Rolanda C. Burney to Join UMass Amherst as Chancellor’s Chief of Staff

Rolanda C. Burney
Rolanda C. Burney

AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst today announced that Rolanda C. Burney has been named chief of staff to Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, effective Oct. 1.

Burney will manage the Chancellor’s Office and coordinate with the senior campus leadership team and a variety of constituents to pursue the university’s strategic goals, tracking and advancing priority projects.

“The depth of Rolanda’s experience in higher education and organizational leadership made her a stand-out candidate for this position,” Subbaswamy said. “Her expertise will provide invaluable support as we continue to build on our unprecedented momentum at the flagship campus.”

Burney has extensive experience in higher education, especially in governance, board leadership, crisis management, strategic planning and implementation, and development of policies, programs and services that support institutional mission. For the past year, she has been working as a consultant for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, leading the Frontier Set Initiative, a partnership of 31 public and private colleges, universities, community colleges and university systems created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help colleges increase the number of graduates among minority, first-generation, low-income and non-traditional students.

Prior to that, Burney served for three years as chief of staff at Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., a private, historically black women’s college, where she worked closely with the president on enacting college-wide strategic and leadership initiatives and also with the college’s board of trustees on its operational and administrative functions.

Burney served as special assistant to the president at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for seven years, where she worked with the president and senior staff to shape and manage the strategic agenda for the president and university. She also worked at Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C., a private, not-for-profit historically black college, as dean and then later as associate vice president of enrollment management and strategic planning; at the University of Virginia as assistant dean of admission and at the University of North Carolina Wilmington as an admission counselor.

Burney earned her Ph.D. in organizational leadership from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; her M.A. in English from the University of North Carolina Wilmington; and her B.A. in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.