Van Buren leaving important legacy at UW-Platteville

May 3, 2013
David Van Buren

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. - Dr. David Van Buren has been an instrumental figure in the success of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and many of its programs. He serves as the associate vice chancellor and dean of the School of Graduate Studies. His retirement will be official at the end of the spring semester, concluding a 37-year career.

Van Buren began his career at UW-Platteville in 1976 as an assistant professor of criminal justice. He received his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in English literature and psychology from St. Bonaventure University in New York. Named a graduate research fellow by the U.S. Department of Justice, he went on to the School of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York at Albany where he earned his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in criminal justice. Prior to joining the faculty at UW-Platteville, Van Buren served on the staff of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council in the mayor’s office in New York City and worked as the coordinator of public housing security for the City of Albany, N.Y.

A former chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at UW-Platteville, Van Buren rose through the ranks to become a tenured professor of criminal justice. He has twice been recognized for his outstanding teaching, receiving the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Teaching Excellence Award of the College of Liberal Arts and Education.

During his tenure at UW-Platteville, Van Buren was actively involved in shared governance, serving on the Faculty Senate, the University Undergraduate Curriculum Commission, the Academic Planning Council, and the University International Education Committee. He is a past president of the Wisconsin Criminal Justice Education Association.

Reflecting his research interest in criminal prosecution and the courts, Van Buren was granted two sabbatical leaves. In 1987-88, he served as a member of the Faculty of Law and a visiting scholar at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge in England. In 1997-98, while a visiting scholar at Northern Arizona University, he conducted a research project on the tribal courts of the Navajo Nation with particular emphasis on Navajo peacemaking.

In 2000, Van Buren was appointed the associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and the dean of the School of Graduate Studies. In that capacity, he was deeply involved in developing programs and initiatives with UW-Platteville’s partner university in China. Through this collaboration, UW-Platteville became the first university in Wisconsin to be approved for a Confucius Institute to teach Chinese language and culture, and Van Buren was appointed as its dean.

For seven years, Van Buren also co-directed the Western Field Trip. He provided lectures on Native American cultures during the trips. “Different cultures and different societies have often held a great fascination for me,” he said.

“I came with the idea that I would finish my dissertation, teach for a few years, and then go on to government consultancy or to a research university,” he said. “I fell in love with the students at UW-Platteville, the environment, and the campus, and 37 years later I am still here.”

Contact: Dr. David Van Buren, associate vice chancellor and dean, Graduate Studies, (608) 342-1262,

Formatted by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,


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