Barbara Alane Kerr

School of Education - Psychology & Research in Education
Williamson Family Distinguished Professor of Counseling Psychology
Primary office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
University of Kansas
1122 West Campus Rd
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101


Barbara Kerr, Ph.D. holds an endowed chair as Distinguished Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Kansas and is an American Psychological Association Fellow. Her M.A. from the Ohio State University and her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri are both in counseling psychology. Her research has focused on the development of talent, creativity, and optimal states, while training psychologists and counselors to be talent scouts who provide positive, strengths-based services. She founded the Guidance Laboratory for Gifted and Talented at the University of Nebraska; was Associate Director of the Belin-Blank National Center for Gifted and Talented at the University of Iowa; and co-director of the National Science Foundation projects for talented at risk girls at Arizona State University. She is editor of the recent Encyclopedia of Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development, and author of Smart Girls: A New Psychology of Girls, Women, and Giftedness; A Handbook for Counseling Gifted and Talented; co-author of Smart Boys: Talent, Masculinity, and the Search for Meaning, Counseling Girls and Women and over one hundred articles, chapters, and papers in the area of giftedness, talent, and creativity. She currently directs the Counseling Laboratory for the Exploration of Optimal States (CLEOS) at the University of Kansas, a research through service program that identifies and guides creative adolescents. With Karen Multon, she has co-directed the NSF Project, Milestones and Danger Zones for STEM Women.

Teaching

I teach both undergraduate, masters, and doctoral level courses. At the undergraduate level, I teach Positive Psychology. At the masters level I teach Advanced Counseling Skills and Practicum. At the Ph.D. level, I teach Advanced Counseling Theories and History and Systems of Psychology. In addition, I teach seminars in creativity and optimal development at KU and as a visiting scholar to Monash University in Australia. My teaching is always a combination of lecture and experiential activities that allow students to apply their learning of theory, to engage in original research, and to produce new ideas.

Research

My research concerns the academic and career development of exceptionally creative people. I have a special interest in the intersection of gender, creative talent, and privilege. I study creativity at the individual, group, and organizational level.

Service

I provide leadership at the national and international level to professional organizations related to giftedness and creativity, including service as Editor of Gifted and Talented International. Nationally, I provide both service and consultation to psychology organizations, universities, and schools. I create research through service laboratories to serve bright young people while learning their special needs. Finally, I have co-founded one of the nation's leading "makerspaces," a creative community of 100 members and 1500 online members who engage in invention, design, and art in a collaborative organization.

Selected Publications

Kerr, B. Alane, & Multon, K. D (2015). The Development of Gender Identity, Gender Roles, and Gender Relations in Gifted Students. Journal of Counseling and Development, 93(2), 183-191.

Kerr, B. A (2014). Counseling High Ability Adolescents in School. In . (Ed.), Dixon, F., & Moon, S. (2014). The handbook of secondary gifted education. Sourcebooks, Inc..

Kerr, B. A, & McKay, R. (2014). Smart Girls in the Twenty-First Century.

Kerr, B. A (2013). Career development for creatively gifted students -- What parents, teachers, and counselors need to know. In . (Ed.), In K. H. Kim, J. C. Kaufman, J.Baer, and B. Sriramen .(Eds.) Creatively Gifted Students Are Not Like Other Gifted Students: Research, Theory, and Practice. Rotterdam, Netherlands: SensePublishers, (171-186)..

Kerr, B. A, Vuyk, M. A, & Rea, C. (2012). Gendered practices in the education of gifted girls and boys. Psychology in the Schools, 49(7), 647-655.

Kerr, B. A, Multon, K., Syme, M., Fry, N., Kurpius, S., & Hammond, M. (2012). Development of the Distance From Privilege Measures A Tool for Understanding the Persistence of Talented Women in STEM. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 30(1), 88-102.

Selected Grants

Kerr, Barbara A, (Co-Principal), Ginther, Donna K, (Co-Principal), Friis, Elizabeth, (Co-Principal), From Imagination to Invention: Female Talent Development in Scientific
Innovation, $972,854, Submitted 02/02/2015 (08/15/2015 - 08/14/2018). Federal. Status: In Preparation.

Specializations

Optimal human development and positive psychology, counseling of gifted and creative people, gender issues in counseling, spirituality.

Courses

Dept Number Course Name Syllabus
PRE 580 Positive Psychology Syllabus
PRE 740 Counseling and Interviewing Skills Syllabus
PRE 842 Counseling Practicum Syllabus
PRE 875 Multi-Cultural Counseling Syllabus
PRE 948 Advanced Practicum I Syllabus
PRE 998 Seminar In: _____ Syllabus

 


Education Department Name Change Announcement: Psychology & Research in Education (PRE) will become Educational Psychology (EPSY), effective Summer 2015. More info: http://bit.ly/1JQsUbn Tags: #KUSOE

#KUSOE Department Name Change Announcement... PRE will become EPSY, effective Summer 2015: http://t.co/0jQbB5naaa http://t.co/kiC6l0lQK5
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


The specialist program in school psychology is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists
School of Education is 10th among public universities for its master’s and doctoral programs
—U.S. News & World Report
Doctoral programs in school psychology and counseling psychology are accredited by the American Psychological Association
Involved in $22 million project to create new testing system for special education students
Robert Harrington is creating a certification program in bullying prevention for educators