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People of Project STAR

  • Wyndol Furman, Ph.D. Wyndol Furman, Ph.D.

    John Evans Professor & Director of Clinical Training
    Department of Psychology

    Phone: 303-871-3688
    Fax: 303-871-4747


    Dr. Wyndol Furman did his undergraduate work at Duke University, where he was originally a mathematics major and then a philosophy major. He became interested in clinical psychology after working in the summers in the South Carolina State Psychiatric Hospital. He received a masters degree in clinical child psychology from George Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. As a result of working fulltime in two treatment centers for autistic and severely retarded children, he became convinced of the great need for research on child and adolescent psychopathology and its treatment. He transferred to the University of Minnesota where he got his Ph.D. in clinical child psychology in 1978. For his dissertation, he developed and evaluated a treatment program for socially withdrawn children.

    In the 35+ years he has been at the University of Denver, he has focused on studying social development and problems in social development.  Much of his early work focused on peer relations and friendships.  He developed and evaluated several programs for helping children who are not liked by their peers, including one that was implemented in over 60 elementary school classrooms in the Denver area.  Dr. Furman also conducted a series of studies on sibling relationships and on social networks. 

    About 15 years ago, Dr. Furman became interested in romantic relationships.  Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Adolescent Relationship Project focused on twelfth graders' romantic relationships, and then Project STAR focused on the development of relationships in adolescence and early adulthood.  We began with a sample of 200 tenth graders and their families and friends; over 85% of our wonderful participants are still in the project over a decade later.  Project STAR plans to follow them until they are approximately 30 years old, so we can understand how their experiences in adolescence and the early 20s affect their subsequent relationships and well-being.

    Dr. Furman has edited a book on the topic (The Development of Romantic Relationships in Adolescence) and published over 100 articles in scientific journals and books.  He received a W.T. Grant Faculty Scholar Award and the Distinguished Scholar Award at the University of Denver.  In 2005 Dr. Furman received the John Evans Professorship Award for his outstanding research and other creative, scholarly achievement that has significantly affected his field. He has appeared frequently in national or international media, including MSNBC, BBC, the NY Times, and the Boston Globe.  He has also appeared in local radio and television programs.

    In addition to doing research, Dr. Furman teaches several classes and is the Director of Clinical Training. The loves of his own life are Donna and the doggies.  Taking advantage of the Colorado environment, he has been an avid skier, boarder, mountain biker, climber, backpacker, and artist. 

    Curriculum Vita 

    Recent Awards:

    Dr. Wyndol Furman is the 2012 winner of the Society for Research in Adolescence's John P. Hill Memorial Award, which recognizes an individual whose overall program of work has had a significant impact on our understanding of development and behavior\ during the second decade of the lifespan.

    He is also the winner of the 2012 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Awardfrom the International Society of Behavioral Development (ISSBD). Theaward honors a single individual (every other year) who has made distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to basic research, student training, and other scholarly endeavors in Behavioral Development. Evaluations are based on the scientific merit of the individual's work, and the significance of this work for generating new empirical or theoretical areas in the study of Behavioral Development.