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New admissions director is campus alumna who rose through the ranks

By Janet Gilmore, Public Affairs
Posted June 7, 2000

A woman who rose through the ranks from senior clerk to associate director of admissions is the campus's new admissions director.

Chosen following a nationwide search, Pamela Burnett, 51, became director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools in May.

She had been acting admissions director since November when Bob Laird retired from the position.

"I am very excited about this position and look forward to working with our dedicated admissions staff and others to help contribute to the superior undergraduate experience at Berkeley," Burnett said. "I hope to tell our story to more people and convey to communities that really need it information on how to gain admission to a competitive university like UC Berkeley."

Burnett will manage a staff of more than 60 employees and oversee the undergraduate admissions process, outreach efforts and other projects. She will work closely on admissions matters with campus faculty members and administrators and with officials in the Office of the President.

"I am pleased to welcome Pamela Burnett as the new admissions director," said Genaro Padilla, vice chancellor for undergraduate affairs. "Her experience, combined with the dedication and expertise of her colleagues in the admissions office, will ensure that our entire admissions operation continues to serve the campus well."

Burnett is the first woman and the first Asian-American to be selected admissions director at Berkeley. Born and raised in Oakland, Burnett graduated from Berkeley in 1971 with a bachelor's degree in social sciences and immediately began working in the admissions office as a senior clerk.

Professor Calvin Moore, chairman of the search committee and chairman of the Academic Senate Committee on Admissions, Enrollment and Preparatory Education, said Burnett was the clear choice.

"Given her experience and her dedication to providing Berkeley with a diverse, talented population of students, Pamela Burnett is an outstanding choice," said Moore. "She brings an exceptional commitment to the job."

For almost three decades at Berkeley, Burnett progressively has taken on more responsibilities and guided the office through several reorganizations. Burnett believes that her in-the-trenches experiences, and the critical thinking and research skills she learned as a Berkeley undergraduate, contributed to her success.

She became associate director of admissions in 1992 and was responsible for much of the day-to-day operations of the office including personnel matters, budget issues and supervision of outreach efforts and transfer admissions.

"From the very beginning, my highest priority was to help fulfill the university's mission to educate the future leaders of California and the country and to include among those students the brightest students from all segments of California's population," Burnett said. "That's been my priority since I started working in admissions nearly 29 years ago."

Burnett has played a key role in creating a process that ensures consistency in the freshman application review process. The training and review process that she designed allows for consistent standards while evaluating applicants from a wide variety of experiences, accomplishments, obstacles and opportunities. For example, she said, each of the 33,200 freshman applications for the fall 2000 class were reviewed independently by at least two professional evaluators.

Burnett is married to Berkeley alumnus Rudolph Burnett and has three children.



June 7 - July 11, 2000 (Volume 28, Number 34)
Copyright 2000, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the
Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
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