Irene Burgess, PhD | Executive Director, Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts (PCLA)

Irene Burgess, PhD is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts (PCLA), a consortium of eleven small, selective Liberal Arts colleges in Pennsylvania (Bryn Mawr, Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Gettysburg, Haverford, Juniata, Lafayette, Muhlenberg, Swarthmore, Ursinus, and Washington & Jefferson Colleges). These colleges strive to enhance cross-institutional knowledge and collaboration among PCLA members for improvement of the quality of their institutions and programs as well as the creation of opportunities for cost efficiencies.

Prior to her work with the PCLA, Dr. Burgess served as Vice-President for Academic Programs for the Appalachian College Association, an educational consortium of 35 small private colleges within the five states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. In this role, she provided leadership and raised funds for a variety of shared initiatives including: shared library services, Latino/Hispanic student access, undergraduate research, international study, faculty development in research and teaching, shared language initiatives, digital humanities, and quantitative literacy.

Dr. Burgess has a B.S. in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University, an M.A. in English from the University of New Hampshire, and a Ph.D. in English from Binghamton University. Her area of specialization is Women Writers of the English Renaissance. After 10 years as a faculty member and department chair at Wheeling Jesuit University, she served as Associate Academic Dean at Wilmington College (OH) and Provost at Eureka College before becoming involved in the potential offered by consortial collaborations. Dr. Burgess is currently a member of the board of the Association for Collaborative Leadership, the professional association for higher education collaboratives.

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