May 26, 1994
Vol. 13, No. 19

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    Obituary: Norman Burns, Education

    Norman Burns (Ph.D.'45), Professor Emeritus in Education, died May 13 at Prince George's Hospital Center in Sheverly, Md. He was 87.

    An expert on the evaluation of colleges and universities, Burns was executive secretary of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools from 1960 until 1975. The association, based at the University at the time, is the accrediting body for universities, colleges and secondary schools in 19 states.

    Burns wrote on the topics of higher-education evaluation and administration and contended that institutions of higher education must preserve a balance between specialization and liberal education.

    "Greater attention to and greater concern with a specialty is, for most of us, accompanied by less attention to and less concern with the commonality of human needs and wishes," he said in a 1960 speech to graduates of Loyola University. "An imperative of modern life is that we learn to work together in our various groupings from the local to the international level toward the attainment of common goals."

    He was frequently called upon to consult on issues of higher education. Beginning in 1940, he helped organize a series of surveys of institutions of higher education, including studies in Illinois, Georgia and Arkansas. He was also a consultant on higher education for the governments of Iraq and Pakistan.

    Burns received his B.S. in business administration from the University of Buffalo in 1929 and his M.B.A. from Northwestern in 1933. He was an instructor of economics and finance at the University of Buffalo before coming to Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in education from Chicago in 1945 and joined the faculty that year as Assistant Professor. He was named Associate Professor in 1947 and Professor in 1953. In 1945-46, he was Dean of Students. He retired from the University in 1972.

    Survivors include his wife, Imogene; a daughter, Imogene Jensen; and a grandson.