Beyond the lesson plan
"I love that by teaching my students the language of the law, they'll be able to then use that knowledge and vocabulary in their career both to communicate with lawyers and to better navigate the legal situation they are in."
“Business law is a very broad subject, and it’s so important to me that my students not go out into their careers and find themselves in a situation where they look or feel stupid,” said Burdette, an assistant professor in the practice of business law at Goizueta. “It’s that challenge every year — making sure I expose them to as much material as I can fit into the course — that gets me both nervous and excited.”
Nearly two decades worth of students and teaching assistants love her for it.
“Within the first week of each semester, Burdette knows every student by name — all 200 of them,” said Carly Simenauer 15BBA and a former teaching assistant. “Within two weeks, she knows a detail about each of their lives. By the end of the semester, she has developed deep relationships with many of her students. That is why her students work so hard in her class. She cares so much about us and the subjects she’s teaching — how can we not love her for it?”
Of course, Burdette never imagined she would become an award‑winning business law professor or that she would have the unique opportunity to play a part in shaping the future of so many students. She just wanted to do something with her life that would make a difference.
After completing her bachelor’s degree at the University of Tennessee in 1986, Burdette went on to Harvard Law School, graduating in 1989. While preparing at Georgia State to become an educator, some colleagues introduced her to business law — and a life-long passion began.
"She is still the only professor I have had who is loved just as much by students who get a 'C' in her class as by ones who get an 'A.'"
“I went from not knowing business law existed to it becoming my life,” Burdette laughed. “Just about everything — every field — has the law running underneath it. I love that by teaching my students the language of the law, they’ll be able to then use that knowledge and vocabulary in their career both to communicate with lawyers and to better navigate the legal situation they are in.”
“Burdette isn’t just present and dedicated to her students in the classroom,” said former teaching assistant, Annie McNutt 15BBA. “You’ll also see her supporting students at sporting events. She is so incredibly dedicated to her students and TAs because, for her, teaching is not just a job — she’s really equipping us with skills for our lives, and her passion for doing so is unparalleled.”
As long-time friend and colleague, Libby Egnor, assistant dean of the BBA Program at Goizueta, explained, Burdette is not only highly regarded within the program, but former students frequently share stories of how her efforts have impacted their careers — whether they continued in law or climbed the corporate ladder.
“Allison is extraordinary,” Egnor said. “She sees things in her students and in the kids she hires to be TAs that others don’t. In fact, I don’t know any other faculty member who is as good as Allison at diagnosing a student’s situation. They tell me all the time how Allison homed in on exactly what they were doing wrong and told them what they needed to do in order to raise their grade.”
"I want my students to leave the classroom with the confidence that in their future jobs, they know when to seek legal advice when needed."
Burdette has earned many honors, including Poets&Quants, Favorite Professors of the Class of 2017, the BBA Crystal Apple Teaching Award (2015) and the Marc F. Adler Teaching Award (2014).
"She is still the only professor I have had who is loved just as much by students who get a 'C' in her class as by ones who get an 'A,'" Casey Rhode 17BBA told Poets&Quants for Undergrads.
But it’s not about awards or recognition.
“The idea that my words and my actions inside and outside of the classroom can reach out and make a difference in my students’ lives is very powerful,” she said. “I am fortunate to have the opportunity to teach my students the concepts and principles of business law. To do so, I engage them with real-world scenarios that stimulate them to think in new and creative ways. I want my students to leave the classroom with the confidence that in their future jobs, they know when to seek legal advice when needed.
“In that way, I’ve made a difference, a positive impact, and that’s really why I’m so motivated before each new class of students.”