Former WKU Provost, faculty regent, Barbara Burch dies

Published: Jan. 5, 2020 at 6:06 PM CST
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Barbara Burch, faculty regent, former provost for Western Kentucky University, died early Sunday morning.

Burch served as faculty regent for three years. From 1996-2010, Burch served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and was

briefly interim president in 1997.

Burch was the leading force in the development of The Kelly M. Burch Institute at WKU, named in honor of her late daughter who died in 2015. The institute focuses on examining policies and practices that impact student success and associated performance metrics such as retention, persistence, progression, and graduation.

"But Dr. Burch's vision went way beyond the classroom, she was passionate about seeing students engaged in their community, learning things about life, learning about how to give of themselves, learning how to be good citizens," said Dr. Dennis George, Associate Dean for the College of Education and Behaviors Sciences.

During her time as Provost, Barbara Burch WAS instrumental in the development of civic programming at Western Kentucky University. She provided substantial financial support for professional development. Her efforts resulted in the development of a strong cadre of faculty at Western deeply committed to civic engagement and civic outcomes.

"Everybody that I've talked to said the same thing, how many lives that she has impacted in a positive way and certainly students because as a Provost that was her main focus, her main orientation was students coming first," said George.

During her time as provost at WKU, as a result of her work with students, faculty, and development, the university was seen as one of the leading universities in the country in civic engagement.

Visitation will be Wednesday (Jan. 8) from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at J. C. Kirby and Son Lovers Lane Chapel. Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday (Jan. 9) at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to the Kelly M. Burch Institute for Transformative Practices in Higher Education, c/o WKU Foundation, 1906 College Heights Blvd., Bowling Green, Kentucky, 42101.