Dr. Brian Burke
What do Costa Rica, happiness, and the Fort Lewis College Achievement Award have in common?
In his decade of work, Associate Professor of Psychology Brian Burke has shown deep dedication to the college’s staff, faculty, and students, as well as the Durango community. Per the American Psychological Association’s mantra to “give psychology away,” Dr. Burke has spread his enthusiasm off campus to the new Durango Discovery Museum, an interactive science center, shared his expertise in Durango Herald articles and an NPR short, and trained Axis, San Juan Basin Health, La Plata Youth Services, and Durango School District 9-R staff in Motivational Interviewing, an evidence-based counseling approach.
“The FLC Psychology Department prizes meaningful service. Our faculty played vital roles in building the Linda and Ben Nighthorse Campbell Child & Family Center and the Academic Advising Center at the College and the Durango Public Library in town, plus serving Adaptive Sports and Mercy Hospital, with extensive involvement in campus committees and faculty governance,” Dr. Burke points out. “My service has been collaborative, with great support from my colleagues. As such, I donated my award money to the Durango Discovery Museum for a brick on the plaza that proudly bears my department’s name.”
Dr. Burke believes not just in studying and teaching psychology, but in doing psychology. He recently completed the 2013 Engaged Faculty Institute, a service learning workshop, and his efforts for students extend beyond the classroom. Dr. Burke advises student clubs, presents research with students, and assists the Training Program at FLC’s Student Counseling Center alongside Mr. Colin Smith. Dr. Burke twice brought the Mountain States Teaching Conference to the college, with the help of his department and his wife, Ms. Leslie Goldstein, of the Freshman Math Program.
That explains his other unique feat. In ten years, Dr. Burke has been acknowledged by his peers with a three-peat of excellence awards: New Faculty Teaching Award in 2004, Featured Scholar in 2010, and 2013 FLC Achievement Award, which honors his exemplary service. In pursuit of the secret to happiness, Dr. Burke traveled with seven FLC students to Costa Rica in 2012. “Psychological research and Costa Ricans’ well-being converge on the same finding – that the key to happiness is supportive relationships and giving,” explains Dr. Burke. “In other words, service.”