Santa Clara University


Dr. Barbara Burns

barbara burns

Professor and Director of Liberal Studies (Pre-Teaching and Child Studies)
Varsi Hall, Room 209
tel 408-554-4477
fax 408-554-1801
Office Hours in Fall 2015: TBA in Varsi Room 209

I am a developmental psychologist who studies self regulation in children. Much of my career has focused on understanding attention and executive function skills across early childhood, and exploring their significance for children's well being and early school success.

At SCU, I am working on a new family intervention, called the Resilient Families Program (RFP). RFP is based on the science of resilience and is designed to strengthen specific self regulation skills through parent education using family games and crafts, as well as discussion and storytelling. Together with some amazing students at SCU, I am collaborating with community partners to implement and evaluate the use of RFP with families. We are also currently exploring ways to scale up RFP so that it can be shared with many more children and their families.

I teach courses in applied developmental psychology and child studies. I hope that learning about the science of child development incites students to action on behalf of children and families, as citizens, professionals and family members.


Ph.D. (1980) Brown University (Experimental Child Psychology)
B.A.(1974) University of Connecticut (Major in Psychology)

National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of California-Berkeley, 1981-1983 

Courses Taught 2015-2016

LBST 190: Relilient Families Program
LBST 191: Applied Child Studies Internship
LBST 195: Senior Seminar in Child Studies
PSYC 185: Developmental Psychology

Recent Publications

  * Indicates student co-author

Burns, B. M. and Maritz, Y. (2015) Mindful parents, resilient children: The significance of compassion for parenting. In Plante, T. G. (Ed.) Maximize Compassion, Minimize Cruelty: Psychological, Spiritual, and Religious Influences. NY: Praeger.

Burns, B. M., Senturias, Y., Davis, L.B.* (2015) Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A pilot study exploring parental experiences and a FASD education program. Fetal Alcohol Forum, National Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, London, England.

Burns, B. M., Haynes, L.B., Bauer*, A., Shetty*, A., Mendoza*, J., Fregoso*, F., Strong*, K., and Arellano*, B. (2013). Strengthening children's resilience through parenting: A pilot study Therapeutic Communities: International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, 34 (4), 121-131.

Curriculum Vitae