Dr. John Burkoff, executive dean of the Spring 2018 voyage, is no stranger to Semester at Sea. Not only has he been involved as a Semester at Sea parent, but this will be his seventh voyage as a staculty member on the ship. However, he‚Äôs treating this time like his first.
‚Äú25 percent of the faculty are repeaters and I really want to challenge everyone to look at this voyage through new eyes,‚Äù Burkoff said, ‚ÄúEvery voyage is different so it‚Äôs important we don‚Äôt fall back on solving issues like how we used to solve them.‚Äù
Burkoff is sailing as the executive dean, meaning he will oversee all staff members and handle student issues related to safety.
‚ÄúMy number one goal is safety,‚Äù Burkoff said, ‚Äú[The goal] is to bring every person back to port safe and sound.‚Äù
If Burkoff is an expert in anything, it‚Äôs the law. Burkoff is professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh where he has taught since 1976. Burkoff attended Harvard Law School and has published 49 books in the area of criminal law, criminal procedure and legal ethics.
‚ÄúI think people will find I‚Äôm not typically a serious person, but I am really serious about the rules,‚Äù Burkoff said, ‚ÄúI see myself as sort of the stern father of the voyage.‚Äù
While Burkoff has sailed multiple times on Semester at Sea, he is excited to visit a few ports he hasn‚Äôt been to, including Myanmar, South Africa and Ghana.
‚ÄúThere are ports I haven‚Äôt been to in 21 years so I‚Äôm interested to see how different things are,‚Äù said Burkoff, whose first voyage took place in the spring of 1990.
Burkoff wants to spend this voyage helping students and others to understand new cultures. He hopes students develop tolerance and patience as they step outside their comfort zone.
‚ÄúMostly, I am excited for the vicarious pleasure I take from students‚Äô adventures,‚Äù Burkoff said, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs like experiencing it for the first time.‚Äù