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Spotlight On: Ed Burnley

Ed Burnley Fire Science Program Coordinator
Program: Fire Science
Program Coordinator

Ed Burnley is Lewis and Clark Community College’s newest Fire Science Program Coordinator, but he is no stranger to L&C. Burnley has been an instructor with L&C’s Workforce Education Solutions and Safety Training (WESST) program since 2016 and enjoys spending time with students who have a similar passion.

“Every time I teach a course, I learn something new, either from the material itself or from the students,” Burnley said. “It is this constant development of the firefighting career field that drives me to teach.”

An Air Force veteran, he has worked in fire service since 2001, including time with the Alton Fire Department and, currently, the Edwardsville Fire Department. Since 2008, Burnley has been a member of the Madison County Hazmat team and is also is a Chief Master Sergeant with the 131st Bomb Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard, where he’s served for 19 years.

His education includes an Associate in Applied Science in Fire Science from Community College of the Air Force, Associate in Applied Science in Paramedicine from L&C, a Bachelor of Science in Safety Management with a minor in Fire Science from the University of Central Missouri and a Master of Public Administration and Policy Analysis from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Burnley wants to build the program with an eye to better serving local area firefighters. Part of that includes an effort to provide more opportunities for shift workers who want to obtain a degree without the hardship of taking off work.

“We are introducing several online courses that meet the National Fire Academy’s (NFA) Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) curriculum,” he said. “It enables us to deliver course material by highly trained and educated instructors that are the basis of fire services as an overall enterprise.”

Although the program is being expanded to provide more opportunities for online students, Burnley considers himself a traditional instructor.

“I enjoy getting dirty with hands-on equipment because I feel that is the best way to learn,” he said. “I am the first person to admit that I don’t know it all, so I’m not afraid to say ‘I don’t know, but I will get you an answer.”

Burnley considers being named as L&C’s Fire Science Program Coordinator among his proudest achievements. He takes on the position following the retirement of long-time Fire Science Program Coordinator Bernie Sebold. 

Burnley has high aspirations for the L&C Fire Science program.

“Ultimately, I want the Fire Science program to be a top-notch program known throughout the state,” he said. “We are hiring more instructors with the education, training and experience who bring a wealth of instructional knowledge and will improve our overall program.”

For more information on L&C’s Fire Science program, contact Burnley at (618) 468-4914 or or visit