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Office of News & Public Affairs

Rev. James Burns Named Interim Dean of
BC's Woods College of Advancing Studies

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (5-31-12)Rev. James P. Burns, director of faculty outreach and program assessment for University Mission and Ministry at Boston College, has been named the interim dean of the Woods College of Advancing Studies, the University announced today.

Fr. Burns will oversee a school that has been directed by its namesake, James Woods, S.J., since 1968. Fr. Woods retired this spring after 44 years as dean. A search for a new dean will begin this year.

Since his arrival at Boston College in 2010, Fr. Burns has worked with faculty to incorporate Boston College’s Jesuit, Catholic mission and identity into coursework and research.

Prior to his appointment in University Mission and Ministry, he served as co-chairman and associate professor of the Graduate School of Psychology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.  He also served as an adjunct assistant professor in counseling psychology and religion at Boston University and as an instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School.

In accepting the appointment, Fr. Burns said he looked forward to the challenge of directing a college with a long history of service to non-traditional students, one that currently serves approximately 720 undergraduates annually.

“I am very appreciative of this opportunity to serve Boston College in this position as interim dean,” said Fr. Burns. “Fr. Woods has done so much to create the school that is his namesake, working tirelessly on its behalf. I hope in my own way to continue his great and unique legacy. I look forward with excitement to working with all of the devoted staff and administrators of the Woods College. I am eager to build upon those areas of strength already well developed while advancing new possibilities as they exist on the horizon of higher education.”

Fr. Burns holds a doctor of philosophy degree in counseling psychology from Northeastern University, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s degree from St. Paul Seminary’s School of Divinity. He received his undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of St. Thomas School of Business.  Most recently, he served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Religions and Psychology at Boston University and as a research/clinical postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Fr. Woods was feted at a “Celebration of Gratitude” on April 17 in Conte Forum that was attended by hundreds of his former students, colleagues and friends.

The school was named in his honor following a $5 million gift in 2002 from University Trustee Robert Devlin and his wife, Katharine.

Jack Dunn is director of the Office of News & Public Affairs;