We've launched a new site so please go to People & Research for current information on our faculty and staff.

John F Burness, Visiting Professor of the Practice  

Office Location: 136 Sanford
Office Phone: (919) 613-7369
Duke Box: 90241
Email Address: john.burness@duke.edu

Areas of Expertise

  • Media and Communications
    • Higher Education
    • Public Affairs Journalism

BA Franklin and Marshall College

Prior to coming to Duke in 1991, Burness was the senior public affairs officer of three major research universities---vice president for university relations at Cornell University, associate chancellor for public affairs at the University of Illinois and deputy to the president for university relations at Stony Brook University.

Among his civic duties, Burness has been particularly active in K-12 education. He was the founding chairman of the Board of Directors of the Durham Communities in Schools dropout prevention program and a director of the Durham Public Education network.

He also headed Duke’s nationally recognized Neighborhood Partnership with 12 neighborhoods near Duke’s campus and seven public schools that serve them. When he retired from his administrative post in 2008, Duke University’s Board of Trustees created the John F. Burness Endowment to support the programs of the Neighborhood Partnership.

Burness is a director of MDC, Inc., a member of Durham's Renaissance Group, and a past director of the United Way of Greater Durham, the Museum of Life and Science and Downtown Durham, Inc.

Burness is a Trustee of his alma mater, Franklin & Marshall College, where he was president of the student government and on the Dean’s List. He has done graduate work at Stony Brook and Boston University, and pursued his doctoral study in higher education management at the University of Maryland.

Burness and his wife, Anne D. Williams, have two children, Evan (’05) and Samuel (Law ’10).

Sanford Building
Sanford Building