Dr. Brian Burke

Dr. Brian Burke
Professor of Psychology


  • Scholarship of teaching
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Terror management theory


  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Arizona, 2003
  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, University of Arizona, 1999
  • B.S., Psychology, McGill University, 1997


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About Dr. Brian Burke

Brian Burke joined FLC's faculty in 2003. Dr. Burke is a clinical psychologist whose research interests include motivational interviewing, terror management theory, and college teaching. He has published several meta-analyses of studies evaluating the efficacy of motivational interviewing, an emerging treatment for substance use and other problem behaviors that combines the humanistic elements of client-centered therapy with more active strategies designed to facilitate human change. He has also published several meta-analyses of terror management theory, which states that much of what humans do may be a defense against our inevitable mortality. Dr. Burke has served as assistant training director for the Student Counseling Center at FLC. He has published numerous articles and book chapters, and is the coauthor of Abnormal Psychology, an undergraduate textbook in its third edition. Dr. Burke also presents at professional research conferences around the country and has served as President of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association (RMPA) and Chair of the Mountain States Conference on the Teaching of Psychology. He has taught USAC classes on the psychology of happiness in countries such as Costa Rica, Chile, India, and Brazil and he currently teaches a 5-week Summer Field Course in Clinical Psychology, in which FLC students work at forensic patient-care facilities in the Front Range.

Dr. Burke has received four awards at Fort Lewis College: The New Faculty Teaching Award (2005), Featured Scholar (2011), the Achievement Award (2013), and the Alice Admire Outstanding Teaching Award (2021). He is the Chair of the FLC selection committee for Metamorphosis, the undergraduate research journal of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. Dr. Burke is active in the community and served on the Board of the Powerhouse Science Center. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, and the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, and he is licensed as a psychologist in the state of Colorado.

In the News

Selected Publications and Presentations

“Motivated by Numbers: A Review of Motivational Interviewing in Groups,” PsycCRITIQUES, 2013

“Death Goes to the Polls: A Meta-Analysis of Mortality Salience Effects on Political Attitudes,” Political Psychology, 2013

“Critical Analysis: A Comparison of Critical Thinking Changes in Psychology and Philosophy Classes,” Teaching of Psychology, 2014

Abnormal Psychology, 2nd edition. Solon, OH: Academic Media Solutions, 2016

“Ideas in Practice: Collaborative Problem-based Learning in Intermediate Algebra,” Journal of Developmental Education, 2011

“Training to Use Motivational Interviewing Techniques for Depression: A Cluster Randomized Trial,” Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 2014

“Death and Soccer: How terror management affects player perceptions of aggression,” oral presentation given at Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Convention. Salt Lake City, Utah *

“Memetics, Terror Management Theory, &Female Mate Selection,” poster presentation given at Rocky Mountain Psychological Association Convention. Denver, Colorado, 2010

“Motivational Interviewing for Tobacco Prevention Specialists,” professional training given to staff at the San Juan Basin Health Department’s Lasso Tobacco Coalition. Durango, Colorado, 2014

Why CBT is the Heart of Effective Counseling,” professional training given to staff at the Fort Lewis College Counseling Center & Psychology Department. Durango, Colorado, 2013

“Landing Your First Job: Finding Your Ideal Fit,” in Preparing the new psychology professoriate: Helping graduate students become competent teachers, 2nd edition, Society for the Teaching of Psychology, 2014