Denise Burchard is proud to work for the master’s degree program she graduated from a few years back.
As the assistant to the chair of the Department of Public Administration, Denise Burchard’s primary responsibility is to recruit students and manage the Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) internship program. She develops, evaluates and maintains over 40 internship sites each term—requiring countless hours coaching students and building relationships with local governments and nonprofit agencies.
Benefitting from Burchard’s effective recruitment efforts of both full-time intern and part-time students, M.P.A. enrollments increased 75% from 2011 to 2017. In addition, Burchard goes above and beyond to consistently recruit full-time students to the M.P.A. by leveraging her personal standing in the local government management profession.
Lisa March, a colleague of Burchard, shares, “Denise is constantly looking for new ways to serve current students, recruit new students, get more alumni involved, find more internship opportunities, raise more money, build more partnerships and learn new skills. She is devoted to continuous improvement and her devotion is infectious.”
Burchard’s work further enhances NIU’s reputation as one of the leading local government management M.P.A. programs in the nation. She serves on committees for the Illinois City/County Management Association (ILCMA) and has initiated and coordinated events which promote the local government profession to undergraduate students in Illinois. She is also an advocate for increasing the number of women and minorities in public service and serves as a board member for the Women’s Legacy Project.
Students and colleagues are quick to point out Burchard’s professional, yet personalized attention. As an alumnus of the M.P.A. program, they say she shares the core values of the public service professionals she works with and she is admired for her commitment to highly ethical, transparent leadership and service.
Burchard was honored with the 2018 Supportive Professional Staff Presidential Award for Excellence. She is the first to say that her successes have not come without the collaboration of the department faculty, staff and fellow M.P.A. alumni, for which she has tremendous respect.