Division of Academic Affairs

Dr. Arnold BurgerDr. Arnold Burger joined the Fisk Family in August 1986 and currently serves as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.  He is also the Samuel P. Massie Chair of Excellence and Professor of Physics. A significant accomplishment of Prof. Arnold Burger’s educational efforts has been the creation and leadership of the nationally recognized Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-PhD Bridge Program  (FVBP) in 2004 and serving as its founding co-director ever since.

FVBP - focuses on increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities earning PhDs in astronomy, biology, chemistry, materials science and physics. After 15 years and 150 students, we have created something truly unique—a family of scholars who are committed to mentor one another and to do world-class research. In the first two years of the program, students work towards the Master’s degree at Fisk University, with access to instructional and research opportunities both at Fisk and Vanderbilt, as well as full funding to cover tuition and fees, a monthly stipend, and medical insurance. We prepare students to apply to and thrive within a PhD program of their choice, and we work to cement valuable research connections in the PhD program to make the transition as seamless as possible. To date, every student who has successfully completed the Bridge program requirements has been offered admission to a PhD program, and several students have chosen PhD programs at other top-flight institutions. Students in the Bridge Family, whether at Vanderbilt or elsewhere, are supported to the PhD and beyond. We provide mentorship, networking opportunities, internships at national labs, assistance with presentations, qualifying exams, thesis and defense preparation, job interview talks, and job placement. The program is funded through the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Health, as well as individual research grants from the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Department of Education, NASA, and Department of Homeland Security.

Burger is a Phi Beta Kappa Honorary Member (elected and inducted in May 2010) and a Fellow of SPIE – the international society for optics and photonics.  He is a four-time co-recipient of the prestigious R&D 100 Award (nicknamed the Oscars of Science) recognizing the most innovative technologies of the year and honoring research and development pioneers for their revolutionary ideas in science and technology. Burger has published more than 400 research papers and has been awarded eleven U.S. patents. Dr. Burger is serving in seven advisory boards and is Senior Editor of the IEEE –Transactions on Nuclear Science, a leading professional journal covering all aspects of the theory and applications of nuclear science and engineering.

In July 2017 Dr. Arnold Burger has received the Recognition for Excellence in Leadership Award from the American Vacuum Society. This award recognizes individuals who not only excel in science and/or engineering, but who also, through mentoring, have enhanced the careers of future generations who might not otherwise have considered or had access to opportunities in science, engineering, and technology.

The Division is comprised of the following offices:

Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditations, Dr. Jason Curry
Assistant Vice Provost for Online Initiatives & Director of Distance Learning, Dr. Shirley Brown
Center for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Princilla Evans Morris, Executive Director
Registrar, Mrs. Tiffany Griffin-Minor

Academic Org Chart


Dr. Arnold Burger
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

Alice Thurmond
Executive Assistant to the Provost


1000 17th Avenue North
Erastus Milo Cravath Hall, Room #110
Nashville, TN 37208
Tel: 615-329-8681
Fax: 615-329-8802