Dr. Sarah C. Burns

  • Assistant Professor of Psychology
  • Office location: Harrington-Peachtree building, Room HP-115
  • Office phone: 864-833-8349
  • scburns@presby.edu
  • Research field: Experimental psychology with a concentration in learning and cognition
  • Teaching fields: Introductory Psychology, Experimental Study of Behavior, Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, Tests and Measurements, Principles of Learning and Behavior, and Cognition

I am a graduate of Presbyterian College, class of 2001.   It was on this campus that I discovered my interest in psychology, and in experimental psychology in particular. After my graduation from PC, I completed a Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  In 2011, I joined the faculty here at PC.I am honored to continue the tradition of excellent preparation for careers or graduate work that our department provides.

I am the experimental psychologist in the psychology department, but that is a bit of a misnomer.  I teach the basic experimental courses (statistics and experimental study of behavior), but all of the full-time faculty members are considered experimental psychologists within their fields of expertise.  It is probably best to describe me as an experimental psychologist in the broad sense, because designing and implementing experiments in the field is my strongest interest, regardless of area within the discipline.

My approach to teaching is to explain the topics in a relatable, understandable way and to constantly make ties to what the students are experiencing outside the classroom.  I tie in current events and other fields of study, which is a particularly simple task given the nature of psychological phenomena.  There are examples everywhere!  I like to joke that students love psychology courses so much because it’s a whole subject about who they are and what they are experiencing, and who doesn’t like learning about themselves?

Nothing makes me more excited to come to work than an inspired student with a research idea.  I love to explore research ideas with a student, develop those ideas, and eventually bring the idea to fruition in the department.  The research process shows the students that science doesn’t have to be intimidating or daunting, and also shows them that they have the skill set necessary to thrive in graduate work or in the workplace.

When I am not at PC, I am usually busy with my husband and daughter.  We live in Greenville, just up the road from PC.  I enjoy cooking, hiking, gardening, and raising our small flock of chickens.

If you are interested in psychology, our department, or experimental research, please feel free to contact me via email, phone, or just drop by!