Pinnacle advisor leaves ACC and students with a lasting impression

Pinnacle advisor leaves ACC and students with a lasting impression

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Geraldine Smith, Arapahoe Pinnacle Editor

Frodo had Gandalf, Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan, Harry Potter had Hermione (maybe assisted by Dumbledore) and the Arapahoe Pinnacle had Bob Burdick.  In each relationship the mentor guided the student through a labyrinth of challenges, finally reaching the critical goal – defeat of the forces of darkness. While not nearly as dramatic as incinerating a Death Star or terminating Voldemort, Burdick’s role in spearheading the creation of the online newspaper, the Arapahoe Pinnacle, at ACC was equally important to the Journalism program and the fledgling publication.

Traditionally, the mentor steps aside to allow the student to assume a leadership role. Thus, it is with the Arapahoe Pinnacle and Bob Burdick.

Burdick will not return to ACC in the Spring and ACC will miss his leadership, his dedication to the students and the vitality he brought to the program. He takes with him the gratitude of his students and peers for the time he generously shared and best wishes for the future.

As Jamey Trotter, the director of the ACC Journalism Program says, “His official title was faculty advisor, but he was much more to the program and the students…he put his heart and soul into the publication.”

It was quite a coup for the program to affiliate Burdick with the newspaper because of his extensive journalism background and reputation. Burdick’s background includes but is not limited to Editor and President, Rocky Mountain News, Assistant Managing Editor, Denver Post, Publisher and President, Colorado Springs Gazette and that is just in Colorado.

Burdick would be the first to describe his contributions in diminutive terms, but this is just one man’s opinion.  Beyond knowledge of the nuts and bolts needed to publish a newspaper, he provided the moral compass for the students stressing integrity which included accurate, open-mined and impartial reporting as the reporter’s first responsibility. Burdick preached accuracy and his mantra was check, check and check the facts and when in doubt, check the facts again.

Online publishing, a new experience for a traditional journalist, did not faze him, and he quickly mastered intricacies of SNO, a WordPress site for creating online school newspapers.

Trotter believes that those who follow will be able to build upon the solid foundation left by Burdick because he gave so generously of his energy, expertise and resources to create a successful newspaper for ACC in one semester.

Prior to his foray in academia, Burdick was happily retired, busy with volunteer work and, at the time, looking forward to being a doting grandfather. The latter a role he now embraces with great enthusiasm and large doses of vitamins.

Despite this full schedule Burdick said, “I wanted to give something back.” And give back he did.

When he learned that ACC was starting a Journalism program, the first at a community college in the state, Burdick found the perfect opportunity to contribute by teaching at ACC. The idea of being a part of launching a new online paper intrigued him.

Besides, he has always had great respect for the community college system believing in the educational opportunities given to students who lack access to an education due exorbitant costs, availability or other challenging restrictions.

His first introduction to the program was as member of the Advisory Board, composed of community leaders and Journalism professionals, at the invitation of Dr. Josie Mills, then director of the Journalism program.  After getting his feet wet as a board member, Burdick taught an independent study course in 2014, followed by two classes in Spring 2015.  By Fall 2015, he was completely immersed in the program, teaching three Journalism classes and taking on the advisory position for the Arapahoe Pinnacle.

In parting Burdick says, “I leave for reasons of my own. Life places different demands on us at different times, and I am off to better handle some of those. I do so with thanks, gratitude and optimism for the future of the journalism program, its students and ACC in general. The place is in good hands.”