At A Glance

What can students expect as they transition into the workforce, and how can they stand out to employers? These are the questions Neil Burton and his team seek to answer on a daily basis. As the leader of the country’s premier career center, Burton provides career guidance and resources to Clemson’s 25,000 students, and his team is a big reason why 90 percent of Clemson graduates are employed, continuing or planning to continue their education or are not currently seeking employment within six months of graduation.


By keeping his finger on the pulse of national and global job markets, and most importantly, the professional aspirations of today’s college students, Burton equipped his team to deliver the best career services in the nation through helping Clemson students achieve their goals after graduation.

Under Burton’s leadership, the Center has been ranked No. 1 by The Princeton Review three of the last five years for providing guidance and resources to Clemson’s 25,000 students. Recent data shows 90 percent of Clemson graduates are employed, planning to continue their education or are otherwise not seeking employment within six months of graduation.

Part of this success is due to the development of a platform of nine core competencies that Dr. Burton and his team developed to empower students to achieve their educational and professional goals. It also guides faculty and staff to help students realize their strengths and develop them in order to meet the demands of an evolving world. This work has informed similar efforts at universities all over the country, and the model itself has often been replicated at other schools.

Burton and his team also built Clemson’s on-campus internship program from scratch. The University Professional Internship/Co-op Program (UPIC) annually provides over 900 paid, on-campus internships to undergraduate students. The program gives students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and gain hands-on experience in their fields of study or interest, working alongside Clemson faculty and staff. UPIC has been instrumental in creating a campuswide culture that involves students in meaningful and relevant developmental experiences.

Burton is the recipient of the Fulbright International Education Administrators Award, the Provost’s Award of Excellence for professional accomplishments, and the Talent Development Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. In 2015, he was recognized as Outstanding Professor by Clemson’s undergraduate student government.

Burton started at Clemson in 1992, working in student financial aid until 1998 when he became assistant director of Cooperative Education. He has taught a variety of courses as an adjunct instructor in four of Clemson’s colleges, as well as at Southern Wesleyan University and Webster University.

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I can say I expect over the next couple of months that the job market is going to contract due to COVID-19 — it doesn’t take a genius to see that. But what next? What do we do with that? We’ve already seen job offers for both full time and internships being rescinded. What does that mean for our students? How are we planning to address that?

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    • Experiential learning
    • Professional development
    • Job skills
    • Career searches
    • Career competencies

    Degrees, Institutions

    • Ph.D. education leadership, Clemson University
    • Master's English, Clemson University
    • B.A. journalism and mass communication, University of South Carolina