way, POE will invigorate and enrich the academic experience," she said. "I want Northeastern graduates to be seen as more qualified not just because they have work experience, but because they can think critically, analyze, and talk about that experience — skills they gain in the classroom."

Burnes relished the chance to advance POE by supporting the community, and believes that it is vital to Northeastern's efforts to join the top one hundred universities in the nation. "As the backbone of Northeastern, the faculty will be critical to POE's success," she said. "By leveraging what's special about Northeastern — co-op — POE will help put us on the map academically.

Burnes is an associate justice on the Massachusetts Superior Court. Appointed in 1996, Burnes previously practiced at Boston-based Hill & Barlow, where she concentrated in civil rights, employment discrimination, construction disputes, and probate litigation. She is a member of Northeastern's Board of Overseers and serves on the Academic Affairs Committee.

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  This article appeared in the Winter 2002 edition of Forefront.          

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