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Departure of Economics Prof. Joseph Burke from AMU Confirmed

The departure of popular Ave Maria University economics professor Joseph Burke became official Wednesday.

Dr. Burke spent nine years at AMU but his relationship with the university administration became rocky in February after he told the academic affairs committee of the board of trustees that the school has slumped academically and "the Catholic mission and liberal arts identity of the school has been continuously watered down." The board, after its next meeting in May, issued a statement expressing confidence in President Jim Towey and said, "We believe that the University’s admissions and academic standards, and Catholic culture, are being respected and strengthened. In our opinion, Ave Maria University’s performance in recent years has been nothing less than remarkable considering the rapid enrollment growth and ongoing transition to financial self-sufficiency."

The last 30 days have brought a number of changes at AMU. In addition to Dr. Burke, who was chair of the economics department, the university announced that music department chair Timothy McDonnell and another music faculty member, Rebecca Ostermann, "would not be returning" in the fall and Gregory Vall, the chairman of the theology department, resigned after the university named former VP of Academic Affairs Michael Dauphinais as new chair of the department. In addition to faculty departures, AMU also terminated at least three staff employees, two in the school's physical plant department and one in the admissions department.

Dr. Burke lives in the town of Ave Maria with his wife and eight children. He said he will be looking for a position outside of academia in the Naples area.

For further information, see previous Ave Herald stories:

May 23: Staffing Realingnment at AMU a Source of Concern to Many Faculty, Staff and Residents

March 27: Long-time AMU Supporter Dismissed from President's Council after Raising Issues

March 10: Beneath the Quiet of Spring Break, Rumblings are Heard 




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